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In 1934, in the depths of the Great Depression, the Louisiana Senator Huey Long began a campaign to make “Every man a king.” Long’s “Share Our Wealth” plan proposed a guaranteed income of $5,000, to be funded by a wealth tax and caps on inheritances and income. Long’s plan thus represents the first serious proposal for a basic income by a high-ranking American politician. Yet, because most scholarship focuses on his authoritarian impulses and his 1935 assassination, Long’s place in the history of basic income remains scarcely studied. By analyzing Long’s speeches, successive Share Our Wealth proposals, and personal accounts, this project investigates Long’s intellectual and political influences and asks what his legacy means for basic income debates today. In particular, this research explores how Long was greatly inspired by the Bible and populist beliefs instilled by his upbringing in Winn Parish, LA.



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Huey Long and “Share Our Wealth”: Impactful or Forgetful?