By the end of this department, you will be able to:
- Explain Herbert Hoover’due south responses to the Dandy Depression and how they reflected his political philosophy
- Identify the local, city, and state efforts to combat the Great Depression
- Analyze the frustration and acrimony that a bulk of Americans directed at Herbert Hoover
President Hoover was unprepared for the telescopic of the depression crisis, and his limited response did not begin to help the millions of Americans in demand. The steps he took were very much in keeping with his philosophy of limited regime, a philosophy that many had shared with him until the upheavals of the Great Depression made information technology clear that a more straight government response was required. But Hoover was stubborn in his refusal to give “handouts,” as he saw direct government assistance. He chosen for a spirit of volunteerism amid America’s businesses, asking them to keep workers employed, and he exhorted the American people to tighten their belts and make practise in the spirit of “rugged individualism.” While Hoover’south philosophy and his appeal to the state were very much in keeping with his character, it was not plenty to continue the economy from plummeting further into economic anarchy.
The steps Hoover did ultimately take were too little, likewise late. He created programs for putting people back to work and helping beleaguered local and country charities with aid. But the programs were small in calibration and highly specific as to who could benefit, and they only touched a small percentage of those in need. Every bit the situation worsened, the public grew increasingly unhappy with Hoover. He left office with i of the lowest approval ratings of any president in history.
THE INITIAL REACTION
In the immediate aftermath of Blackness Tuesday, Hoover sought to reassure Americans that all was well. Reading his words afterwards the fact, it is easy to notice fault. In 1929 he said, “Whatever lack of confidence in the economic future or the strength of business in the U.s.a. is foolish.” In 1930, he stated, “The worst is behind us.” In 1931, he pledged federal aid should he ever witness starvation in the state; but as of that date, he had nonetheless to run into such need in America, despite the very real evidence that children and the elderly were starving to death. Nevertheless Hoover was neither intentionally blind nor unsympathetic. He simply held fast to a belief organisation that did not alter equally the realities of the Great Depression set in.
Hoover believed strongly in the ethos of
American individualism: that hard work brought its own rewards. His life story testified to that belief. Hoover was born into poverty, made his way through college at Stanford University, and eventually made his fortune equally an engineer. This experience, besides as his extensive travels in China and throughout Europe, shaped his central conviction that the very beingness of American civilisation depended upon the moral fiber of its citizens, as evidenced by their ability to overcome all hardships through individual effort and resolve. The idea of government handouts to Americans was repellant to him. Whereas Europeans might need assistance, such as his hunger relief work in Belgium during and after World State of war I, he believed the American graphic symbol to be unlike. In a 1931 radio accost, he said, “The spread of government destroys initiative and thus destroys grapheme.”
Likewise, Hoover was not completely unaware of the potential harm that wild stock speculation might create if left unchecked. As secretary of commerce, Hoover often warned President Coolidge of the dangers that such speculation engendered. In the weeks before his inauguration, he offered many interviews to newspapers and magazines, urging Americans to curtail their rampant stock investments, and even encouraged the Federal Reserve to heighten the discount rate to make it more costly for local banks to lend money to potential speculators. However, fearful of creating a panic, Hoover never issued a stern warning to discourage Americans from such investments. Neither Hoover, nor any other political leader of that day, ever gave serious thought to outright government regulation of the stock market place. This was even true in his personal choices, as Hoover often lamented poor stock advice he had in one case offered to a friend. When the stock nose-dived, Hoover bought the shares from his friend to assuage his guilt, vowing never once again to advise anyone on matters of investment.
In keeping with these principles, Hoover’s response to the crash focused on two very common American traditions: He asked individuals to tighten their belts and work harder, and he asked the concern community to voluntarily assistance sustain the economy past retaining workers and continuing product. He immediately summoned a briefing of leading industrialists to encounter in Washington, DC, urging them to maintain their current wages while America rode out this brief economic panic. The crash, he bodacious business organisation leaders, was not office of a greater downturn; they had nothing to worry about. Similar meetings with utility companies and railroad executives elicited promises for billions of dollars in new structure projects, while labor leaders agreed to withhold demands for wage increases and workers connected to labor. Hoover as well persuaded Congress to pass a $160 million tax cut to eternalize American incomes, leading many to conclude that the president was doing all he could to stem the tide of the panic. In Apr 1930, the
New York Times
editorial board concluded that “No one in his identify could have done more.”
Nevertheless, these modest steps were not enough. Past late 1931, when it became clear that the economy would not amend on its own, Hoover recognized the need for some regime intervention. He created the President’south Emergency Committee for Employment (PECE), later renamed the President’s Organisation of Unemployment Relief (POUR). In keeping with Hoover’south distaste of what he viewed every bit handouts, this organisation did
provide directly federal relief to people in need. Instead, information technology assisted state and private relief agencies, such as the Ruby-red Cross, Conservancy Army, YMCA, and Community Chest. Hoover besides strongly urged people of means to donate funds to assist the poor, and he himself gave meaning private donations to worthy causes. But these private efforts could non alleviate the widespread furnishings of poverty.
Congress pushed for a more than direct government response to the hardship. In 1930–1931, information technology attempted to pass a $threescore million pecker to provide relief to drought victims past allowing them access to food, fertilizer, and animal feed. Hoover stood fast in his refusal to provide nutrient, resisting any element of directly relief. The last neb of $47 million provided for everything
food but did non come close to fairly addressing the crisis. Once again in 1931, Congress proposed the Federal Emergency Relief Pecker, which would have provided $375 million to states to aid provide nutrient, vesture, and shelter to the homeless. Merely Hoover opposed the beak, stating that it ruined the rest of ability between states and the federal regime, and in Feb 1932, it was defeated by fourteen votes.
However, the president’s determined opposition to straight-relief federal government programs should not exist viewed as one of indifference or uncaring toward the suffering American people. His personal sympathy for those in demand was boundless. Hoover was one of only ii presidents to reject his bacon for the office he held. Throughout the Cracking Low, he donated an average of $25,000 annually to various relief organizations to assist in their efforts. Furthermore, he helped to raise $500,000 in private funds to back up the White House Conference on Child Health and Welfare in 1930. Rather than indifference or heartlessness, Hoover’south steadfast adherence to a philosophy of individualism as the path toward long-term American recovery explained many of his policy decisions. “A voluntary deed,” he repeatedly commented, “is infinitely more precious to our national ideal and spirit than a grand-fold poured from the Treasury.”
Equally weather condition worsened, nevertheless, Hoover somewhen relaxed his opposition to federal relief and formed the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) in 1932, in office because it was an election yr and Hoover hoped to keep his function. Although not a form of direct relief to the American people in greatest need, the RFC was much larger in telescopic than any preceding effort, setting bated $2 billion in taxpayer coin to rescue banks, credit unions, and insurance companies. The goal was to boost confidence in the nation’due south financial institutions past ensuring that they were on solid basis. This model was flawed on a number of levels. Start, the program only lent money to banks with sufficient collateral, which meant that most of the aid went to large banks. In fact, of the first $61 one thousand thousand loaned, $41 meg went to just three banks. Modest town and rural banks got almost zilch. Furthermore, at this time, confidence in financial institutions was not the primary concern of nigh Americans. They needed food and jobs. Many had no money to put into the banks, no matter how confident they were that the banks were safe.
Hoover’s other try at federal aid also occurred in 1932, when he endorsed a bill past Senator Robert Wagner of New York. This was the Emergency Relief and Construction Act. This act authorized the RFC to aggrandize across loans to financial institutions and allotted $ane.5 billion to states to fund local public works projects. This plan failed to deliver the kind of help needed, withal, as Hoover severely limited the types of projects it could fund to those that were ultimately self-paying (such as price bridges and public housing) and those that required skilled workers. While well intended, these programs maintained the status quo, and there was still no directly federal relief to the individuals who so badly needed it.
PUBLIC REACTION TO HOOVER
Hoover’s steadfast resistance to government aid cost him the reelection and has placed him squarely at the forefront of the nigh unpopular presidents, according to public stance, in modern American history. His name became synonymous with the poverty of the era: “Hoovervilles” became the common name for homeless shantytowns and “Hoover blankets” for the newspapers that the homeless used to keep warm. A “Hoover flag” was a pants pocket—empty of all money—turned inside out. Past the 1932 election, hitchhikers held up signs reading: “If you don’t give me a ride, I’ll vote for Hoover.” Americans did non necessarily believe that Hoover caused the Great Depression. Their anger stemmed instead from what appeared to be a willful refusal to assist regular citizens with direct aid that might allow them to recover from the crisis.
FRUSTRATION AND PROTEST: A BAD Situation GROWS WORSE FOR HOOVER
Desperation and frustration often create emotional responses, and the Keen Depression was no exception. Throughout 1931–1932, companies trying to stay afloat sharply cut worker wages, and, in response, workers protested in increasingly bitter strikes. As the Depression unfolded, over 80 percent of automotive workers lost their jobs. Even the typically prosperous Ford Motor Company laid off two-thirds of its workforce.
In 1932, a major strike at the Ford Motor Company factory almost Detroit resulted in over sixty injuries and four deaths. Often referred to as the
Ford Hunger March, the event unfolded as a planned demonstration among unemployed Ford workers who, to protest their drastic situation, marched nine miles from Detroit to the company’due south River Rouge found in Dearborn. At the Dearborn city limits, local police launched tear gas at the roughly three grand protestors, who responded by throwing stones and clods of dirt. When they finally reached the gates of the plant, protestors faced more police and firemen, as well as private security guards. As the firemen turned hoses onto the protestors, the police and security guards opened burn down. In addition to those killed and injured, police arrested fifty protestors. One week later, sixty thousand mourners attended the public funerals of the four victims of what many protesters labeled constabulary brutality. The event set the tone for worsening labor relations in the U.S.
Farmers also organized and protested, oftentimes violently. The most notable example was the Subcontract Vacation Clan. Led by Milo Reno, this organization held significant sway among farmers in Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Dakotas. Although they never comprised a bulk of farmers in any of these states, their public actions drew press attending nationwide. Amid their demands, the clan sought a federal government plan to set agricultural prices artificially high plenty to encompass the farmers’ costs, every bit well equally a government commitment to sell any farm surpluses on the earth market. To achieve their goals, the grouping chosen for
farm holidays, during which farmers would neither sell their produce nor purchase whatever other goods until the government met their demands. However, the greatest strength of the association came from the unexpected and seldom-planned actions of its members, which included barricading roads into markets, attacking nonmember farmers, and destroying their produce. Some members even raided minor town stores, destroying produce on the shelves. Members also engaged in “penny auctions,” bidding pennies on foreclosed farm land and threatening any potential buyers with bodily harm if they competed in the auction. Once they won the sale, the association returned the land to the original possessor. In Iowa, farmers threatened to hang a local judge if he signed whatever more farm foreclosures. At least one death occurred as a direct result of these protests before they waned post-obit the ballot of Franklin Roosevelt.
One of the most notable protest movements occurred toward the end of Hoover’s presidency and centered on the Bonus Expeditionary Forcefulness, or
Bonus Regular army, in the spring of 1932. In this protest, approximately fifteen k Globe War I veterans marched on Washington to need early payment of their veteran bonuses, which were not due to be paid until 1945. The group camped out in vacant federal buildings and prepare camps in Anacostia Flats nigh the Capitol edifice.
Many veterans remained in the city in protest for nearly two months, although the U.S. Senate officially rejected their asking in July. Past the middle of that month, Hoover wanted them gone. He ordered the law to empty the buildings and clear out the camps, and in the exchange that followed, police fired into the crowd, killing ii veterans. Fearing an armed uprising, Hoover and then ordered General Douglas MacArthur, along with his aides, Dwight Eisenhower and George Patton, to forcibly remove the veterans from Anacostia Flats. The ensuing raid proved catastrophic, as the military machine burned down the shantytown and injured dozens of people, including a twelve-week-former baby who was killed when accidentally struck past a tear gas canister.
As Americans bore witness to photographs and newsreels of the U.S. Army forcibly removing veterans, Hoover’s popularity plummeted fifty-fifty farther. By the summer of 1932, he was largely a defeated man. His pessimism and failure mirrored that of the nation’southward citizens. America was a country in desperate need: in need of a charismatic leader to restore public confidence besides equally provide concrete solutions to pull the economic system out of the Great Depression.
Whether he truly believed it or simply thought the American people wanted to hear it, Hoover continued to land publicly that the country was getting dorsum on track. Listen as he speaks well-nigh the “Success of Recovery” at a entrada end in Detroit, Michigan on October 22, 1932.
President Hoover’s deeply held philosophy of American individualism, which he maintained despite extraordinary economical circumstances, made him particularly unsuited to deal with the crisis of the Great Depression. He greatly resisted regime intervention, because information technology a path to the downfall of American greatness. His initial response of asking Americans to find their ain paths to recovery and seeking voluntary business organization measures to stimulate the economic system could not stem the tide of the Depression. Ultimately, Hoover did create some federal relief programs, such as the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), which sought to boost public confidence in financial institutions by ensuring that they were on solid basis. When this measure did little to help impoverished individuals, he signed the Emergency Relief Act, which allowed the RFC to invest in local public works projects. But fifty-fifty this was too trivial, too late. The severe limits on the types of projects funded and blazon of workers used meant that virtually Americans saw no do good.
The American public ultimately responded with anger and protest to Hoover’s credible inability to create solutions. Protests ranged from factory strikes to farm riots, culminating in the notorious Bonus Army protest in the spring of 1932. Veterans from World War I lobbied to receive their bonuses immediately, rather than waiting until 1945. The government denied them, and in the ensuing chaos, Hoover chosen in the war machine to disrupt the protest. The violence of this act was the final blow for Hoover, whose popularity was already at an all-fourth dimension low.
- What attempts did Hoover make to offer federal relief? How would you lot evaluate the success or failure of these programs?
Answer to Review Question
- Hoover formed the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) in 1932. This represented a significant effort, although it did not provide any directly help to needy Americans. The RFC set aside $2 billion in taxpayer money to rescue banks, credit unions, and insurance companies, hoping to promote Americans’ confidence in financial institutions. Yet, past lending money only to banks with sufficient collateral, he ensured that most of the recipients of the aid were large banks. Additionally, most Americans at this fourth dimension did non have avails to place into banks, however confident they may accept felt. In 1932, Hoover too endorsed the Emergency Relief and Construction Human activity, which allotted $one.5 billion to states to fund local public works projects. Hoover’s limitations upon the types of projects that could receive funding and the types of workers who could participate, still, express the program’due south utility.
American individualismthe conventionalities, strongly held by Herbert Hoover and others, that difficult work and individual effort, absent-minded authorities interference, comprised the formula for success in the U.S.
Bonus Armya grouping of World State of war I veterans and affiliated groups who marched to Washington in 1932 to demand their war bonuses early, only to exist refused and forcibly removed by the U.S. Regular army
What Happened on Black Tuesday Apex
Originally posted 2022-08-05 23:24:10.