Huey Long

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Huey Long

Huey Pierce Long, Jr. (August 30, 1893September 10, 1935), known as "The Kingfish," was an American politician who served as the 40th governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932 and as a United States Senator from 1932 until his assassination in 1935. He was a populist member of the Democratic Party and rose to national prominence during the Great Depression for his vocal criticism of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal, which Long deemed insufficiently radical. As the political leader of Louisiana, he commanded wide networks of supporters and often took forceful action. A controversial figure, Long is celebrated as a populist champion of the poor or, conversely, denounced as a fascistic demagogue.


  • Every man a king, but no one wears a crown.
  • Don't liken me to that [SOB]. Anybody that lets his public policies be mixed up with religious prejudice is a plain [GD] fool.
  • Whenever this administration has gone to the left I have voted for it, and whenever it has gone to the right I have voted against it.
    • Huey Long on the new deal. (Williams p. 708)
  • The trouble is, Roosevelt hasn't taken all of my ideas; just part of them. I'm about one hundred yards ahead of him. We're on the same road, but I'm here and he's there.
    • Huey Long (Williams p. 637)
  • Mr. President, I am not undertaking to answer the charge that I am ignorant. It is true. I am an ignorant man. I have had no college education. I have not even had a high school education. But the things that takes me far in politics is that I do not have to color what comes into my mind and into my heart. I say it unvarnished. I say it without veneer. I have not the learning to do otherwise, and therefore my ignorance is often not detected.
    I know the hearts of the People because I have not colored my own. I know when I am right in my own conscience. I do not talk one way in the cloakroom and another way out here. I do not talk one way back there in the hills of Louisiana and another way here in the Senate.
    I have one language. Ignorant as it is, it is the universal language within the sphere in which I operate. Its simplicity gains pardon for my lack of letters and education.
    Nonetheless my voice will be the same as it has been. Patronage will not change it. Fear will not change it. Persecution will not change it. It cannot be changed while people suffer. The only way it can be changed is to make the lives of these people decent and respectable. No one will ever hear political opposition out of me when that is done.
    • Huey Long, U.S. Senate floor speech, March 5, 1935
  • I'm for the poor man — all poor men, black and white, they all gotta have a chance. They gotta have a home, a job, and a decent education for their children. 'Every man a king' — that's my slogan.
    • Huey Long (T. Harry Williams, Huey Long, p. 706)
  • I don't know much about Hitler. Except that last thing, about the Jews. There has never been a country that put its heel down on the Jews that ever lived afterwards.
    • Huey Long (Williams p. 761)
  • Treat them just the same as anybody else, give them an opportunity to make a living, and to get an education.
    • Huey Long on his Negro policy as President (Williams p. 704)
  • Now, just a word about the poor Negroes … They're here. They've got to be cared for … The poor Negroes have got to live, too.
    • Huey Long as Governor (Williams p. 704)
  • They kept on hollering, and I simply had to put my foot down. I said, 'I'm the governor and I say the ignorant in this state have to learn, blacks as well as whites.' And they learned.
    • Huey Long on conservative resistance to illiteracy programs for Negroes (Williams p. 706)
  • We started them to school. They learned to read. They learned to work simple arithmetic problems. Now some of our plantation owners can't figure the poor devils out of everything at the close of each year.
    • Huey Long on Negro education (Williams p. 524)
  • And it is here under this oak where Evangeline waited for her lover, Gabriel, who never came. This oak is an immortal spot, made so by Longfellow's poem, but Evangeline is not the only one who has waited here in disappointment.
    Where are the schools that you have waited for your children to have, that have never come? Where are the roads and the highways that you send your money to build, that are no nearer now than ever before? Where are the institutions to care for the sick and disabled? Evangeline wept bitter tears in her disappointment, but it lasted through only one lifetime. Your tears in this country, around this oak, have lasted for generations. Give me the chance to dry the eyes of those who still weep here!
  • For the present you can just call me the Kingfish.
    • Every Man a King (1933), p. 277.
  • We swapped the tyrant 3,000 miles away for a handful of financial slaveowning overlords who make the tyrant of Great Britain seem mild.
    • 1933 Congressional Record, 72d Cong, 2d sess., Vol. 76; quoted in Hugh Davis Graham, Huey Long (1970), p. 55.
  • Education and training for all children to be equal in opportunity in all schools, colleges, universities, and other institutions of training in the professions and vocations in life; to be regulated on the capacity of children to learn, and not on the ability of parents to pay the costs. Training for life's work to be as much universal and thorough for all walks of life as has been the training in the arts of killing.
    • Number 7 in the sum and substance of the Share our Wealth program (1935); quoted in Hugh Davis Graham, Huey Long (1970), p. 74.
  • No man has ever been President of the United States more than two terms. You know that; everyone knows that. But when I get in, I'm going to abolish the Electoral College, have universal suffrage, and I defy any sonofabitch to get me out under four terms.
    • Response by Long during an interview with the journalist Forrest Davis (1933); quoted in Hugh Davis Graham, Huey Long (1970).
  • Quote me as saying that that Imperial bastard will never set foot in Louisiana, and that when I call him a sonofabitch I am not using profanity, but am referring to the circumstances of his birth.
    • When the head of the Ku Klux Klan, Hiram W Evans, threatened to campaign against Long in Louisiana; quoted in "Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin, & the Great Depression," Alan Brinkley. Random House Digital: 2011.
  • I wonder why he shot me.
    • Said on September 8, 1935 on his way to the hospital following being shot outside the State Capitol; quoted in Harry T. Williams, Huey Long (Vingtage Books/Random House, 1969), p. 866.


  • When the United States gets fascism, it will call it anti-fascism.
    • Variant: When the United States gets fascism, it will call it 100 percent Americanism.
    • Originally reported by Robert Cantrell. However, years later Cantrell told Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. that it was his own summary of his conversation with Long, not Long's exact words. See They Never Said It by Paul F. Boller and John H. George (1990).

About Huey Long

In alphabetical order by author or source.
  • Strictures, reproaches, and intemperate speeches from the Senator of Louisiana are really the wailings of an apostle of despair; he has lost control of himself, he is trying to play billiards with elliptical billiard balls and a spiral cue.
  • With Huey Long's death I lost most of my interest in the present political picture.
    • Smedley Butler, American Renegade: The Life and Times of Smedley Butler, USMC, Braden, p. 212
  • But the American leader most often accused of fascist tendencies was Huey Long. As Louisiana governor (and senator), Long imposed local martial law, censored the newspapers, forbade public assemblies, packed the courts and legislatures with his cronies, and installed his twenty-four-year-old lover as secretary of state. Long was a racketeer, but his "Share Our Wealth" program did improve local conditions, building roads and bridges, investing in hospitals and schools, and abolishing the poll tax. His economic populism was also not predicated on furthering racial, ethnic, or religious divisions; he subordinated his white supremacism to his redistributionist political message. "We just lynch an occasional nigger," he breezily declared when dismissing anti-lynching laws, though he also recognized "you can’t help poor white people without helping Negroes," and so was prepared for his rising tide to lift all boats. When Long set his sights on the 1936 presidential election, Franklin D. Roosevelt was sufficiently alarmed to inform his ambassador to Germany: "Long plans to be a candidate of the Hitler type for the presidency," predicting that by 1940 Long would try to install himself as a dictator.
  • Huey Long: Every Man a King. Make the Standard Oil pay — which is what he did in Louisiana. Built Tulane, built hospitals, siphoned all that money right into the state so everyone could benefit. Roosevelt was scared to death of him in 1936, because Huey was going to run on a third ticket. And he could have denied Roosevelt a second term, and Huey’s plan was that he himself would be — in 1940 — he would be the Democratic nominee and Roosevelt would be finished. And then we would get Huey Longism, which was true populism. The money was going to go to the people for the things that would make the people’s lives better.
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