The Later New Deal
n commenting on the significance of the 1936 senatorial election in Georgia, the New York Times editorialized that Talmadge's defeat "is a sign that a too-familiar type of the Southern Demagogue is on its way to extinction." U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace declared that the Georgia contest was a political event in which a state election had national significance. It seemed clear that the people of Georgia wanted to send a senator back to Washington who would continue to support the president and the New Deal. Russell himself wrote shortly after the election, "I am confident . . . that under the President's matchless leadership we will be able to make great progress in the next four years, so that every right and interest of every class of our citizens will be protected and promoted."1
On specific measures of the New Deal, Roosevelt could usually count on Richard B. Russell, Jr. It was another matter, however, when the overall effect of the New Deal began to impose fundamental social, economic, and political change on southern society. Russell was no more prepared than Talmadge for federal action that might produce structural economic and political change in the South. Surely Russell was as sensitive as most white southerners at the time to modifications in race relations. He would soon be criticizing the New Deal administration for violating states' rights on racial matters. He used legal arguments in contrast to Talmadge's bombastic accusations of dictatorship, but the difference between the Talmadges and the Russells in the South was mainly one of degree rather than of substance.
Just how the New Deal and the administration of its programs would eventually affect the South was not clear in 1936. There were faint signs on the horizon, however, that disturbed Russell, especially in the area of race relations. But other than that, he continued to advocate and support programs that required expanded federal powers. His main