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Share The Wealth was a movement begun in February 1934, during the Great Depression, by Huey Long, a governor and later United States Senator from Louisiana. Huey Long first proposed the plan in a national radio address, which is now referred to as the "Share Our Wealth Speech".
The key planks of the Share The Wealth platform included:
Long believed that the underlying cause of the Great Depression, (which he called "Mr. Roosevelt's depression") was the growing disparity between the rich and everyone else. For most of his political career, he was endeared to the "little man," which refers to the rural poor. The Share Our Wealth program was going to become the capstone project for Long's populist agenda.
The Share Our Wealth program was controversial. Many also suspected that Huey Long was planning on using the Share Our Wealth Society as a vehicle for mounting a third party challenge to Roosevelt during the 1936 Presidential election. Any Presidential ambitions which Long might have had were cut short when he was shot by an assassin on September 8, 1935, in Baton Rouge; he died two days later on September 10, 1935.
Biographers T. Harry Williams and William Ivy Hair speculated that the Senator had never intended to run for the presidency in 1936. Long planned to form a third party in 1936 that would run a candidate who would probably lose, but also split the progressive vote, causing Roosevelt to lose as well. Long would then run for president on his new party's ticket in 1940.
Long was a populist, extremely popular in his home state of Louisiana, but many saw his Share Our Wealth proposal as an unworkable plan that threatened the reforms of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, especially by the right.
After Long's assassination, the control of the Share The Wealth Society fell to Gerald L. K. Smith, who was widely viewed as a political demagogue. Smith brought the Share The Wealth Society into a brief coalition with the followers of radio priest Charles Coughlin and old-age pension advocate Francis Townsend in support of the short-lived Union Party, a third party effort which ran William Lemke of North Dakota for President in 1936, but under his leadership, the Share Our Wealth movement quickly fell apart.