Huey P. Long: Southern Demagogue or American Democrat?

Huey P. Long: Southern Demagogue or American Democrat?

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Southern Demagogue or American Democrat?

edited with an Introduction by Henry C. Dethloff

Long, perhaps the most famous and flamboyant personality in Louisiana's colorful history, changed forever the course of the state's political development. 

Born in 1893 on a pine-hill farm near Winnfield, Louisiana, Huey's abilities matched his lofty political aspirations. After briefly attending Tulane Law School shortly before World War I, Long entered the legal profession first at Winnfield and later at Shreveport. He became a member of the Louisiana Railroad Commission in 1918 and used his influence in that position to extend utility services, to lower telephone rates, and to mount a personal crusade against Standard Oil Company, which he accused of monopolizing the state's oil pipe lines. Long used his position on the Railroad Commission as a stepping-stone to more important offices. In 1924, he ran unsuccessfully for governor, but, four years later, Long mounted a successful gubernatorial campaign. 

As governor, Long, popularly known as the "Kingfish," tended to emphasize concrete reforms and to ignore ideology. He sought more and better schools, better roads, expanded utilities and public services. To achieve these goals, the man from Winnfield employed patronage, coercion, money, threats, legal loopholes, and a continuous popular mandate. 

This popularity projected Huey Long into the United States Senate in 1930. As Senator, Long attained national notoriety for his radical Share-Our-Wealth program and for his continuing, almost dictatorial domination of Louisiana's state politics. His continuing interference with state politics proved his undoing, leading directly to his assassination in September 1935. 

This work, an anthology of writings by and about Huey P. Long, affords the general reader perhaps the best introduction to the Kingfish's life, influence, and ideas.

Softcover, 128 pages, ©1976