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

Bibliographical Essay

◆ Although there are numerous accounts of the career of Huey P. Long and his domination of the political life of Louisiana during the 1920s and 1930s of varying quality and assistance to one who undertakes to write on an aspect of Long's career, I have relied primarily on three biographies of Huey Long that have been published in more recent years. The first of these is T. Harry Williams, Huey Long ( New York: Knopf, 1969), a biography that won a Pulitzer Prize. Despite the acclaim with which it was received, I found Williams's biography to be unduly complimentary of Long's career and deeds, offering apologias for most of the Kingfish's actions regardless of how seriously they may have breached fundamental American democratic and constitutional values. An example, highly relevant to the subject matter analyzed in my work, is the fact that Williams mentions the adoption of the newspaper advertising tax in 1934 at Long's behest in only a few sentences and disposes of the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the Grosjean case in a footnote, ignoring the fact that the tax was one of the most serious assaults upon freedom of the press in this century (pp. 716, 721, note 3).

Several years ago, William Ivy Hair published his biography of Long, The Kingfish and His Realm ( Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1991), a biography that I found to be a more balanced treatment of Long's life and career and more critical of the Kingfish's excesses than the previous Williams biography More recently, Glen Jeansonne Messiah of the Masses: Huey P. Long and the Great Depression ( New York: Harper

-187-

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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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