Huey Long – 1893-1935
Long rose from backwoods Louisiana poverty to become governor of the state and a U.S. senator. He was a charismatic demagogue, not above shameful displays of emotion and even buffoonery, which earned him the sobriquet “Kingfish.” Campaigning on the slogan “every man a king,” he developed a Share-the- Wealth program in which increased inheritance and income taxes, plus a severance tax on oil, were intended to redistribute wealth to the poor. He was also, however, a corrupt political boss, whose tenure in office amounted to a dictatorship. He paid a dictator’s price on September 10, 1935, when Carl Austin Weiss—whose father Long had publicly vilified—shot him down in the Louisiana state house.