Useful Notes: Huey Long

"They don't know Huey Long. They never saw him and would not know him if he stepped off the train at our station. But they know him in name and you can't make them believe he is not their defender."
—A local south Louisiana politician to New Orleans States reporter on Long's reputation

"Every man a king, but no one wears a crown."
—A slogan often used by Long

Huey Pierce Long Jr. (18931935), known as "The Kingfish", was the 40th governor of Louisiana. He was considered a hero by his supporters, and a power-hungry, autocratic bumpkin by detractors. He created the "Share Our Wealth" movement: a series of reforms that basically heavily taxed the rich and gave monthly allowance to the poor, with other tasks as well. He planned to take the 1936 Democrat ticket from Franklin D. Roosevelt, but Long was assassinated a year before the election. Many of his economic policies and ideas were subsequently implemented into the New Deal, albeit in a very watered-down form.

Long's life has been the subject of two Bio Pics: The Life and Assassination of the Kingfish (1977), starring Edward Asner, and Kingfish (1995), starring John Goodman.

Tropes Present in Long's Life and Legacy:

  • Determinator: No matter the opposition he would keep pushing his agendas through.
    • It didn't work out so well when he got to the U.S. Senate. Number of bills passed with Long's name on them: Zero.
  • Famous Last Words: "Don't let me die, I have got so much to do."
  • Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit: Long wore garish and loud suits (many of them white) and he deliberately played into this stereotype to enhance his political image.
  • Holding the Floor: He would do this many times, at one point going 15 hours and 30 minutes to protest a provision in one of FDR's bills: His 15 and a half hour filibuster was the second longest in Senate history at that time.
  • The Unfettered


Huey Long in Fiction

  • The novel All the King's Men is generally said to be based on his life, although author Robert Penn Warren denied it.
  • The Simpsons episode "The Mansion Family" begins at an awards ceremony where it is revealed that the oldest man in Springfield (not Mr. Burns, though he does claim the award as such due to the minor technicality of the original honoree dying on-stage as he accepts his award) belatedly took a bullet for Long.
  • Appears in Reds as a populist, left-leaning Democratic presidential nominee. He is killed off, together with most of the Louisiana State Government, after protesting MacArthur suspending the Constitution to prevent the communists from taking office
  • Appears in Timeline-191 as a Louisiana politician who is assassinated by Featherston's government for being too much of an independent threat to the Confederates.
  • Long is the subject of two songs on Randy Newman's Good Old Boys album, "Every Man a King" (a Cover Version of a 1935 composition that Long co-wrote) and "Kingfish" .
  • In Sinclair Lewis' 1935 novel It Can't Happen Here, Buzz Windrip, an obvious No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Huey Long becomes President in 1936, and establishes a fascist dictatorship in America. Lewis wrote the novel partially to harm Long's chances at the 1936 elections, but Long was killed before the book was published.