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Thomas W. Hardwick Letters

Thomas W. Hardwick Letters

Descriptive Summary

Title: Thomas W. Hardwick Letters
Creator: Hardwick, Thomas W. (Thomas William), 1872-1944.
Inclusive Dates: 1922
Language(s): English
Extent: 1 box(es) (.25 linear feet)
Collection Number: RBRL197TWL
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: Thomas W. Hardwick (1872-1944), a lawyer and Democrat from Thomasville, Georgia served in the Georgia House of Representatives (1898-1902), represented the 10th district (which included the counties Columbia, Glascock, Hancock, Jefferson, Lincoln, McDuffie, Richmond, Taliaferro, Warren, Washington, Wilkinson, and Baldwin) in the United State House of Representatives (1903-1914), and was elected to serve in the United State Senate (1914-1919). After an unsuccessful candidacy for renomination, Hardwick later became governor of Georgia from 1921 to 1923. The collection consists of four letters from Hardwick to constituents Dr. T. M. McIntosh and Mr. R. T. Jones and relates to Hardwick's opinions on taxation during his gubernatorial years.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Thomas W. Hardwick was born on 9 December 1872, in Thomas County, Georgia, to Robert W. Hardwick and Zemula Schley Hardwick. He received his A.B. from Mercer University in 1892 and his B.L. from Lumpkin Law School, University of Georgia, in 1893.

First elected to the state legislature as a representative of Washington County in 1898, Hardwick then advanced to the United States House of Representatives from the 10th District from 1903 until 1914. He was then elected to the U.S. Senate to fill the unexpired term of the late Senator Augustus O. Bacon. While in the senate, Hardwick became known for his strong opposition to President Woodrow Wilson's war preparedness legislation. When he was defeated for renomination to that office in the Democratic primary in 1918, he returned to politics two years later as candidate for governor of Georgia. Hardwick was elected and served from June 1921 to June 1923. He failed to win a second term.

As governor, Hardwick issued an executive order and abolished the prevalent practice of flogging convicts. In order to combat the economic stress of the time Hardwick proposed numerous reforms, including the reorganization of the state-supported higher educational institutions into a system controlled by a board of regents, the construction of a system of highways, and the development of a seaport. The General Assembly adopted few of his proposals, but he was successful in establishing a state audit department, introduction of the first tax on gasoline, and the reorganization of the Railroad Commission as the Georgia Utilities Commission. It was also while serving as governor that Hardwick had the courage to denounce the then powerful Ku Klux Klan, branding it a lawless organization for which there could be no excuse in a civilized state. Seeking re-election as governor, he was defeated by Clifford Walker, who had the support of the Klan.

When Senator Thomas E. Watson died on 26 September 1922, Hardwick selected Mrs. Rebecca Latimer Felton, a popular reformer and eighty-seven-year-old widow of Dr. William H. Felton, to fill the late senator's seat. Although Mrs. Felton attended only two sessions, she gained the distinction of being the first woman to ever serve in the United States Senate. Hardwick lost the special election to fill the remainder of Watson's term to Walter George. In 1924 Hardwick attempted to regain the Senate seat but lost to William J. Harris. His last campaign effort came in 1932 when he ran for the Georgia governorship but lost in the Democratic primary. In between his campaigns for office Hardwick maintained his law practice with offices in Atlanta, Sandersville, and Washington, DC.

He married Maude Perkins on 25 April 1894 and they had one daughter, Mary Hardwick Rawlings. Maude died on 12 July 1937 and Hardwick remarried Sallie Warren West in 1938. Hardwick died 31 January 1944, in Sandersville, Georgia.

Scope and Content

The four letters in this collection are from Thomas W. Hardwick to constituents Dr. T. M. McIntosh and Mr. R. T. Jones in 1922, and they relate to Hardwick's opinions on taxation during his gubernatorial years. This includes his stance on an income tax to bolster education and agriculture.

Organization and Arrangement

The letters are arranged alphabetically by last name of recipient.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Thomas W. Hardwick Letters, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.

User Restrictions

Library acts as "fair use" reproduction agent.

Copyright Information

Before material from collections at the Richard B. Russell Library may be quoted in print, or otherwise reproduced, in whole or in part, in any publication, permission must be obtained from (1) the owner of the physical property, and (2) the holder of the copyright. It is the particular responsibility of the researcher to obtain both sets of permissions. Persons wishing to quote from materials in the Russell Library collection should consult the Director. Reproduction of any item must contain a complete citation to the original.

Finding Aid Publication

Finding aid prepared on: 2008.

Related Materials and Subjects

Subject Terms

Georgia -- Politics and government -- 1865-1950.
Governors -- Georgia.
Income tax -- Georgia.
Smith, Hoke, 1855-1931.

Related Collections in this Repository

Lamartine G. Hardman Collection

William J. Harris Papers

Dudley M. Hughes Collection

Richard B. Russell, Sr. Collection

Hoke Smith Collection

Joseph M. Terrell Papers

Thomas W. Hardwick Papers

Richard B. Russell, Jr. Collection

Hugh Peterson, Sr. Papers

Related Collections in Other Repositories

Rebecca Latimer Felton Papers, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

1Four letters from Thomas W. Hardwick to constituents Dr. T. M. McIntosh and Mr. R. T. Jones related to Hardwick's opinions on taxation during his gubernatorial years, 1922