Messiah of the Masses
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Messiah of the Masses: Huey P. Long and the Great Depression is a book written by Glen Jeansonne. The book describes and outlines the life of Huey P. Long. The major character of the book is Huey P. Long. Huey Long was a powerful Louisiana governor and U.S. senator. A successful lawyer, he rose through the ranks of the Louisiana government to take over the state’s top post in 1928. Huey P. Long accomplishments were self-inflated, yet he generates a revolution in expectations with the promise that every man could become king. The book starts with the birth of Huey Long and continues to revolve around his life story. In chapter one, the author talks about Huey P. Long’s childhood days. Long was born on August 30, 1893 in Winnfield, Louisiana. Winnfield was a part of Winn Parish in the northeastern section on Louisiana. His parents’ names are Hugh and Caledonia Long. He has ten siblings. Huey was a man who had no feeling for his family. Huey resisted authority and could not tolerate anyone who told him what to do. His brother Julius said Huey, “as a child he was always disagreeable among his sisters and brothers.” At 13 he learned to set type and thereafter worked for two local newspapers, for which he also wrote stories. He became adept at those that required speaking skills and all the professions he considered were those in which communication was paramount: the ministry, journalism, sales, law, and politics. He decided to become a politician relatively early because it would enable him to utilize his skills and gratify his need for attention. Louisiana and particularly Long’s part of the state, was influenced by Populism. Long never mentioned Populism in his speeches, nor did any Long ever vote for a Populist; there are some similarities between the Populist platform and Huey Long’s own program. Long appealed too much the same constituency that the Populists represented and Longism and Populism were both rural and antimodern. Populism and Longism evinced reactionary characteristics their critique of society was not irrelevant. Both groups viewed the world from a perspective that was antimodern. Differences in language, temperament, recreational inclinations, and work ethics slowed the development of a modern industrial economy in Louisiana. Populism and Longism appealed to provincial people. Long’s neo-Populism fed upon isolation and alienation from mainstream culture. His program, oratory, and mannerisms were rural. Long intuitively distrusted modernization and the consolidation of business and capital. His tenacity and drive were fueled by his own alienation. By defeating the “better” element he also gratified his constituents. Long became governor shortly before the Great Depression, but Louisiana was already in a depression, a field awaiting tilling by an economic messiah. The Depression not only accentuated Long’s appeal in Louisiana, it inspired a national following. There was a little in Longism that was revolutionary. He was never close to his father, whom he considered weak, an idle talker who wasted his life, and resented the need to support his father in old age. As a fledgling capitalist Long had no sympathy for socialism nor much knowledge of it. Long made his debut as a political candidate in 1918. In 1915 he had confided to Harley Bozeman that he planned to against Julius for district attorney in 1916. I think Huey P. Long remains a controversial figure in Louisiana history. Huey Long made his debut as a political candidate in 1918. In 1915 he had confided to Harley Bozeman that he planned to run against Julius for district attorney in 1916. Harley Bozeman realized that Huey’s candidacy would hurt both brothers so he suggested that Huey wait and run for a higher office, on the Louisiana Railroad Commission. Elected in 1912, he expected little difficulty in being reelected, failed to recognize that his job was in jeopardy, and conducted a quiet, personal campaign. A few newspaper advertisements emphasized his experience and described him as a “high class, gentleman, moral and courageous.” Long was the last candidate to announce formally, but he waged the most active campaign. Huey knew he would win north Louisiana and lose urban Louisiana. Long appealed chiefly to the poor, identifying himself as the voice of the common man. Long excelled at publicizing himself. He reprinted thousands of copies of his Cumberland refund order and wrote circulars extolling his highway program and his promise to provide free textbooks to children. During his campaign he distributed more than one million simply written and provocative handbills. Huey coined catchy slogans, and used radio and sound trucks. At 34, he was more vigorous and imaginative then Wilson, 59, and Simpson, 57. All three candidates promised school

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Huey P. Long And Life Of Huey P. Long. (June 24, 2021). Retrieved from