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Russell Long

A Life in Politics

Michael S. Martin

Publication Year: 2014

Russell Long (1918-2003) occupies a unique niche in twentieth-century United States history. Born into Louisiana's most influential political family, and son of perhaps the most famous Louisianan of all time, Long extended the political power generated by other members of his family and attained heights of power unknown to his predecessors, including his father, Huey.

The Long family and its followers pervaded Louisiana politics from the late 1920s through the 1980s. Being a Long--especially a son of Huey Long--preordained Russell for a political life. His father's assassination set the wheels in motion for his eventual political career. In 1948, Russell followed his father and his mother to a seat in the United States Senate. In due course, he rose to the politically eminent positions of majority whip and chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

Russell Long: A Life in Politics examines Long's public life and places it within the context of twentieth-century Louisiana, southern, and national politics. In Louisiana, Long's politics arose out of the Longite/ Anti-Longite period of history. Yet he transcended many of those two groups' factional squabbles. In the national realm, Long's politics exhibited a working philosophy that straddled the boundaries between New Deal liberalism and southern conservatism. By the time of his retirement in early 1987, he had witnessed the demise of one political paradigm--the New Deal liberal consensus--and the creation of one dominated by a new style of conservatism.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi


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Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-2

This book started, as I suspect many do, in a conversation. While walking across the campus at the University of Arkansas on a spring day in 1998, I discussed the Long family of Louisiana with Dr. Randall Woods. As we walked, I lamented that just about everything...

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pp. 3-9

When Russell Long entered the United States Senate in 1948, World War II burned brightly in American memories, and the Cold War loomed ominously. The politics of civil rights and the civil rights movement were...

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Chapter 1. Learning the Ropes in the Long Family, 1918–1948

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pp. 10-37

Russell Long was born in the booming oil town of Shreveport, in the far northwestern corner of Louisiana, on November 3, 1918. His mother, Rose McConnell Long, named him Huey Pierce Long III for his father, who, at the time...

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Chapter 2. Finding His Footing, 1949–1952

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pp. 38-69

Arthur Vandenberg was sixty-four years old when he swore Russell Long into the United States Senate. Vandenberg had served in the Senate since 1926 and had been a colleague of Long’s father, Huey, during the 1930s. Russell...

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Chapter 3. On the Outside Looking In, 1953–1960

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pp. 70-118

In July 1952, Russell Long ventured to Chicago as a member of the Louisiana delegation to the Democratic National Convention. Long hoped Georgia senator Richard Russell would receive his party’s presidential nomination, but it was not...

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Chapter 4. In Ascent, 1960–1969

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pp. 119-156

When the battle over the Civil Rights Act of 1960 ended in April of that year, Russell Long said he hoped “we are forever closing the door” on legislation to force change upon the South’s racial setting. He likely...

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Chapter 5. Power Broker, 1969–1980

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pp. 157-196

Not long before the 1968 elections, Russell Long received a letter from historian T. Harry Williams. “At 12:15 noon today I finished the book!” wrote Williams. “I feel as though a great load has been lifted.” After thirteen years...

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Conclusion In Descent, 1981–2003

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pp. 197-212

The national elections of 1980 saw the coalescence of political, economic, and religious conservatism behind the candidacy of the Republican presidential nominee, Ronald Reagan. The former actor and California governor...


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pp. 213-237


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pp. 238-250


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pp. 251-259

E-ISBN-13: 9781626740181
E-ISBN-10: 1626740186
Print-ISBN-13: 9781617039744
Print-ISBN-10: 1617039748

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 854980521
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Russell Long

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Subject Headings

  • Long, Russell B.
  • Legislators -- United States -- Biography.
  • United States. Congress. Senate -- Biography.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1945-1989.
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