I contend, my friends, that we have no difficult problem to solve in
America, and that is the view of nearly everyone with whom I have
discussed the matter here in Washington and elsewhere throughout the
United States -- that we have no very difficult problem to solve.
It is not the difficulty of the problem which we have; it is the
fact that the rich people of this country -- and by rich people I
mean the super-rich -- will not allow us to solve the problems, or
rather the one little problem that is afflicting this country,
because in order to cure all of our woes it is necessary to scale
down the big fortunes, that we may scatter the wealth to be shared
by all of the people.
We have a marvelous love for this Government of ours; in fact, it is
almost a religion, and it is well that it should be, because we have
a splendid form of government and we have a splendid set of laws. We
have everything here that we need, except that we have neglected the
fundamentals upon which the American Government was principally
How may of you remember the first thing that the Declaration of
Independence said? It said, "We hold these truths to be
self-evident, that there are certain inalienable rights of the
people, and among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness"; and it said, further, "We hold the view that all men are
Now, what did they mean by that? Did they mean, my friends, to say
that all me were created equal and that that meant that any one man
was born to inherit $10,000,000,000 and that another child was to be
born to inherit nothing?
Did that mean, my friends, that someone would come into this world
without having had an opportunity, of course, to have hit one lick
of work, should be born with more than it and all of its children
and children's children could ever dispose of, but that another one
would have to be born into a life of starvation?
That was not the meaning of the Declaration of Independence when it
said that all men are created equal of "That we hold that all men
are created equal."
Now was it the meaning of the Declaration of Independence when it
said that they held that there were certain rights that were
inalienable -- the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness. Is that right of life, my friends, when the young
children of this country are being reared into a sphere which is
more owned by 12 men than it is by 120,000,000 people?
Is that, my friends, giving them a fair shake of the dice or
anything like the inalienable right of life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness, or anything resembling the fact that all
people are created equal; when we have today in America thousands
and hundreds of thousands and millions of children on the verge of
starvation in a land that is overflowing with too much to eat and
too much to wear? I do not think you will contend that, and I do not
think for a moment that they will contend it.
Now let us see if we cannot return this Government to the
Declaration of Independence and see if we are going to do anything
regarding it. Why should we hesitate or why should we quibble or why
should we quarrel with one another to find out what the difficulty
is, when we know what the Lord told us what the difficulty is, and
Moses wrote it out so a blind man could see it, then Jesus told us
all about it, and it was later written in the Book of James, where
everyone could read it?
I refer to the Scriptures, now, my friends, and give you what it
says not for the purpose of convincing you of the wisdom of myself,
not for the purpose ladies and gentlemen, of convincing you of the
fact that I am quoting the Scripture means that I am to be more
believed than someone else; but I quote you the Scripture, rather
refer you to the Scripture, because whatever you see there you may
rely upon will never be disproved so long as you or your children or
anyone may live; and you may further depend upon the fact that not
one historical fact that the Bible has ever contained has ever yet
been disproved by any scientific discovery or by reason of anything
that has been disclosed to man through his own individual mind or
through the wisdom of the Lord which the Lord has allowed him to
But the Scripture says, ladies and gentlemen, that no country can
survive, or for a country to survive it is necessary that we keep
the wealth scattered among the people, that nothing should be held
permanently by any one person, and that 50 years seems to be the
year of jubilee in which all property would be scattered about and
returned to the sources from which it originally came, and every
seventh year debt should be remitted.
Those two things the Almighty said to be necessary -- I should say
He knew to be necessary, or else He would not have so prescribed
that the property would be kept among the general run of the people
and that everyone would continue to share in it; so that no one man
would get half of it and hand it down to a son, who takes half of
what was left, and that son hand it down to another one, who would
take half of what was left, until, like a snowball going downhill,
all of the snow was off of the ground except what the snowball had.
I believe that was the judgment and the view and the law of the
Lord, that we would have to distribute wealth every so often, in
order that there could not be people starving to death in a land of
plenty, as there is in America today. We have in American today more
wealth, more goods, more food, more clothing, more houses than we
have ever had. We have everything in abundance here. We have the
farm problem, my friends, because we have too much cotton, because
we have too much wheat, and have too much corn, and too much
We have a home-loan problem because we have too many houses, and yet
nobody can buy them and live in them.
We have trouble, my friends, in the country, because we have too
much money owing, the greatest indebtedness that has ever been given
to civilization, where it has been shown that we are incapable of
distributing to the actual things that are here, because the people
have not money enough to supply themselves with them, and because
the greed of a few men is such that they think it is necessary that
they own everything, and their pleasure consists in the starvation
of the masses, and in their possessing things they cannot use, and
their children cannot use, but who bask in the splendor of sunlight
and wealth, casting darkness and despair and impressing it on
"So, therefore," said the Lord, in effect, "if you see these things
that now have occurred and exist in this and other countries, there
must be a constant scattering of wealth in any country if this
country is to survive."
"Then," said the Lord, in effect, "every seventh year there shall be
a remission of debts; there will be no debts after 7 years." That
was the law.
Now, let us take America today. We have in American today, ladies
and gentlemen, $272,000,000,000 of debt. Two hundred and seventy-two
thousand millions of dollars of debts are owed by the various people
of this country today. Why, my friends, that cannot be paid. It is
not possible for that kind of debt to be paid.
The entire currency of the United States is only $6,000,000,000.
That is all of the money that we have got in America today. All the
actual money you have got in all of your banks, all that you have
got in the Government Treasury, is $6,000,000,000; and if you took
all that money and paid it out today you would still owe
$266,000,000,000; and if you took all that money and paid again you
would still owe $260,000,000,000; and if you took it, my friends, 20
times and paid it you would still owe $150,000,000,000.
You would have to have 45 times the entire money supply of the
United States today to pay the debts of the people of America, and
then they would just have to start out from scratch, without a dime
to go on with.
So, my friends, it is impossible to pay all of these debts, and you
might as well find out that it cannot be done. The United States
Supreme Court has definitely found out that it could not be done,
because, in a Minnesota case, it held that when a State has
postponed the evil day of collecting a debt it was a valid and
constitutional exercise of legislative power.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, if I may proceed to give you some other
words that I think you can understand -- I am not going to belabor
you by quoting tonight -- I am going to tell you what the wise men
of all ages and all times, down even to the present day, have all
said: That you must keep the wealth of the country scattered, and
you must limit the amount that any one man can own. You cannot let
any man own $300,000,000,000 or $400,000,000,000. If you do, one man
can own all of the wealth that they United States has in it.
Now, my friends, if you were off on an island where there were 100
lunches, you could not let one man eat up the hundred lunches, or
take the hundred lunches and not let anybody else eat any of them.
If you did, there would not be anything else for the balance of the
people to consume.
So, we have in America today, my friends, a condition by which about
10 men dominate the means of activity in at least 85 percent of the
activities that you own. They either own directly everything or they
have got some kind of mortgage on it, with a very small percentage
to be excepted. They own the banks, they own the steel mills, they
own the railroads, they own the bonds, they own the mortgages, they
own the stores, and they have chained the country from one end to
the other, until there is not any kind of business that a small,
independent man could go into today and make a living, and there is
not any kind of business that an independent man can go into and
make any money to buy an automobile with; and they have finally and
gradually and steadily eliminated everybody from the fields in which
there is a living to be made, and still they have got little enough
sense to think they ought to be able to get more business out of it
If you reduce a man to the point where he is starving to death and
bleeding and dying, how do you expect that man to get hold of any
money to spend with you? It is not possible. Then, ladies and
gentlemen, how do you expect people to live, when the wherewith
cannot be had by the people?
In the beginning I quoted from the Scriptures. I hope you will
understand that I am not quoting Scripture to convince you of my
goodness personally, because that is a thing between me and my
Maker, that is something as to how I stand with my Maker and as to
how you stand with your Maker. That is not concerned with this
issue, except and unless there are those of you who would be so good
as to pray for the souls of some of us. But the Lord gave his law,
and in the Book of James they said so, that the rich should weep and
howl for the miseries that had come upon them; and, therefore, it
was written that when the rich hold goods they could not use and
could not consume, you will inflict punishment on them, and nothing
but days of woe ahead of them.
Then we have heard of the great Greek philosopher, Socrates, and the
greater Greek philosopher, Plato, and we have read the dialog
between Plato and Socrates, in which one said that great riches
brought on great poverty, and would be destructive of a country.
Read what they said. Read what Plato said; that you must not let any
one man be too poor, and you must not let any one man be too rich;
that the same mill that grinds out the extra rich is the mill that
will grind out the extra poor, because, in order that the extra rich
can become so affluent, they must necessarily take more of what
ordinarily would belong to the average man.
It is a very simple process of mathematics that you do not have to
study, and that no one is going to discuss with you.
So that was the view of Socrates and Plato. That was the view of the
English statesmen. That was the view of American statesmen. That was
the view of American statesmen like Daniel Webster, Thomas
Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, William Jennings Bryan, and Theodore
Roosevelt, and even as late as Herbert Hoover and Franklin D.
Both of these men, Mr. Hoover and Mr. Roosevelt, came out and said
there had to be a decentralization of wealth, but neither one of
them did anything about it. But, nevertheless, they recognized the
principle. The fact that neither one of them ever did anything about
it is their own problem that I am not undertaking to criticize; but
had Mr. Hoover carried out what he says ought to be done, he would
be retiring from the President's office, very probably, 3 years from
now, instead of 1 year ago; and had Mr. Roosevelt proceeded along
the lines that he stated were necessary for the decentralization of
wealth, he would have gone, my friends, a long way already, and
within a few months he would have probably reached a solution of all
of the problems that afflict this country.
But I wish to warn you now that nothing that has been done up to
this date has taken one dime away from these big-fortune holders;
they own just as much as they did, and probably a little bit more;
they hold just as many of the debts of the common people as they
ever held, and probably a little bit more; and unless we, my
friends, are going to give the people of this country a fair shake
of the dice, by which they will all get something out of the funds
of this land, there is not a chance on the topside of this God's
eternal earth by which we can rescue this country and rescue the
people of this country.
It is necessary to save the Government of the country, but is much
more necessary to save the people of America. We love this country.
We love this Government. It is a religion, I say. It is a kind of
religion people have read of when women, in the name of religion,
would take their infant babes and throw them into the burning flame,
where they would be instantly devoured by the all-consuming fire, in
days gone by; and there probably are some people of the world even
today, who, in the name of religion, throw their tear-dimmed eyes
into the sad faces of their fathers and mothers, who cannot given
them food and clothing they both needed, and which is necessary to
sustain them, and that goes on day after day, and night after night,
when day gets into darkness and blackness, knowing those children
would arise in the morning without being fed, and probably to bed at
night without being fed.
Yet in the name of our Government, and all alone, those people
undertake and strive as hard as they can to keep a good government
alive, and how long they can stand that no one knows. If I were in
their place tonight, the place where millions are, I hope that I
would have what I might say -- I cannot give you the word to express
the kind of fortitude they have; that is the word -- I hope that I
might have the fortitude to praise and honor my Government that had
allowed me here in this land, where there is too much to eat and too
much to wear, to starve in order that a handful of men can have so
much more than they can ever eat or they can ever wear.
Now, we have organized a society, and we call it "Share Our Wealth
Society," a society with the motto "every man a king."
Every man a king, so there would be no such thing as a man or woman
who did not have the necessities of life, who would not be dependent
upon the whims and caprices and ipsi dixit of the financial martyrs
for a living. What do we propose by this society? We propose to
limit the wealth of big men in the country. There is an average of
$15,000 in wealth to every family in America. That is right here
We do not propose to divide it up equally. We do not propose a
division of wealth, but we propose to limit poverty that we will
allow to be inflicted upon any man's family. We will not say we are
going to try to guarantee any equality, or $15,000 to families. No;
but we do say that one third of the average is low enough for any
one family to hold, that there should be a guaranty of a family
wealth of around $5,000; enough for a home, and automobile, a radio,
and the ordinary conveniences, and the opportunity to educate their
children; a fair share of the income of this land thereafter to that
family so there will be no such thing as merely the select to have
those things, and so there will be no such thing as a family living
in poverty and distress.
We have to limit fortunes. Our present plan is that we will allow no
one man to own more than $50,000,000. We think that with that limit
we will be able to carry out the balance of the program. It may be
necessary that we limit it to less than $50,000,000. It may be
necessary, in working out of the plans, that no man's fortune would
be more than $10,000,000 or $15,000,000. But be that as it may, it
will still be more than any one man, or any one man and his children
and their children, will be able to spend in their lifetimes; and it
is not necessary or reasonable to have wealth piled up beyond that
point where we cannot prevent poverty among the masses.
Another thing we propose is old-age pension of $30 a month for
everyone that is 60 years old. Now, we do not give this pension to a
man making $1,000 a year, and we do not give it to him if he has
$10,000 in property, but outside of that we do.
We will limit hours of work. There is not any necessity of having
over-production. I think all you have got to do, ladies and
gentlemen, is just limit the hours of work to such an extent as
people will work only so long as is necessary to produce enough for
all of the people to have what they need. Why, ladies and gentleman,
let us say that all of these labor-saving devices reduce hours down
to where you do not have to work but 4 hours a day; that is enough
for these people, and then praise be the name of the Lord, if it
gets that good. Let it be good and not a curse, and then we will
have 5 hours a day and 5 days a week, or even less that that, and we
might give a man a whole month off during a year, or give him 2
months; and we might do what other countries have seen fit to do,
and what I did in Louisiana, by having schools by which adults could
go back and learn the things that have been discovered since they
went to school.
We will not have any trouble taking care of the agricultural
situation. All you have to do is balance your production with your
consumption. You simply have to abandon a particular crop that you
have too much of, and all you have to do is store the surplus for
the next year, and the Government will take it over. When you have
good crops in the area in which the crops that have been planted are
sufficient for another year, put in your public works in the
particular year when you do not need to raise any more, and by that
means you get everybody employed. When the Government has enough of
any particular crop to take care of all of the people, that will be
all that is necessary; and in order to do all of this, our taxation
is going to be to take the billion-dollar fortunes and strip them
down to frying size, not to exceed $50,000,000, and it is necessary
to come to $10,000,000, we will come to $10,000,000. We have worked
the proposition out to guarantee a limit upon property (and no man
will own less than one third the average), and guarantee a reduction
of fortunes and a reduction of hours to spread wealth throughout
this country. We would care for the old people above 60 and take
them away from this thriving industry and given them a chance to
enjoy the necessities and live in ease, and thereby lift from the
market the labor which would probably create a surplus of
Those are the things we propose to do. "Every man a king." Every man
to eat when there is something to eat; all to wear something when
there is something to wear. That makes us all sovereign.
You cannot solve these things through these various and sundry
alphabetical codes. You can have the N.R.A. and P.W.A. and C.W.A.
and the U.U.G. and G.I.N. and any other kind of "dadgummed" lettered
code. You can wait until doomsday and see 25 more alphabets, but
that is not going to solve this proposition. Why hide? Why quibble?
You know what the trouble is. The man that says he does not know
what the trouble is just hiding his face to keep from seeing the
God told you what the trouble was. The philosophers told you what
the trouble was; and when you have a country where one man owns more
than 100,000 people, or a million people, and when you have a
country where there are four men, as in America, that have got more
control over things than all the 120,000,000 people together, you
know what the trouble is.
We had these great incomes in this country; but the farmer, who
plowed from sunup to sundown, who labored here from sunup to sundown
for 6 days a week, wound up at the end of the with practically
And we ought to take care of the veterans of the wars in this
program. That is a small matter. Suppose it does cost a billion
dollars a year -- that means that the money will be scattered
throughout this country. We ought to pay them a bonus. We can do it.
We ought to take care of every single one of the sick and disabled
veterans. I do not care whether a man got sick on the battlefield or
did not; every man that wore the uniform of this country is entitled
to be taken care of, and there is money enough to do it; and we need
to spread the wealth of the country, which you did not do in what
you call the N.R.A.
If the N.R.A. has done any good, I can put it all in my eye without
having it hurt. All I can see that N.R.A. has done is to put the
little man out of business -- the little merchant in his store, the
little Dago that is running a fruit stand, or the Greek shoe-shining
stand, who has to take hold of a code of 275 pages and study with a
spirit level and compass and looking-glass; he has to hire a
Philadelphia lawyer to tell him what is in the code; and by the time
he learns what the code is, he is in jail or out of business; and
they have got a chain code system that has already put him out of
business. The N.R.A. is not worth anything, and I said so when they
put it through.
Now, my friends, we have got to hit the root with the axe.
Centralized power in the hands of a few, with centralized credit in
the hands of a few, is the trouble.
Get together in your community tonight or tomorrow and organize one
of our Share Our Wealth societies. If you do not understand it,
write me and let me send you the platform; let me give you the proof
This is Huey P. Long talking, United States Senator, Washington,
D.C. Write me and let me send you the data on this proposition.
Enroll with us. Let us make known to the people what we are going to
do. I will send you a button, if I have got enough of them left. We
have got a little button that some of our friends designed, with our
message around the rim of the button, and in the center "Every man a
king." Many thousands of them are meeting through the United States,
and every day we are getting hundreds and hundreds of letters. Share
Our Wealth societies are now being organized, and people have it
within their power to relieve themselves from this terrible
Look at what the Mayo brothers announced this week, these greatest
scientists of all the world today, who are entitled to have more
money than all the Morgans and the Rockefellers, or anyone else, and
yet the Mayos turn back their big fortunes to be used for treating
the sick, and said they did not want to lay up fortunes in this
earth, but wanted to turn them back where they would do some good;
but the other big capitalists are not willing to do that, are not
willing to do what these men, 10 times more worthy, have already
done, and it is going to take a law to require them to do it.
Organize your Share Our Wealth Society and get your people to meet
with you, and make known your wishes to your Senators and
Representatives in Congress.
Now, my friends, I am going to stop. I thank you for this
opportunity to talk to you. I am having to talk under the auspices
and by the grace and permission of the National Broadcasting System
tonight, and they are letting me talk free. If I had the money, and
I wish I had the money, I would like to talk to you more often on
this line, but I have not got it, and I cannot expect these people
to give it to me free except on some rare instance. But, my friends,
I hope to have the opportunity to talk with you, and I am writing to
you, and I hope that you will get up and help in the work, because
the resolution and bills are before Congress, and we hope to have
your help in getting together and organizing your Share Our Wealth
Now, that I have but a minute left, I want to say that I suppose my
family is listening in on the radio in New Orleans, and I will say
to my wife and three children that I am entirely well and hope to be
home before many more days, and I hope they have listened to my
speech tonight, and I wish them and all their neighbors and friends
everything good that may be had.
I thank you, my friends, for your kind attention, and I hope you
will enroll with us, take care of your own work in the work of this
Government, and share or help in our Share Our Wealth society.
I thank you.