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Every Man a King-Huey Pierce Long
04-04-2014, 01:22 PM
Post: #1
Every Man a King-Huey Pierce Long
Huey P. Long
Every Man a King
delivered 23 February 1934 (photo on different occasion)
Is that a right of life, when the young children of this country are being
reared into a sphere which is more owned by 12 men that is by
120,000,000 people?
Ladies and gentlemen, I have only 30 minutes in which to speak to you
this evening, and I, therefore, will not be able to discuss in detail so
much as I can write when I have all of the time and space that is
allowed me for the subjects, but I will undertake to sketch them very
briefly without manuscript or preparation, so that you can understand

them so well as I can tell them to you tonight.
I contend, my friends, that we have no difficult problem to solve in
America, and that is the view of nearly everyone with whom I have
discussed the matter here in Washington and elsewhere throughout the
United States -- that we have no very difficult problem to solve.
It is not the difficulty of the problem which we have; it is the fact that
the rich people of this country -- and by rich people I mean the superrich
-- will not allow us to solve the problems, or rather the one little
problem that is afflicting this country, because in order to cure all of our
woes it is necessary to scale down the big fortunes, that we may scatter
the wealth to be shared by all of the people.
We have a marvelous love for this Government of ours; in fact, it is
almost a religion, and it is well that it should be, because we have a
splendid form of government and we have a splendid set of laws. We
have everything here that we need, except that we have neglected the
fundamentals upon which the American Government was principally
predicated.
How may of you remember the first thing that the Declaration of
Independence said? It said, "We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that there are certain inalienable rights of the people, and among them
are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"; and it said, further, "We
hold the view that all men are created equal."
Now, what did they mean by that? Did they mean, my friends, to say
that all me were created equal and that that meant that any one man
was born to inherit $10,000,000,000 and that another child was to be
born to inherit nothing?
Did that mean, my friends, that someone would come into this world
without having had an opportunity, of course, to have hit one lick of
work, should be born with more than it and all of its children and
children's children could ever dispose of, but that another one would
have to be born into a life of starvation?
That was not the meaning of the Declaration of Independence when it
said that all men are created equal of "That we hold that all men are
created equal."
Now was it the meaning of the Declaration of Independence when it said
that they held that there were certain rights that were inalienable -- the
right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Is that right of life, my
friends, when the young children of this country are being reared into a
sphere which is more owned by 12 men than it is by 120,000,000
people?
Is that, my friends, giving them a fair shake of the dice or anything like
the inalienable right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or
anything resembling the fact that all people are created equal; when we
have today in America thousands and hundreds of thousands and
millions of children on the verge of starvation in a land that is
overflowing with too much to eat and too much to wear? I do not think
you will contend that, and I do not think for a moment that they will
contend it.

Now let us see if we cannot return this Government to the Declaration of
Independence and see if we are going to do anything regarding it. Why
should we hesitate or why should we quibble or why should we quarrel
with one another to find out what the difficulty is, when we know what
the Lord told us what the difficulty is, and Moses wrote it out so a blind
man could see it, then Jesus told us all about it, and it was later written
in the Book of James, where everyone could read it?
I refer to the Scriptures, now, my friends, and give you what it says not
for the purpose of convincing you of the wisdom of myself, not for the
purpose ladies and gentlemen, of convincing you of the fact that I am
quoting the Scripture means that I am to be more believed than
someone else; but I quote you the Scripture, rather refer you to the
Scripture, because whatever you see there you may rely upon will never
be disproved so long as you or your children or anyone may live; and
you may further depend upon the fact that not one historical fact that
the Bible has ever contained has ever yet been disproved by any
scientific discovery or by reason of anything that has been disclosed to
man through his own individual mind or through the wisdom of the Lord
which the Lord has allowed him to have.
But the Scripture says, ladies and gentlemen, that no country can
survive, or for a country to survive it is necessary that we keep the
wealth scattered among the people, that nothing should be held
permanently by any one person, and that 50 years seems to be the year
of jubilee in which all property would be scattered about and returned to
the sources from which it originally came, and every seventh year debt
should be remitted.
Those two things the Almighty said to be necessary -- I should say He
knew to be necessary, or else He would not have so prescribed that the
property would be kept among the general run of the people and that
everyone would continue to share in it; so that no one man would get
half of it and hand it down to a son, who takes half of what was left, and
that son hand it down to another one, who would take half of what was
left, until, like a snowball going downhill, all of the snow was off of the
ground except what the snowball had.
I believe that was the judgment and the view and the law of the Lord,
that we would have to distribute wealth every so often, in order that
there could not be people starving to death in a land of plenty, as there
is in America today. We have in American today more wealth, more
goods, more food, more clothing, more houses than we have ever had.
We have everything in abundance here. We have the farm problem, my
friends, because we have too much cotton, because we have too much
wheat, and have too much corn, and too much potatoes.
We have a home-loan problem because we have too many houses, and
yet nobody can buy them and live in them.
We have trouble, my friends, in the country, because we have too much
money owing, the greatest indebtedness that has ever been given to
civilization, where it has been shown that we are incapable of
distributing to the actual things that are here, because the people have
not money enough to supply themselves with them, and because the
greed of a few men is such that they think it is necessary that they own
everything, and their pleasure consists in the starvation of the masses,
and in their possessing things they cannot use, and their children cannot

use, but who bask in the splendor of sunlight and wealth, casting
darkness and despair and impressing it on everyone else.
"So, therefore," said the Lord, in effect, "if you see these things that
now have occurred and exist in this and other countries, there must be
a constant scattering of wealth in any country if this country is to
survive."
"Then," said the Lord, in effect, "every seventh year there shall be a
remission of debts; there will be no debts after 7 years." That was the
law.
Now, let us take America today. We have in American today, ladies and
gentlemen, $272,000,000,000 of debt. Two hundred and seventy-two
thousand millions of dollars of debts are owed by the various people of
this country today. Why, my friends, that cannot be paid. It is not
possible for that kind of debt to be paid.
The entire currency of the United States is only $6,000,000,000. That is
all of the money that we have got in America today. All the actual
money you have got in all of your banks, all that you have got in the
Government Treasury, is $6,000,000,000; and if you took all that
money and paid it out today you would still owe $266,000,000,000; and
if you took all that money and paid again you would still owe
$260,000,000,000; and if you took it, my friends, 20 times and paid it
you would still owe $150,000,000,000.
You would have to have 45 times the entire money supply of the United
States today to pay the debts of the people of America, and then they
would just have to start out from scratch, without a dime to go on with.
So, my friends, it is impossible to pay all of these debts, and you might
as well find out that it cannot be done. The United States Supreme
Court has definitely found out that it could not be done, because, in a
Minnesota case, it held that when a State has postponed the evil day of
collecting a debt it was a valid and constitutional exercise of legislative
power.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, if I may proceed to give you some other
words that I think you can understand -- I am not going to belabor you
by quoting tonight -- I am going to tell you what the wise men of all
ages and all times, down even to the present day, have all said: That
you must keep the wealth of the country scattered, and you must limit
the amount that any one man can own. You cannot let any man own
$300,000,000,000 or $400,000,000,000. If you do, one man can own
all of the wealth that they United States has in it.
Now, my friends, if you were off on an island where there were 100
lunches, you could not let one man eat up the hundred lunches, or take
the hundred lunches and not let anybody else eat any of them. If you
did, there would not be anything else for the balance of the people to
consume.
So, we have in America today, my friends, a condition by which about
10 men dominate the means of activity in at least 85 percent of the
activities that you own. They either own directly everything or they have
got some kind of mortgage on it, with a very small percentage to be

excepted. They own the banks, they own the steel mills, they own the
railroads, they own the bonds, they own the mortgages, they own the
stores, and they have chained the country from one end to the other,
until there is not any kind of business that a small, independent man
could go into today and make a living, and there is not any kind of
business that an independent man can go into and make any money to
buy an automobile with; and they have finally and gradually and
steadily eliminated everybody from the fields in which there is a living to
be made, and still they have got little enough sense to think they ought
to be able to get more business out of it anyway.
If you reduce a man to the point where he is starving to death and
bleeding and dying, how do you expect that man to get hold of any
money to spend with you? It is not possible. Then, ladies and
gentlemen, how do you expect people to live, when the wherewith
cannot be had by the people?
In the beginning I quoted from the Scriptures. I hope you will
understand that I am not quoting Scripture to convince you of my
goodness personally, because that is a thing between me and my
Maker, that is something as to how I stand with my Maker and as to
how you stand with your Maker. That is not concerned with this issue,
except and unless there are those of you who would be so good as to
pray for the souls of some of us. But the Lord gave his law, and in the
Book of James they said so, that the rich should weep and howl for the
miseries that had come upon them; and, therefore, it was written that
when the rich hold goods they could not use and could not consume,
you will inflict punishment on them, and nothing but days of woe ahead
of them.
Then we have heard of the great Greek philosopher, Socrates, and the
greater Greek philosopher, Plato, and we have read the dialog between
Plato and Socrates, in which one said that great riches brought on great
poverty, and would be destructive of a country. Read what they said.
Read what Plato said; that you must not let any one man be too poor,
and you must not let any one man be too rich; that the same mill that
grinds out the extra rich is the mill that will grind out the extra poor,
because, in order that the extra rich can become so affluent, they must
necessarily take more of what ordinarily would belong to the average
man.
It is a very simple process of mathematics that you do not have to
study, and that no one is going to discuss with you.
So that was the view of Socrates and Plato. That was the view of the
English statesmen. That was the view of American statesmen. That was
the view of American statesmen like Daniel Webster, Thomas Jefferson,
Abraham Lincoln, William Jennings Bryan, and Theodore Roosevelt, and
even as late as Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Both of these men, Mr. Hoover and Mr. Roosevelt, came out and said
there had to be a decentralization of wealth, but neither one of them did
anything about it. But, nevertheless, they recognized the principle. The
fact that neither one of them ever did anything about it is their own
problem that I am not undertaking to criticize; but had Mr. Hoover
carried out what he says ought to be done, he would be retiring from
the President's office, very probably, 3 years from now, instead of 1
year ago; and had Mr. Roosevelt proceeded along the lines that he

stated were necessary for the decentralization of wealth, he would have
gone, my friends, a long way already, and within a few months he
would have probably reached a solution of all of the problems that afflict
this country.
But I wish to warn you now that nothing that has been done up to this
date has taken one dime away from these big-fortune holders; they own
just as much as they did, and probably a little bit more; they hold just
as many of the debts of the common people as they ever held, and
probably a little bit more; and unless we, my friends, are going to give
the people of this country a fair shake of the dice, by which they will all
get something out of the funds of this land, there is not a chance on the
topside of this God's eternal earth by which we can rescue this country
and rescue the people of this country.
It is necessary to save the Government of the country, but is much
more necessary to save the people of America. We love this country. We
love this Government. It is a religion, I say. It is a kind of religion
people have read of when women, in the name of religion, would take
their infant babes and throw them into the burning flame, where they
would be instantly devoured by the all-consuming fire, in days gone by;
and there probably are some people of the world even today, who, in
the name of religion, throw their tear-dimmed eyes into the sad faces of
their fathers and mothers, who cannot given them food and clothing
they both needed, and which is necessary to sustain them, and that
goes on day after day, and night after night, when day gets into
darkness and blackness, knowing those children would arise in the
morning without being fed, and probably to bed at night without being
fed.
Yet in the name of our Government, and all alone, those people
undertake and strive as hard as they can to keep a good government
alive, and how long they can stand that no one knows. If I were in their
place tonight, the place where millions are, I hope that I would have
what I might say -- I cannot give you the word to express the kind of
fortitude they have; that is the word -- I hope that I might have the
fortitude to praise and honor my Government that had allowed me here
in this land, where there is too much to eat and too much to wear, to
starve in order that a handful of men can have so much more than they
can ever eat or they can ever wear.
Now, we have organized a society, and we call it "Share Our Wealth
Society," a society with the motto "every man a king."
Every man a king, so there would be no such thing as a man or woman
who did not have the necessities of life, who would not be dependent
upon the whims and caprices and ipsi dixit of the financial martyrs for a
living. What do we propose by this society? We propose to limit the
wealth of big men in the country. There is an average of $15,000 in
wealth to every family in America. That is right here today.
We do not propose to divide it up equally. We do not propose a division
of wealth, but we propose to limit poverty that we will allow to be
inflicted upon any man's family. We will not say we are going to try to
guarantee any equality, or $15,000 to families. No; but we do say that
one third of the average is low enough for any one family to hold, that
there should be a guaranty of a family wealth of around $5,000; enough
for a home, and automobile, a radio, and the ordinary conveniences,

and the opportunity to educate their children; a fair share of the income
of this land thereafter to that family so there will be no such thing as
merely the select to have those things, and so there will be no such
thing as a family living in poverty and distress.
We have to limit fortunes. Our present plan is that we will allow no one
man to own more than $50,000,000. We think that with that limit we
will be able to carry out the balance of the program. It may be
necessary that we limit it to less than $50,000,000. It may be
necessary, in working out of the plans, that no man's fortune would be
more than $10,000,000 or $15,000,000. But be that as it may, it will
still be more than any one man, or any one man and his children and
their children, will be able to spend in their lifetimes; and it is not
necessary or reasonable to have wealth piled up beyond that point
where we cannot prevent poverty among the masses.
Another thing we propose is old-age pension of $30 a month for
everyone that is 60 years old. Now, we do not give this pension to a
man making $1,000 a year, and we do not give it to him if he has
$10,000 in property, but outside of that we do.
We will limit hours of work. There is not any necessity of having overproduction.
I think all you have got to do, ladies and gentlemen, is just
limit the hours of work to such an extent as people will work only so
long as is necessary to produce enough for all of the people to have
what they need. Why, ladies and gentleman, let us say that all of these
labor-saving devices reduce hours down to where you do not have to
work but 4 hours a day; that is enough for these people, and then
praise be the name of the Lord, if it gets that good. Let it be good and
not a curse, and then we will have 5 hours a day and 5 days a week, or
even less that that, and we might give a man a whole month off during
a year, or give him 2 months; and we might do what other countries
have seen fit to do, and what I did in Louisiana, by having schools by
which adults could go back and learn the things that have been
discovered since they went to school.
We will not have any trouble taking care of the agricultural situation. All
you have to do is balance your production with your consumption. You
simply have to abandon a particular crop that you have too much of,
and all you have to do is store the surplus for the next year, and the
Government will take it over. When you have good crops in the area in
which the crops that have been planted are sufficient for another year,
put in your public works in the particular year when you do not need to
raise any more, and by that means you get everybody employed. When
the Government has enough of any particular crop to take care of all of
the people, that will be all that is necessary; and in order to do all of
this, our taxation is going to be to take the billion-dollar fortunes and
strip them down to frying size, not to exceed $50,000,000, and it is
necessary to come to $10,000,000, we will come to $10,000,000. We
have worked the proposition out to guarantee a limit upon property
(and no man will own less than one third the average), and guarantee a
reduction of fortunes and a reduction of hours to spread wealth
throughout this country. We would care for the old people above 60 and
take them away from this thriving industry and given them a chance to
enjoy the necessities and live in ease, and thereby lift from the market
the labor which would probably create a surplus of commodities.
Those are the things we propose to do. "Every man a king." Every man

to eat when there is something to eat; all to wear something when
there is something to wear. That makes us all sovereign.
You cannot solve these things through these various and sundry
alphabetical codes. You can have the N.R.A. and P.W.A. and C.W.A. and
the U.U.G. and G.I.N. and any other kind of "dadgummed" lettered
code. You can wait until doomsday and see 25 more alphabets, but that
is not going to solve this proposition. Why hide? Why quibble? You know
what the trouble is. The man that says he does not know what the
trouble is just hiding his face to keep from seeing the sunlight.
God told you what the trouble was. The philosophers told you what the
trouble was; and when you have a country where one man owns more
than 100,000 people, or a million people, and when you have a country
where there are four men, as in America, that have got more control
over things than all the 120,000,000 people together, you know what
the trouble is.
We had these great incomes in this country; but the farmer, who
plowed from sunup to sundown, who labored here from sunup to
sundown for 6 days a week, wound up at the end of the with practically
nothing.
And we ought to take care of the veterans of the wars in this program.
That is a small matter. Suppose it does cost a billion dollars a year --
that means that the money will be scattered throughout this country.
We ought to pay them a bonus. We can do it. We ought to take care of
every single one of the sick and disabled veterans. I do not care
whether a man got sick on the battlefield or did not; every man that
wore the uniform of this country is entitled to be taken care of, and
there is money enough to do it; and we need to spread the wealth of
the country, which you did not do in what you call the N.R.A.
If the N.R.A. has done any good, I can put it all in my eye without
having it hurt. All I can see that N.R.A. has done is to put the little man
out of business -- the little merchant in his store, the little Dago that is
running a fruit stand, or the Greek shoe-shining stand, who has to take
hold of a code of 275 pages and study with a spirit level and compass
and looking-glass; he has to hire a Philadelphia lawyer to tell him what
is in the code; and by the time he learns what the code is, he is in jail or
out of business; and they have got a chain code system that has already
put him out of business. The N.R.A. is not worth anything, and I said so
when they put it through.
Now, my friends, we have got to hit the root with the axe. Centralized
power in the hands of a few, with centralized credit in the hands of a
few, is the trouble.
Get together in your community tonight or tomorrow and organize one
of our Share Our Wealth societies. If you do not understand it, write me
and let me send you the platform; let me give you the proof of it.
This is Huey P. Long talking, United States Senator, Washington, D.C.
Write me and let me send you the data on this proposition. Enroll with
us. Let us make known to the people what we are going to do. I will
send you a button, if I have got enough of them left. We have got a
little button that some of our friends designed, with our message around

the rim of the button, and in the center "Every man a king." Many
thousands of them are meeting through the United States, and every
day we are getting hundreds and hundreds of letters. Share Our Wealth
societies are now being organized, and people have it within their power
to relieve themselves from this terrible situation.
Look at what the Mayo brothers announced this week, these greatest
scientists of all the world today, who are entitled to have more money
than all the Morgans and the Rockefellers, or anyone else, and yet the
Mayos turn back their big fortunes to be used for treating the sick, and
said they did not want to lay up fortunes in this earth, but wanted to
turn them back where they would do some good; but the other big
capitalists are not willing to do that, are not willing to do what these
men, 10 times more worthy, have already done, and it is going to take
a law to require them to do it.
Organize your Share Our Wealth Society and get your people to meet
with you, and make known your wishes to your Senators and
Representatives in Congress.
Now, my friends, I am going to stop. I thank you for this opportunity to
talk to you. I am having to talk under the auspices and by the grace and
permission of the National Broadcasting System tonight, and they are
letting me talk free. If I had the money, and I wish I had the money, I
would like to talk to you more often on this line, but I have not got it,
and I cannot expect these people to give it to me free except on some
rare instance. But, my friends, I hope to have the opportunity to talk
with you, and I am writing to you, and I hope that you will get up and
help in the work, because the resolution and bills are before Congress,
and we hope to have your help in getting together and organizing your
Share Our Wealth society.
Now, that I have but a minute left, I want to say that I suppose my
family is listening in on the radio in New Orleans, and I will say to my
wife and three children that I am entirely well and hope to be home
before many more days, and I hope they have listened to my speech
tonight, and I wish them and all their neighbors and friends everything
good that may be had.
I thank you, my friends, for your kind attention, and I hope you will
enroll with us, take care of your own work in the work of this
Government, and share or help in our Share Our Wealth society.
I thank you.
Also in this database: Huey P. Long - "Share Our Wealth"
See also: Paramount Pictures Video Footage (from YouTube.com)
Text Source: Published version of this speech appeared in the New York times, July 26, 1969, p.10. This
version was taken from Halford Ross Ryan (Ed.), from Roosevelt to Reagan, published in
1987 by Waveland Press: Prospect Heights, IL.
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