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  FATHER COUGHLIN, HUEY LONG, & UPTON SINCLAIR; VOICES FOR THE DISAFFECTED IN 1930s AMERICA

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HUEY LONG

While Senator, he tried to bring his brand of backroom, machine-style politics and bullying bravado to Capitol Hill. Long was truly the bull in the China shop, and the tactics that worked in Louisiana were seen in Congress as less backroom and more backwoods. He criticized both Democrats and Republicans alike. Truly, there was only one party to Huey Long, and that was Huey Long.


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Long's relationship with FDR, if one can call it that, cut both ways. Long remained offended that FDR didn't offer him a political position upon winning the 1932 presidential election, and while FDR saw Long as a tamable sort, he also noted privately that he was one of two most dangerous men in the country (Senate 1).

Senator LongSome historians and social critics have argued that Long became a senator with the chief goal of getting closer to FDR, and while there's some truth there, Long was more concerned with FDR believing in his populist message. That said, Long remained hopeful that FDR would recognize the importance of his message of and for the people of America, and in 1933, he wrote what would become the basis of his Share Our Wealth program in 1934:

All the people in America cannot eat up the food that is produced in America; all the people in America cannot wear out the clothes that can be made in America; nor can all of the people in America occupy the houses that stand in this country, if all are allowed to share in homes afforded by the nation. But when one man must have more houses to live in than ninety-nine other people; when one man decides he must own more foodstuff than any other ninety-nine people own; when one man decides he must have more goods to wear for himself and family than any other ninety-nine people, then the condition results that instead of one hundred people sharing the things that are on earth for one hundred people, that one man, through his gluttonous greed, takes over ninety-nine parts for himself and leaves one part for the ninety-nine.

Now what can this one man do with what is intended for ninety-nine? He cannot eat the food that is intended for ninety-nine people; he cannot wear the clothes that are intended for ninety-nine people; he cannot live in ninety-nine houses at the same time; but like the dog in the manger, he can put himself on the load of hay and he can say:

'This food and these clothes and these houses are mine, and while I cannot use them, my greed can only be satisfied by keeping anybody else from having them.'

Wherefore and whence developed the strife in the land of too much, beginning in the year 1929.

(Long 291-192)

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