ERIC Number: ED189660
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Nov
Reference Count: 0
The Analysis of Demagogic Discourse: Huey Long's "Every Man a King" Address.
Gaske, Paul C.
The characteristics of demagogic discourse and a methodology appropriate for its analysis can be illustrated by examining Huey Long's "Every Man a King" radio address on February 20, 1934. The demagogue is similar to the revered public figure in that both are mass leaders, charismatic, and heroic. But the demagogue elicits powerful antithetical emotional responses, championing a single cause. Demagogues and their issues become symbolically one idea, one driving force, as in the cases of Joseph McCarthy/The Red Menace and Huey Long/Share Our Wealth. Demagogic discourse typically follows a classic psychological/motivational pattern for persuasion, as outlined by Kenneth Burke. The four-stage development of demagogic discourse includes guilt, victimization, redemption, and salvation. Huey Long's skill in leading his audience through these four stages, given the state of the economy and the relationship between mind and heart, must account in part for the overwhelming success of his address. Much like the great religious leader, Long brought the promise of hope, redemption, and salvation to those most adversely affected by the depression. He created an identity for his followers through their membership in Share Our Wealth societies. As an articulator, Long not only created an identity for his supporters, but he was their mouthpiece, voicing their frustrations, hopes, and fears. (RL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Demagoguery; Long (Huey)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Speech Communication Association (Phoenix, AZ, November 19-23, 1977).