Huey Pierce Long Jr. (1893-1935) was an influential 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 charismatic and controversial figure, known for his populist policies and fervent advocacy for the poor and working class. Often referred to as "The Kingfish," Long's political career was marked by his unorthodox methods and his relentless fight against political and economic inequality.
## Early life
Born on August 30, 1893, in Winnfield, Louisiana, Huey Long was one of nine children in a middle-class family. He was an intelligent and ambitious child, and he managed to secure a scholarship to study at Louisiana State University (LSU). However, he left LSU without completing his degree, later attending and graduating from Tulane University Law School in 1914.
## Huey Long's political career
Long's political career began when he was elected to the Louisiana Railroad Commission (later the Public Service Commission) in 1918. He used this position to advocate for lower utility rates and fairer railroad practices, which earned him a reputation as a champion of the common people.
In 1928, Long ran for and won the governorship of Louisiana. As governor, he implemented a range of progressive policies, such as free textbooks for school children, building new schools, hospitals, and roads, and increasing taxes on big businesses and the wealthy. He also centralized power in the state government and was known for his [autocratic style of leadership](https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/authoritarianism/).
Long's political ambitions extended beyond Louisiana, and in 1932, he was elected to the U.S. [[Senate]]. He continued to push for wealth redistribution and social programs aimed at alleviating poverty. In 1934, he proposed the "Share Our Wealth" program, which aimed to cap personal fortunes, provide a guaranteed income for families, and ensure access to education, healthcare, and housing. Although this proposal never became law, it gained significant popularity and contributed to the national conversation about wealth inequality during the Great Depression.
## Assassination and legacy
On September 8, 1935, Huey Long was shot in the Louisiana State Capitol by Dr. Carl Weiss, the son-in-law of a political opponent. Long succumbed to his injuries two days later, on September 10. The exact motive behind the assassination remains a subject of debate, but it is generally believed to have been politically motivated.
Huey Long's legacy is a complex one. While he is remembered as a champion of the poor and a forceful advocate for economic and [[social justice]], he is also criticized for his autocratic methods, [corruption](https://doctorparadox.net/category/politics/corruption/), and consolidation of power. His influence on Louisiana politics was profound and long-lasting, and his ideas continue to resonate in discussions about wealth inequality and the role of government in addressing social issues.