All the King’s Men describes the rise and fall of Willie Stark, a political boss and governor of an unnamed southern state, during the late 1920s and early 1930s. The state is a thinly disguised Louisiana, and readers and critics have drawn inevitable parallels between Stark and Huey Long, governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932. Enormously popular with his poor white constituency-which was suffering terribly from economic havoc wreaked by the Great Depression-Long was fiercely dedicated to improving the standard of living in rural Louisiana through tax reform, expansion of paved roads, construction of bridges, and increased support for charity hospitals. But he achieved these ends through any means possible, indiscriminately using his vast power to manipulate any political situation to his advantage. After his election to the U.S. Senate, Long remained governor until his hand-picked successor could assume the governorship. He essentially served as both Louisiana governor and a U.S. senator until 1935, when he was gunned down by an assassin in the presence of numerous bodyguards.

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