In 1893, on this day thirteenth Confederate President Huey Pierce Long Jr.was born in Winnfield, Louisiana.
Huey P. Long
13th Confederate President
March 4, 1933 - September 9, 1935Huey Pierce Long Jr. (actor pictured in the movie "Kingsmen") was a the thirteenth president of the Confederate States of America. From one of the largest political families to ever be seen in either of the Americas, he rose to prominence as a lawyer defending the "little man" from the abuses of corporate monopolies in Texas and Louisiana, the chief of which was Standard Oil Company.
A new article from the "Two Americas" thread on Althistory WikiaA Democrat, he was noted for his radical populist policies. As president Long created the Share Our Wealth program in 1932, with the motto "Every Man a King," proposing new wealth redistribution measures in the form of a net asset tax on corporations and individuals to curb the poverty and crime resulting from the Great Depression. To stimulate the economy, Long advocated federal spending on public works, public education, old age pensions and other social programs. He was an ardent critic of the Federal Reserve System's policies to reduce lending. Charismatic and immensely popular for his social reform programs and willingness to take forceful action, Long was accused by his opponents of dictatorial tendencies in his hands-on control of the federal government.
At the height of his popularity, Long was shot on September 8, 1935, at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge. He died two days later at the age of 42. It is unclear whether he was assassinated, or accidentally killed by bodyguards who believed an assassination attempt was in progress. His last words were reportedly, "God, don't let me die, I have so much left to do".
Presidency - 1933 to 1935
In 1932, Long parlayed his popularity in Louisiana into a national campaign for president of the CS. The 1929 crash of the New York Stock Market had caused the US to go into a deep recession, and the economies of Canada and the Confederacy followed suit. Long had begun pushing for policy of radical redistribution of the wealth of millionaires that made any income over a million dollars a year the property of the government. Since there were not many millionaires, and hardly anyone who had a personal income anywhere near that, his "Share the Wealth" campaign made him incredibly popular.
It was no surprise to the citizens of Louisiana when Long announced his candidacy for the presidency of the Confederacy. It was not to be easy, however, because the opponent in the Democratic primaries was John N. Garner, speaker of the House and thirty-year veteran politician. But using the national media proved as easy as using Louisiana media, and the Long political machine had its fingers in every level of state and federal government. In the end, Garner chose to accept the Vice Presidential nomination. Both men agreed that the economic policies of President Hugo Black were not getting the nation out of the deepening recession. As usual, a win in the primaries was as good as a win in November and the Long-Garner ticket won handily. On taking office, Long was only 39 years old. Garner, on the other hand, turned 66 two weeks after the election.
When he took office in 1933, though, Long found Congress to be resistant to his grand economic plan. Most who had been there for any time knew that the wealth of the richest ten percent of the country is what kept them in office. Economists argued that the wealthy were the ones who actually hired people, providing a built in "share the wealth" program. But he continued to push these policies, vetoing every bill that came to his desk that he felt was "friendly" to the wealthy. As a result, the recession in the Confederacy slipped into a depression.
In November of 1933, Long and some of his cabinet met for a retreat and conference on Jekyll Island, Georgia. A young German immigrant had won an audience with them with word as to the conditions in his homeland. That man was a physicist by the name of Albert Einstein, who had become famous with his theories on the nature of gravity and its relationship with light. Long went back to Richmond profoundly affected by the developing situation in Europe. Einstein sought the relative obscurity as a professor at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. The war would have to wait, but Long began an active campaign to build the standing army, and to an extent the navy, forseeing the rise of hostilities.
While in Richmond, Long pushed federal controls on Standard Oil and other monopolies he had fought as a lawyer and a politician for over a decade. Such controls, though, cost jobs in not only the oil industry but also in many of the supporting industries as well. This began to make the very popular president enemies among the very rich and the unemployed. In his campaigning in the 1934 Congressional elections, he made more enemies among the established party leaders as he tried to get "new blood" into politics. Threats were made against his life, and even organizations arose to actively seek his impeachment on spurious charges.
In July of 1935, federal agents in Baton Rouge, where Long had served as governor, uncovered evidence that a conspiracy had been uncovered to assasinate him on his visit to the state later in the year. Immediately appointing a commission to investigate the alleged involvement of several Louisiana politicians, Long went ahead with his plans. As it turned out, though, he had made other enemies as well. On September 9, 1935, he was felled by two shots from a disgruntled politician in the state house in Baton Rouge. His Secret Service detail immediately opened fire on the assailant, Carl Weiss, in a barrage of gunfire not seen since the wild west gun battles. Weiss died on the spot, but Long lived until the next day, after an operation in a local hospital failed to save his life.