This week you read Lamar White’s article and obituary “The Epic Lives of Edwin W. Edwards.” I would like you to consider two issues as your write an essay of 600 to 750 words that responds to that article and the questions below.
1. White suggests there are many things to admire about Edwin Edwards and his political career in Louisiana, especially as its governor. What are some of the qualities that Edwards had or things that he accomplished that were admirable?
2. While White recounts incidents in proximity to Edwards that involved taking payoffs while in government service, the author also emphasizes that “none of Edward’s convictions involved actions he had taken while in office or the misappropriation or theft of any public monies.” If this is true, does this mitigate his conviction for taking payoffs to help friends or associates acquire gambling licenses even though he was out of office at the time?
3. Like Huey Long, Edwin Edwards was one of the most consequential Louisiana politicians of the 20th century. Also like Long, Edwards’ political record contains incidents and activities that were both good and, if not bad, certainly ethically questionable. How do you — as a citizen or student of Louisiana — decide how to balance those good and bad qualities when making an evaluation of these two men and their service to the people of Louisiana?
The Epic Lives of Edwin W. Edwards, 1927-2021
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