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Great Depression

Huey P. Long (August 30, 1893 – September 10, 1935) was a politician from Louisiana (Davis, 1935). He was a democrat and was appreciated for his radical populist policies. In the period of his service for the government of Louisiana, he worked as a governor from 1928 to 1932. In addition, to this his success shined in his job as a Senator from 1932 to 1935. Initially Long supported Franklin D. Roosevelt but later due to certain strong reasons Long took away his support and thereby decided to fight presidential elections for his own success.

Long gained a lot of success in the heart of common people by virtue of his Share Our Wealth program (Christman 1985) which was formed in 1934. As per this system there was a manner revealed by virtue of which wealth would be redistributed such that common people gained a good portion of it and thereby it shall help meet the Great Depression. However, Long was shot and he died two days after. His death took place at the age of 42 years and his last words were supposedly, “God, Forrest Davis, Huey Long: A Candid Biography. (New York: Dodge Publishing Co. , 1935); Henry M. Christman, ed.

Kingfish to America, Share Our Wealth: Selected Senatorial Papers of Huey P. Long. (New York: Schocken Books, 1985). don’t let me die. I have so much to do”. Early Life of Huey Pierce Long (Beals 1971) Huey Pierce Long was born on 30th August 1893 in Winnfield, Louisiana. He was the seventh of the nine children. His father was a poor farmer. Long worked as a book peddler, auctioneer and salesman. In 1911, Long benefited his income by a traveling position with a company involved in packing. Long conducted a cake-baking contest. The winner of the contest was Rose McConnell whom he married in 1913.

And later in 1914 he got enrolled in the Tulane University Law School in New Orleans. The genius Long presented the extraordinary ability by completing the three-year course in a period of eight months. He thus held high the credit of completing his studies and becoming a lawyer at the young age of 21 years. Important work done by Huey Pierce Long Long gained rare success in his practice in Winnfield. Later, Long practiced his law in Shreveport, Louisiana. He looked high at his reputation of being a champion of the common people. He said, “My cases in Court were on the side of the small man – the underdog.

I have never taken a suit against a poor man” Carleton Beals, The Story of Huey P. Long. 1935. Reprint. (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1971). The career in politics of Long is an interesting and essential aspect of the study of history. Long benefited his career by his successful election in the Louisiana Railroad commission in 1918 in an anti-Standard Oil Platform. Long held its position in the light of opposing the large oil and utility companies and thus holding a fight which up fronted against the increase in cost. He was also against the pipeline monopolies.

He had a position in the gubernatorial election. In this he held his stand prominently for John M. Parker. However, due to certain reasons he later become the opponent of John M. Parker. Long had a word to call Parker and that word was “chattel”. Long was a chairman of the commission. It was during that time he benefited the success of his career with the winning of a lawsuit against Cumberland Telephone Company. The case was fought against the unethical way of increase in rate. This whole process resulted in a cash refund of $440,000 to 80,000 overcharged people.

The appeal of the case was made in the US Supreme court and the Chief Justice was very much happy with the performance of Long. He described Long as one of the best legal minds that he had ever encountered. Thus, Long gained the essence of popularity and success in his career. In the 1924 election, Long held his position for the fight for being a governor. The opponents of Long in the election platform were both from local and state level. In his campaign Long was one of the first southern politician to make use of radio (Bormann, 1953).

Long was reelected at that time as a Public Service Commission. The second election was faced by Long in the year 1928, in the time span that lasted from 1924 to 1928 Long spent his fruitful energies in gaining a reputation and stand of a political leader. In addition, to this Long supported Catholic candidate so as to build a concrete stand of Catholic south Louisiana. In 1928 that slogan that was used by long for election campaign was “Every man a king, but no one wears a crown (Long 1933)”. Long won this election with the largest margin.

The condition of poorer people in Louisiana was worth political consideration. There was a dominant need to realize the need of the poor people in the form of facilities and also money to accommodate the need to educate the children. His hope giving speeches that triggered new hope in the poor people for a better future was the reason for his victory of being a governor. The victory of Long established a bridge between the Protestant- Catholic divisions. As a governor Long exercised his powers to meet the promises he had claimed at the time of campaign. He successfully pushed a

Ernest Gorden Bormann, “A Rhetorical Analysis of the National Radio Broadcasts of Senator Huey P. Long. ” (Ph. D. diss. , University of Iowa, 1953); Huey Pierce Long, Every Man A King. 1933. Reprint. (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1964). number of bills through the 1928 session of the state legislature. Long succeeded in providing free textbooks to the school children. In the era of his ruling he supported night courses for adults. A reduction in the price of natural gas was also seen in the city of New Orleans. Also, Long established a sound building plan for roads, bridges, educational institutions and hospitals.

By successfully passing bills in the legislature and by working in order to benefit the poor people, Long gathered a prominent image and a hopeful sight for the rural poor people. In 1929, Long called for a special legislature session in order to impose a five percent per barrel occupational license tax on the production of refined oil. This was done with an aim to gather monetary success in order to fund the social programs as described by Long earlier. However, this bill met with a great amount of position and therefore resulted in several verbal abuse words for Long. Long worked hard to cut short the session.

However, due to the usage of the words “Bloody Monday” the legislature was voted to continue the session and proceed with the impeachment. Long took his case to the sight and significance of the common people. He placed his position in front of the people with the following words, He said “Your will is my strength and your need is my justice. They want to ruin me so they can ruin you, and I won’t let them! ”. There were several charges against Long in the House. And before the proceedings were to begin Long presented in front of the House a document named “Round Robin” which was signed by more than one-third of the senators.

It stated in its essential form a vote of not guilty. This gave a stop to the proceedings of Long’s opponent. However, it was noticed that after the impeachment act, Long had become a tough man for his enemies. He also received threats of being murdered because of which he always kept good bodyguard around him. In addition, to this all the newspapers were managed by Long’s opponent and therefore always included words against him and in favor of his enemies. This became the reason for Long to take out his own newspaper named “Louisiana Progress”.

In this newspaper Long appreciated his own steps and also used it as a platform to speak against his enemies. It was in 1930 that Long won the election and became a Senate. To have a full grip of Louisiana he proposed his old friend, Alvin King to act as a governor. In his stand as a Senate he was very much in disfavor of the then President Herbert Hoover and the manner in which the government was holding its stand to defeat the Great Depression. It was in the summer of 1932 that Long took a stand on the Democratic Party. Long supported Hattie Caraway and she therefore won the elections. Long also supported Franklin D.

Roosevelt in his presidential campaign. However, after the victory of Roosevelt Long held a critical eye at the New Deal. In addition, he was also critical of the Emergency Banking Act and the National Recovery Act. Long disliked the ways of Roosevelt, he felt that the ways followed were assuring success to the few in rich stand and was not holding a caring eye for the poor people in the society. In order to distribute wealth to the ones in need, Long established a Share Our Wealth Society. Long told the Senate in February 1934 that “ Unless we provide for redistribution of wealth in this country, the country is doomed”.

Long made the people realize the findings of the research that revealed that only 2% of the people owned 60% of the wealth. Long in this connection said “God called: ‘Come to my feast. ‘ But what had happened? Rockefeller, Morgan, and their crowd stepped up and took enough for 120,000,000 people and left only enough for 5,000,000 for all the other 125,000,000 to eat. And so many millions must go hungry. ” The plan of Long was to tax heavily all income that was more than one million dollar. To collect a large fund of many from these taxes and thereby guarantee subsistence to everyone.

However, the plans of Long faced lot of criticism from the Communist Party and the Socialist Party. There were some economists who held the opinion that implementation of the Share Our Wealth plan would be a great way to deal with the Great Depression since the common people will have money, which they will use in order to buy things. The purchasing power increase in the common people can certainly be the correct answer to the questions as pertinent to the Great Depression. Long made an appointment of Gerald L. K. Smith, a preacher, to traveler in south and thereby recruit members.

These members worked for the Share our Wealth Clubs. The interesting thing about this campaign was that it came out to be a great success. There then came out stories which stated that Long was alcoholic and now he has given up drinking and also going to nightclubs. There were also threat to the life of Long and there was every possibility of him being murdered by the rich companies. However, there were groups of people who appreciated the ideas of Long and this included Bronson Cutting, Burton K. Wheeler, George Norris, Gerald Nye, Henrik Shipstead, Lynn Frazier, Robert LaFollette Jr., John Elmer Thomas, and William Borah.

The autobiography of Long was published in October 1933. In addition, Long started publishing “American Progress”. In 1934, Long convened a special session of the legislature in the region of Louisiana and there through he forwarded bills that held the position of placing the electoral machinery in the hands of the governor. In addition, the right to form his own secret police. In his last months of life, Long wrote a book My First Days in White House (Long, 1996). The book talked about the plans of Long after he won the

Huey Pierce Long, My First Days in the White House. 1935. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1996); Harvey G. Fields, A True History of the Life, Works, Assassination, and Death of Huey Pierce Long. (Farmerville, LA: Fields Publishing Agency, 1945). presidency elections. However, Long died before this book was published. Long was shot by Dr. Carl Austin Weiss on September 8, 1935 (Fields 1945). The bodyguards of Long then in turn killed Weiss. Long because of the wound had internal bleeding because of which he died two days after being shot.

Conclusion The life of Long has several teachings that project themselves in his selfless and bold service for the people in poor condition. Though the opponents succeeded to kill Long, the work and service of Long for the mankind shall always be in existence in the memory of common people.


Beals, Carleton. The Story of Huey P. Long. 1935. Reprint. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1971. Bormann, Ernest Gorden. “A Rhetorical Analysis of the National Radio Broadcasts of Senator Huey P. Long. ” Ph. D. diss. , University of Iowa, 1953.

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