Objectives 1. Explain why President Hoover opposed government sponsored direct relief for need individuals during the Great Depression. 2. Outline the Hoover administration’s attempts to solve the economic problems of the depression, and analyze the success of these efforts. 3. Relate how radicals and veterans responded to President Hoover’s policies. 4. Analyze why Franklin D. Roosevelt was such a popular candidate in the 1932 election.
Hoover’s Philosophy The people became frustrated with the leadership of the government and President Hoover. Hoover believed that the government if they became involved it would create a bureaucracy and increase the federal budget. He also thought that the American people wouldn’t take relief/charity. Many Americans thought the government should give direct relief by providing food, clothing, shelter, and money.
1931: Federal Emergency Relief Board: Robert La Follette Jr. and Edward Costigan introduced a bill to establish a board to offer states direct relief for the unemployed. Hoover refused to sign the bill which would have given $375 million dollars to the states. Rugged individualism: success comes through individual effort and private enterprise. Hoover believed in character building experiences, local charities, religious organizations, and communities could do a better job providing for the people then the federal government.
Encouraging Voluntarism Hoover wasn’t alone in the belief that voluntarism was better then government involvement. Many American supported this idea, but as the depression continued local resources were not going to be enough. 1930: President’s Committee for Unemployment Relief was established by Hoover to assist in local relief efforts. The committee encouraged other’s to give donations to private relief organizations. Hoover didn’t reverse his policies on direct federal aid.
Boosting the Economy Andrew Mellon: Born in Pennsylvania in 1855, Andrew Mellon worked in the family bank and became its president in 1902. A renowned financier, Mellon invested in industries as varied as oil, aluminum, and coal, eventually building one of the largest fortunes in America. In 1921 Warren Harding appointed him secretary of the Treasury. Mellon remained popular until the Great Depression, when many Americans blamed him for enacting policies that helped cause the downturn.
Mellon believed that American businesses should deal with the economic crisis. President Hoover rejected the advice of Mellon. Hoover believed something needed to be done to stimulate the economy. The National Business Survey Conference and U.S. Chamber of Commerce were behind President Hoover idea of maintaining predepression levels of production, employment, and wages. March 7, 1930: Hoover issued an upbeat message about economic confidence. [ Every time the Hoover administration spoke the market fell.]
The Hoover Administration and the Great Depression Public-works programs: poured money into public construction projects such as the Boulder [Hoover] Dam; failed to affect the entrenched depression. Agricultural efforts: created the Federal Farm Board; made loans, established cooperative, and bought surplus goods; helped some farmers take advantage of cooperatives and avoid foreclosure, but failed to end the farm crisis. Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC): loaned taxpayer money to stabilize industries; helped some companies avoid bankruptcy; used money for businesses, not people.
Government Activism Until the end of the Depression the policies of the Hoover administration failed. The exceptions were the Home Loan Bank Act and the public works. The executive and legislative branches realized that the federal government needed to help the economy in times of crisis Secretary of Treasury: Andrew Mellon, maintained a laissez-faire economy [opposing governmental interference in economic affairs]
Rumblings of Discontent The Socialist and Communist Party put down the idea of capitalism and how it contributed to the depression. 1931: The Communist Party supplied the legal defense for nine African American young men accused of rape. They charged racial injustice. By 1950 nine were released from jail.
The Bonus Army: May, 1932 more than 10,000 World War I veterans and their families marched on Washington D.C. to support the bill before Congress to allow veterans to receive pensions early. The veterans were allowed to stay in empty government buildings and camp along the Potomac River. Congress rejected the bill, some demonstrators remained and refused to leave. Violence occurred and President Hoover ordered the army to chase away the demonstrators. General Douglas MacArthur got rid of the veterans by burning down the shacks and troops chased away the veterans. Americans were angry with Hoover and the government for their treatment of the veterans.
The Election of 1932 The Republicans nominated Hoover again for the president. The Democrats chose New York governor Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt chose a life of service instead of the influence of wealth. Eleanor Roosevelt his wife was going to be one of his best assets. His wife helped him overcome polio he contacted in 1921.
A change in leadership 1932: The campaign was centered around the depression. Roosevelt campaigned around Hoover’s record and equal distribution of wealth. The Democrats gained control of Congress, as Roosevelt promised a “new deal.”