The Kingfish and the Constitution: Huey Long, the First Amendment, and the Emergence of Modern Press Freedom in America

By Richard C. Cortner | Go to book overview

program, the proposal for a new capitol, and the taxation and injunction bills aimed at punishing the press.66

Although he had survived the impeachment attempt in 1929, the Kingfish had now witnessed his enemies, including the press, successfully block his program in the 1930 legislative session, and his domination of the legislature appeared to be at an end. "The Old New Orleans Ring and their lying newspapers," reinforced by other Long enemies, the Louisiana Progress charged, had blocked the paved roads program from being considered by a constitutional convention through the use of "hoodlum tactics." The Times-Picayune, on the other hand, applauded the legislative session's "chief and almost its only constructive achievement," the defeat of "GovernorLong's twin rackets--his $68,000,000 road bond scheme and his project, flimsily disguised, for an unlimited constitutional convention." To the legislators in both houses who had accomplished those results, it said, "the gratitude and perpetual esteem of Louisiana's people are due."67

During the legislative session, the Louisiana Progress asserted, the "New Orleans dailies and other ring-dominated sheets throughout the state were ordered to open up their mud batteries and all responded with a unanimity worthy of a worthy cause." "Never before in the history of the state," it maintained, "has a public official been hounded, abused, vilified and lied about as has been Gov. Long." Stung by defeat, Huey Long was now confronted with the necessity of resurrecting his political fortunes, so badly mauled during the legislative session, and in a typically swift and dramatic fashion he would proceed to do so during the summer and fall of 1930.68


NOTES
1.
T. Harry Williams, Huey Long ( New York: Knopf, 1969), pp. 455-60; William Ivy Hair , The Kingfish and His Realm ( Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1991), p. 197; Glen Jeansonne, Messiah of the Masses: Huey P Long and the Great Depression ( New York: Harper Collins, 1993), p. 86.
2.
Record, Grosjean v. American Press Co., 297 U.S. 233 ( 1936), p. 3 (afterwards cited as Record); New Orleans Times-Picayune, April 28, 1931, p. 1.
3.
New Orleans Times-Picayune, Aug. 28, 1931, pp. 1, 2; see also John Wilds, Afternoon Story: A Century of the New Orleans States-Item ( Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1976), chap. 10, "Robert Ewing: The Last of the Swashbucklers," pp. 183-203.
4.
New, Orleans Times-Picayune, Jan. 28, 1947, p. 1; Jan. 29, 1947, p. 10; New York Times, Jan. 28, 1947, p. 24.
5.
Record, pp. 1-3.
6.
Wilds, Afternoon Story, chap. 11, "The Rise and Fall of Jim Thomson," pp. 204-27; New Orleans Times-Picayune, March 25, 1953, pp. 1, 2.

-44-

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The Kingfish and the Constitution: Huey Long, the First Amendment, and the Emergence of Modern Press Freedom in America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Political Science ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Notes xiv
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction: Huey Long, the Press, and the First Amendment in 1930 1
  • Notes 16
  • Chapter 2 - The Kingfish and the "Lying Newspapers" of Louisiana 19
  • Notes 44
  • Chapter 3 - The Kingfish Goes National 47
  • Notes 64
  • Chapter 4 - Guiding the Newspapers in the "Path of Rectitude": Censorship by Taxation 67
  • Notes 92
  • Chapter 5 - The Press Counterattacks 95
  • Notes 116
  • Chapter 6 - The Grosjean Case before the Three-Judge Court 119
  • Notes 148
  • Chapter 7 - The Appeal to the Supreme Court 149
  • Notes 171
  • Chapter 8 - Epilogue 175
  • Notes 185
  • Bibliographical Essay 187
  • Index 191
  • About the Author 197
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