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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Herman Talmadge, July 15 and 24, 1975. Interview A-0331-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Respect and admiration for Huey Long's leadership style

Talmadge explains his admiration for Huey Long's political style. Talmadge recalls that his father and Long were on friendly terms as political leaders of neighboring states during the 1930s. Although Talmadge, like his father, disagreed with Long's fiscal agenda, he did admire Long's style of political leadership. In Talmadge's estimation, Long emerges as a political juggernaut who dominated all aspects of his state's government in such a manner that other politicians could not achieve.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Herman Talmadge, July 15 and 24, 1975. Interview A-0331-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JACK NELSON:
Another thing that I was very interested in was when you told me earlier that Huey Long was one of the persons that you most admired in life.
SENATOR HERMAN TALMADGE:
I was fascinated by Huey Long's color, his dynamic speaking style, his total supremacy in the state of Louisiana. He was the only man, I think, in the history of the country that ever completely took charge of the judicial, legislative and executive branch of government within his state. I used to subscribe to his newspaper, The American Progress. He had one of the quickest minds that I ever saw. I would read some of the debates in the Senate and sometimes he would take on the entire Senate singlehandedly and I never saw him bested.
JACK NELSON:
On the other hand, probably some of his political philosophy was not . . .
SENATOR HERMAN TALMADGE:
His political philosophy at that time even at that time, was alien to my own and as I got in politics and government myself, I don't buy his share the wealth theory and things of that nature.
JACK NELSON:
Also, according to Anderson, I think that he quoted some speech or some comment that Huey Long had made to the press. He was supposed to have had some contempt for your father.
SENATOR HERMAN TALMADGE:
I saw that in Anderson's book. I don't know whether he ever said that or not. Huey in those days sometimes drank to excess. He might have made a derogatory remark while he was under the influence, but I doubt that he had contempt for my father. I thought that they were good friends.
JACK NELSON:
You doubt that there was any enmity between then, then?
SENATOR HERMAN TALMADGE:
There wasn't any at all. My father didn't buy his political philosophy, although he did support his program to curtail cotton production until we got it out of surplus.