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The influential views of huey long and father coughlin

Huey Long, Father Coughlin, and the Great Depression presents a short biography of each man and a social history of the popular dissent toward the New Deal their political movements represented. It was the nature of this dissent provides interest to this period. The initial euphoria of the first 100 days was turning into disappointment. Huey Long and Father Coughlin both stepped up to become that someone else. Long organized the Share Our Wealth Clubs. This group had local clubs in many states but mainly in the south and the far west.

Coughlin formed the National Union for Social Justice. He had a following concentrated in the northeast. The purpose of both groups was to act a counter to the national political parties specifically the Democratic Party.

If either of these groups were to become sufficiently large and nationally representative they would be able to impose their policy choices on the national party. Brinkley finds both men troublesome. He is fascinated by both and agrees with many of their economic proposals but he has difficulty dealing with certain aspects of their characters. With Huey Long it is the way he ran Louisiana.

With Coughlin it was his open admiration of Hitler and Mussolini and his strong anti-Semitic point of view. The book is organized into two sections. The first section presents the biography of each man up to 1934 the year they really begin to split from FDR. The second section is a social history of their movements in the years 1934-36. A short epilogue covering the years after 1936, which deal mostly with Father Coughlin though, some space is given to the fate of the Share Our Wealth Clubs.

A short set of appendices follows the first being the most important because it directly addresses the question of fascism and anti-Semitism. Brinkley has sought out many primary sources for this work dealing in large part with the manuscript collections of the principal historical figures.

  1. However, when endnotes are used these tables should be returned to the text.
  2. Father Coughlin soon found he had competition. In 1936, Coughlin was ordered silent by the Vatican.
  3. Roosevelt's least likely critic was Dr. In Long's words, the money would be more than enough to buy "a radio, a car, and a home.

Still he seems to have relied mainly on secondary sources for much of the book. Also there are some significant statistical tables included as notes. If the notes were the academically preferable footnotes placing these tables here is not a problem. However, when endnotes are used these tables should be returned to the text. They are significant enough to the narrative that they need to be seen which they may not be hidden in the back. Knopf 1982 Pages 348, Price?

Huey Long and Father Charles Coughlin could not have come from more different backgrounds.

Father Coughlin

Long, from a Louisiana small town, was governor and Senator. Father Coughlin, born in Canada, became a Catholic priest.

Huey Long was elected governor of Louisiana in 1928. He established a strong, dominant power base in Louisiana. Despite outrageous, sometimes hilarious, buffoonish and even lunatic behavior, Long maintained support in his home state. Long had few friends among professional politicians. He supported Roosevelt in 1932 but a rift developed.

As a priest, Coughlin did not seek elective office. Linhart January 27 2006 Commentary Long, Coughlin and others blamed the rich for the economic disaster.

  • Brinkley states from the outset that the Long and Coughlin organizations left little in the way of written records;
  • Despite outrageous, sometimes hilarious, buffoonish and even lunatic behavior, Long maintained support in his home state;
  • Both Long and Coughlin have been connected with fascism;
  • He supported Roosevelt in 1932 but a rift developed.

In many ways, both Long and Coughlin are mysterious figures. Coughlin, the priest, is not clearly revealed as a political figure. Brinkley believes nether Long or Coughlin realized the causes of Depression problems were less simplistic than villainous international financiers, giant corporations and Wall Street brokers.

Voices of protest

Both Long and Coughlin have been connected with fascism. Huey Long, Father Coughlin, and the Great Depression is an excellent overview of the enduring tradition of political protest in the United States.

Brinkley expertly describes how this tradition—embodied at this time by the larger-than-life personages of Huey Long and Father Coughlin—expressed itself during the Great Depression. The book should prove of interest to scholars interested in the historiography of protest, as well as the casual reader interested in Huey Long and Father Coughlin.

Brinkley states from the outset that the Long and Coughlin organizations left little in the way of written records. Furthermore, their movments came in the days before opinion polling, creating a challenge in how to assess the impact of their messages.

Brinkley, x Brinkley has done an excellent job with the little evidence he has; however, he does run into a few problems. Their membership in the middle class was less a result of their level of material comfort than of a certain social outlook. Brinkley, 201 Indeed, Coughlin aligned himself with the more conservative elements of the labor movement. And even though Long was largely silent on union issues, many unionists, particularly the more conservative elements, rallied to his cause. Despite some flaws, Brinkley has done well in showing how the protest tradition remained alive and well in twentieth century America.

However, it would have been interesting if he had demonstrated more completely how far back the fear of modernization and the loss of localism actually went.