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About Huey P. Long
Huey P. Long was born in Winn Parish, Louisiana in 1893, the eighth of nine
children. His father was a farmer and he attended the local high school. But even
as a youth, he clashed with authorities and left before graduation to sell
vegetable oil door-to-door. Eventually he studied law at Tulane University.
Long began his political career on the Louisiana Public Service Commission and
lost his first bid for Governor in 1924. But when he ran four years later on a
platform of building better roads and free textbooks for children, he was elected.
Calling himself "Kingfishâ after a popular radio personality, Long established a
powerful and ruthless political machine, deriving support from the poverty-stricken
rural population of Louisiana to whom he appealed through his fiery
rhetoric. He talked about taking from the rich and giving to the poor and used the
powers of patronage to maintain a vise-like grip over the electorate.
Long became a United States Senator in 1931, built an architecturally
distinguished State Capitol in Baton Rouge in 1932, and announced plans to run
for the U.S. presidency in August 1935. In September 1935, Long was gunned
down by an acquaintance, Dr. Carl Weiss, as he emerged from an elevator in the
State Capitol Building. He died two days later from his wounds.
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