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10/29 The Long Machine's Collapse

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Liz Skilton

on 1 November 2018

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Transcript of 10/29 The Long Machine's Collapse

Paper Option Due Monday (March 19)!
--Princess & the Frog
--All the King's Men

Louisiana History
The Long Machine's Collapse
What were the events leading up to Long's assassination? What was the reaction to it?

How is Long's legacy perceived today?
The Political Turmoil Following Long
Longites vs. the Anti-Longites

Long had no plans for a successor, leaves "Long Machine" in chaos
Election of Richard W. Leche
New Orleans Judge

Put Earl K. Long (brother) on ticket as well
Governor Leche
Most corrupt Governor in LA History

-1 cent sales tax
-Louisiana Fair Trade Law of 1936
-Pensions for elderly & teachers
-Continued infrastructure
The Louisiana Scandals
Leche supported FDR reelection campaign in 1936

FDR starts sending MILLIONS of $$ to LA through WPA programs
Politics Under Leche
-"Deduct" system --> 10% of salaries taken from state employees and channeled to Longite treasury

-State legislators allowed to hold multiple offices

-Lush salaries & diverted funds to major supporters & figures (such as LSU President)
The Louisiana Scandals
The New Orleans States
starts expose on Governor & political kickbacks

LSU President received
funds illegally
funneled to him

raked in more than
$90,000 a year
on various business schemes (hot oil smuggling,
NY mob casino

, prostitution kickbacks)

Reaction to the Louisiana Scandals
Governor Leche
"When I took the oath of office, I took no vow of poverty."
IRS Investigation
Led by same man who put Al Capone in prison (Elmer Irey)

Find that Leche & many members of administration had engaged in multiple counts of
--could not use "tax evasion"
--Mail fraud was actually the most popular offense cited to put criminals in jail
Took $31,000 in kickbacks on the purchase of 233 state trucks.
End Result:
Leche resigns from office (before sentencing)

Sentenced to 10 Year Prison Term in Atlanta


Eventually pardoned by Harry Truman
A Shift in Governance
Post-Louisiana Scandals, extreme dislike of Longism emerges

New political groups emerge with concept of "Reform"
--clean up government, not reform cities/infrastructure

1939/40 Election Cycle turns into struggle between "good guys"/Anti-Longites/Reformers and the "bad guys"/Longites
-EXACT Opposite of what brought Long into power
Governor Sam Jones
Sweeping reform of the political system

Gets rid of most of the "double-dipping" and deduct system that had funneled money to those in power

Also heavily reforms state civil service -- had to pass test to be able to work for the state

Still praised today as one of best LA Governors
Governor Jimmie Davis
Supported by Gov. Sam Jones (unable to succeed himself due to LA Const.)

Emphasized "peace & harmony" -- using popular song

Earl Long led major opposition -- said he was just a song and dance man

Davis was not aggressive as governor, did manage to balance state budget, increase education $$, and reform benefits & retirement
Both of these Governors faced shifting Louisiana climate during World War II
Louisiana at War
WWII was a turning point for LA History:

--Industry takes off
--LA becomes less rural, more interconnected
--Education & racial relationship change
--Americanization of Cajuns
Growth of Industry
Standard Oil the largest employer in state by 1940; will only grow during war

CCC -- trains men to work in soil conservation, reforestation, levee construction, and other environmental projects

1940: state has 105,000 unemployed individuals (roughly 50%)
With the War:
Educational Change
Louisiana still the worst in terms of education

40% of state residents could not read

Severe segregation in school settings

New policies implemented to encourage "American" behavior since WWI
-- German banned in schools
--French banned in schools -- 1917
Oil industry doubles

New industry picks up
Higgins Boat Works New Orleans
LA Training Camps
Over 1 million servicemen receive training in Louisiana to go to war

LA also held war games prior to the war in the area
Manufacturing Doubles & # of Products Triple
Nowhere are these changes more evident than with Cajun culture
WWII ushered in new sense of American identity & reidefinition of Louisiana
(Ex: History from the bottom up)
STOP 3/14
Full transcript