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populist rhetoric on the re-distribution of wealth, along with his
backwoods bravado, gave the Share Our Wealth Clubs' membership of over
three million people just what they were looking for: an answer to the
joblessness and poverty brought on by the Depression, and for which the
New Deal had no clear, or at least immediate, answer. Long his
supporters, and his critics knew that only he could take his message
nationwide and attract enough disaffected voters to win the Democratic
nomination for the presidential election in 1936. He molded the Share Our Wealth Clubs into the newly created Share
Our Wealth Society as the
primary political vehicle for this aspirations.
However, on September 8, 1935, Long's political career was ended after being shot once
M.D.1, the son-in-law of Judge Benjamin Pavy, a Long critic, whose
jurisdiction, just moments before the incident, had been gerrymandered by vote of the
Long-controlled Louisiana Legislature into a new, Long-controlled
district. In return, Long's bodyguards, out of rage, shot Weiss over
thirty times. Weiss died instantly, and Long was rushed to the
hospital, where he later died (Burns 1, Brinkley 249-250).
Long said that he gave the people exactly what they voted for, and for better or worse, Long's contributions to Louisiana outweigh the corruption and graft he created and contributed to during his years in public office. Long's sister said that Huey's last words were, "Don't let me die, I've got so much to do" (Burns 1). Indeed, Long had accomplished much during his control of Louisiana politics and his later ascension to Capital Hill, but it was only 1935 when Huey uttered his last words and the economic depression was only getting greater. He knew that only he, the self-made voice of the disaffected, could make his Share Our Wealth message the law of the land. There was indeed much left to do.
1Note on Carl Weiss: The Weiss family has always maintained Carl's innocence in the murder of Huey Long and, further, that Long supporters at all levels of government conveniently mishandled and miscommunicated evidence used to charge Weiss postmortem with the crime. On October 29, 1991, forensics investigator James E. Starrs, with the permission of the Weiss family, exhumed Dr Weiss's body to gather evidence that might help exonerate Weiss, or leave him guilty as charged. He was able to locate Weiss's pistol and other key forensic evidence, and then reassemble what happened that day in 1935. In his 2005 book, A Voice for the Dead: A Forensic Investigator's Pursuit of the Truth in the Grave, Starrs details the forensic evidence and tests used to make his final analysis: Carl Weiss did not shoot Huey Long. Then, who did? Based on the analysis of the forensics evidence by his team,Starrs is sure that Long was shot by one of his own security men, but the questions of which one and whether it was intentional or accidental remain unanswered. (Starrs 57-103)