George Fort Milton : the fight for TVA and the loss of the Chattanooga News.

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Miller, George
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Middle Tennessee State University
It is the purpose of this dissertation to portray the role of George Fort Milton, a newspaper editor, in Chattanooga's adoption of Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) power and to discover the effects of his campaign, if any on his loss of the Chattanooga News. Milton was also a well-known Southern liberal and biographer, and this study provides substantial biographical detail. Milton was a prolific writer. He published four major works on American history and one in political science.
Milton's ancestors had been successful in business and professional enterprises. His father's interest in the Tennessee River, state tax problems, and Chattanooga annexation led the younger Milton to support the Tennessee River Improvement Association and work with the Chamber of Commerce in its annexation effort. The father also left his son a successful newspaper business, the News.
Throughout the late 1920s and the early 1930s George Fort Milton was concerned with such issues as the low wages of workers, prohibition, and lynching; but the greatest campaign of his career was that in support of the TVA. In the mid-1920s Milton seemed to favor private development of the Muscle Shoals project; but as the chemical, fertilizer, and private power interests squabbled, fought, and seemed to stall any resolution of the Shoals controversy, he changed his mind and began to support the George Norris public power plan.
By 1932 Milton was supporting the Franklin D. Roosevelt presidential campaign through the editorial pages of the News. With a combination of the Roosevelt ideas and the Norris ideas, Milton believed the Tennessee Valley would finally see its proper development. From time to time, Milton was appointed to various positions in the Roosevelt administration. This led to neglect of his newspaper business in Chattanooga. By 1936, the Free Press in Chattanooga was eroding his subscription roster and putting down substantial business roots. Old family animosities combined with Milton's national preoccupations and Chattanooga newspaper competition undermined Milton's control of the News, and in December 1939 the paper was sold by the majority bondholders to Roy McDonald, owner of the Free Press.