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President Hoover and the Great Depression

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Introduction

´╗┐President Hoover and the Great Depression I. Was Hoover inconsistent? A cursory examination of the Great Depression will inform us immediately the President Hoover's policies during the Depression did appear to be inconsistent. This often resulted in confused or startled interpretations of the government's designs by leading businessmen of the period, and it is indisputable that the effects of Hoover's presidency, certainly were not to cure America of its financial distress. However, sympathy is needed to understand Hoover's motivations. Although Hoover's government may have demonstrated unaccountable and inconsistent tendencies, Hoover himself would certainly have been consistent in his ideas. His main difficulty in employing these ideas, would have encompassed the political scene; he could not have contrived considerable alterations of government policy, without being acused of radical interventionism, which would have engendered the repugnance of the both the Republican party to which he belonged, and Republican voters. Indeed, Hoover had a distinct notion of what he intended to undertake - but he was all the while confronted by forces that hindered his undertaking them. IIa. Hoover's ideas It will be of good utility to illustrate Hoover's ideas in bullet-point format, which will enable them to be more easily digested and remembered. ...read more.

Middle

Hoover was induced to accept the need for direct relief, but only if administered by state governments, or by the private sector. Going farther would have entailed severe consequences. His opponents' disparagement of himself, and of his aims, would only be intensified by the evidence of conspicuous intervention; furthermore, Hoover's own idealogies conflicted with the construction of a welfare state. Hence, compelled by necessity and the force of his own convictions, yet withheld by detainments that he was incapable of overcoming, Hoover was only able to proceed a certain distance in the way of intervention. What he was able to accomplish, we will discover, was certainly not enough. III. What Hoover did It had long been established as Hoover's custom to encourage, but not to coerce, business leaders into agreement with his schemes. Among the first of Hoover's undertakings, was to persuade larger businesses not to renounce their employees, and not to reduce their wages, but to keep them as they were in spite of a plummeting market environment. His design and intention was to maintain purchasing power, since he believed that to kick-start the economy, there would need to be prevalent demand and consequent inflation; he initially introduced lower taxes to relieve disposable incomes, and his Agricultural Marketing Act afforded farmers a certain market with desirable prices. ...read more.

Conclusion

He initiated unexampled public work schemes, and his RFC (Reconstruction Finance Corporation) disseminated money across the nation, to sustain faltering banks and businesses. However, Hoover's actions have often been interpreted as insufficient. Hoover was only inclined to do what was necessarily to kick-start the economy; he then had faith that the fires of individualism would seize the American people, and the rest would be accomplished by their own independent enterprise and initiative, without the necessity of developing a welfare state. None of Hoover's ambitions, in this aspect, could be realised, unless confidence was planted within the mind and spirit of everybody. But it has already been observed the Hoover failed to do this. It has also been contended that, had Hoover done less, the economy would have corrected itself, the agonies of the Depression would not have been continued for as long. Some have even ventured to propose, that Hoover's operations only extended the Depression, and that such organisations as the RFC only delayed the collapse of businesses, and so delayed the purging of the economy that would ultimately have allowed for recovery. Yet Hoover's humanitarian propensities caused him to abhorr this. He could not endure that things should get worse before they should get better; he was determined to do what would, if not accelerate recovery, at least rescue America from the deepest furrows of destitution. ...read more.

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