The America First Union Party, or simply the America First Party, is a political party in the United States that combines traditional populism with neo-capitalist modes of organization.
History and Influence
The America First Party was founded in 1934 by Senator Huey Long of Louisiana. After the defeat of the Democratic Party in the 1932 presidential election, Long decided to create his own party to support his growing "Share Our Wealth" program. With its support centered on the depressed agricultural regions of the South and Midwest, the America First Party calls for redistribution of wealth and social welfare, but within a strong centralized corporatist economic structure, controlled by a paternalistic economic and political elite.
Within the America First Party, in addition to Long, there are four other individuals who command authority within the organization. The first is Gerald Smith, a clergyman and leader for the "Share Our Wealth" program. The second is Father Charles Coughlin, a Catholic priest with a weekly radio program known for particularly racialist and anti-semitic beliefs. Next is William Dudley Pelley, who leads the more authoritarian and militaristic faction of the party and has often criticized Long for being too soft. Lastly, the popular and well known Charles Lindbergh represents the less influential democratic and moderate portions of the party.