The Assasination of Huey Long

Topics: Huey Long, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Louisiana State University Pages: 5 (2051 words) Published: April 30, 2008
Huey Long, nicknamed the “Kingfish”, was a politician from Louisiana who had an interesting and tumultuous political career that culminated in his assassination attempt on September 8, 1935 and subsequent death two days later on September 10th. The book The Huey Long Murder Case by Hermann Deutsch provides a good description of the events surrounding his assassination before, during, and after. Deutsch explains Long's political career, his views, and his popularity with the people of Louisiana and the media. He also examines the assassination, the subsequent surgery, the aftermath, and the motive of the killer. His analysis makes this assassination and the events surrounding it very clear. Huey Long's political career was something of great interest to many people in the United States. He began his political career as a member of the railroad commission and was eventually elected as governor of Louisiana in 1928. As governor he attacked the Standard Oil Company and was a huge proponent of taxation for big business. He proposed free books for all school children in both public schools and even catholic parochial schools. His wealth sharing mentality however was not always viewed very favorably by other politicians. The House of Representatives attempted to impeach Long on nine counts but the charges were dropped after the Senate did not receive the two-thirds majority that it needed to remove Long from office. His work as a “man of the people” garnered a lot of popular support for him and his philosophies that would benefit his career in the future. In 1932 Huey Long ran for a Senate seat in Louisiana. Once elected to the Senate he developed a plan for the economic status of the country after the Great Depression which was called “Share Our Wealth”. The “Share Our Wealth” plan calls for a redistribution of the wealth in the country evenly to everyone and calls for taxation of big business. This plan strictly opposed Franklin Delano Roosevelt's “New Deal” and would serve as a debating point for a questionable conspiracy theory having to do with Long's assassination. Deutsch quotes him as saying: “‘In this country’ he proclaimed, ‘We raise so much food there’d be plenty for all if we never slaughter another hog or harvested another bushel of grain for the next two years, and yet people are still going hungry. We’ve got enough material for clothes if in the next two years we never tanned another hide or raised another lock of cotton, and yet people are still going barefoot and naked. Enough houses in this land are standing empty to put a roof over every head at night, and yet people are wandering the highways for lack of shelter.’ The remedy he proposed was simple: share our wealth instead of leaving almost all of it in the hands of a greedy few” (Deutsch 23). Long took complete political control of Louisiana politics in the years he was governor and senator. Long championed education in his system and provided free schoolbooks to all students in Louisiana’s schools including Louisiana State University. He however was know for gerrymandering political lines, implementing his allies into the political system when he was governor and pressing his bills through the Louisiana State Legislature when he was a senator. He often did not have constitutional rights to the power he wielded which made him plenty enemies in Louisiana. By the time Long had been elected to the senate his power over the state of Louisiana was unsettling and even upsetting some people. The statistics for Pro-Long and Anti-Long factions in Louisiana at the time were split to about fifty-fifty. Many Long supporters pointed out his “Share Our Wealth” and “Every Man a King” economic agendas while his enemies countered by emphasizing his dictatorial rule of Louisiana. One of the people who disagreed with Long was the newly elected President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Long’s proposed taxation of big business and his avid criticism of Roosevelt’s “New Deal” and his...
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