On March 7, 1935, Huey Long delivered a speech, “every man a king”, on a national radio broadcast to the most massive audience for the first time. The speech was ultimately one of the most famous speeches of his life as it increased his prestige and political power. The speech was aptly moving in accordance with the era of more significant economic depression. The discrepancy in the distribution of wealth was one of the prime issues the United States of America was facing at that time. The lower middle class and average earners were struggling for survival. Irrespective of the practical measures taken by him, Long has always been an advocate of the distribution of wealth. In 1935, he took the national radio as a means to put his notion on a larger platform in front of the whole nation. He gave the idea of building a society which he referred to as “share the wealth,” the title of the speech was per the central theme of the society.
Long wished to make a society in which every man would be a king by providing himself and his family with all the necessities of life. He put forward the idea of a decentralized economy and the distribution of wealth among both the poor and rich. The oratory skills of Huey P. Long have always been both admired and criticized. Neglecting the practical implementations or the feasibility of the proposed suggestions, if the speech is analyzed according to the oration parameters, then Long was undoubtedly the king of craft. In the particular address, “every man a king,” he adapted multiple techniques and used various sources to strengthen his argument. He quoted from the Bible and previous Greek philosophers, and he also cited the exact figures of the loans the US has taken so far. On a broader frame, Long progressively used ethos, pathos, and logos to leave an impactful impression on his listeners.
One can trace the aggravated use of ethos to claim his trustworthiness throughout the speech. Long took the help from ethos to tell the people what was God’s notion of that difficulty and what is Lord’s direction on the distribution of wealth. So Lord used religious diety to earn the public willingness toward his stance.
“[It will] never be disproved so long as you…live… [and] not one historical fact that the Bible has ever contained has ever yet been disproved by any scientific discovery or by reason. (Long)”
Long always has been praised due to his innate speaking skills. Still, very often, he seemed to quote the statistics and figures to make his audience believe that he had well-researched knowledge of the subject matter under discussion. This behavior can also be traced back to his speech, where he quoted the US Supreme Court’s verdict about why it is difficult for the United States to clear all its debts. Citing the information from the officials undoubtedly cast a plus point on the credibility of his knowledge.
“$272,000,000,000 of dollars of debts are owed by the various people of this country today (Long).”
One of the other prime features of Long’s rhetorical speech was: pathos, along with a pinch of epithet. His oration style makes the general people believe that he was talking about the lower-middle-class cohort who are genuinely suffering from societal distinctions.
The little merchant in his store and the little Dago that is running a fruit stand… (Long).
“If you reduce a man to the point where he is starving to death and bleeding and dying… (Long)”
The ideas, oration, and practical measures taken by Long can be vastly remembered as a diverse plethora of shades. During the initial years of their political career, he bloomed rapport across his governing state Lousinia; he was perceived as the leader of the common people. Through his wild gesticulation and rhetorical speeches, he earned the heart of various followers. People used to call him modern-day “robin hood,” however, history later portrayed him as a controversial figure, a demagogues politician owing to the few practical measures taken at his end.