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Great Depression: Hoover Fails

Cartoon Reflects Public's Dislike of Hoover

HOOVERVILLE, 1933. - 'An unfortunate wait.' Cartoon depiction of the wait for President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt to replace the lame duck Herbert Hoover.
CARTOON: HOOVERVILLE, 1933. - 'An Unfortunate Wait.' Cartoon Depiction Of The Wait For President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt To Replace The Lame Duck Herbert Hoover. Drawing, January 1933. Fine Art. Encyclopædia Britannica Image Quest. Web. 13 Jan 2012

Hoover: Confidence in the Economy

In his 1928 campaign speech, Republican president-elect Herbert Hoover supported "rugged individualism."

Considered a humanitarian for years prior to his presidency, Hoover believed in "volunteerism" within communities and asked the private sector to come forth and help with relief for the poor and disadvantage.

Early in his administration Hoover followed a "hands-off" policy despite America’s looming economic collapse.

Hoover said that help for the individual American should come from the local and state governments and charity organizations, not through federal legislative action.

In 1929 Congress passed Hoover’s Agricultural Marketing Act that could help farmers and give a farm board powers in the commodities market so to keep prices from falling.  It failed.

Then in 1930 in hopes of helping Americans, Congress passed the Smoot–Hawley Tariff which Hoover endorsed. Its intent was to raise tariffs on imported goods, thereby protecting farmers against foreign imports. It backfired.

Europe’s inability to trade with the United States affected the import-export business. “The tariff engulfed both continents in a circle of poverty and despair.”
A Biographical Dictionary of Presidents. Neil A. Hamilton. 2nd ed. c. 2005

Remaining ever hopeful, Hoover in Oct. 1931, encouraged major banks to form the National Credit Corporation (NCC) that would loan to other banks that were failing. It was short-lived.

That same month Hoover gave a radio address to the nation on Unemployment Relief.

By 1932 President Hoover realized that he had to change his tactics. His volunteer measures were too little too late.


Too Little ... Too Late ... for Hoover

By 1932 President Hoover realized that he had to change his tactics.

In February 1932, Hoover created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) "to promote economic recovery by providing financing for banks, life insurance companies, railroads, and farm mortgage associations."
"By helping the top levels, he hoped the financing would "'trickle-down' to workers and unemployed through higher wages and new jobs."
In June 1932 Hoover signed the Revenue Act which through tax increases was to shift some of the country's burden onto the wealthy.

Between May-July 1932, Americans witnessed how Hoover mishandled a senstive issue concerning World War I vets: the Bonus Army.

Hoover ordered General Douglas MacArthur to remove the veterans from government buildings. Even Major George S. Patton was involved.

The entire Bonus Army mishandling spelled defeat for Hoover and a future presidental win for Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Hoover's Good Decision: The Hoover Dam

'The challenge was to harness the country's wildest river--the colorado--to bring water, power, and people to the southwest."
PBS, Hoover Dam, an American Experience

In 1922 Hoover negotiated a contract with the seven states affected by the proposed dam...contract cleared...Congress balked... but signed in 1929...bureau came up with a way to pay for it: electricity--by selling the dam's hydroelectric power, the dam would fuel the growth of farms and towns in the southwest.'"
PBS, Hoover Dam, an American Experience

In 1935 President Roosevelt dedicated the dam two years ahead of schedule.