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Why Did The Policies Of President Hoover Fail To Combat The Great Depression Effectively?

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Introduction

WHY DID THE POLICIES OF PRESIDENT HOOVER FAIL TO COMBAT THE GREAT DEPRESSION EFFECTIVELY? In October 1929, the USA was plunged into the sharpest recession to take place in American history. The period it lasted for became known as the Great Depression. Drastic action was required to fix the situation, and the first person people looked to was President Hoover, who had unluckily took up presidency eight months before the Wall Street Crash. However, Hoover is known for his inability to sue federal powers to overcome the Depression quickly and effectively. Some recent historians have been more sympathetic towards Hoover because they believe he was a victim of both his own mindset and of one of the most difficult to solve crises in American history. But most believe it was his political beliefs and policies that stopped him fight the Depression successfully. Hoover's main trouble was that he was not willing for direct government to take place. His two central policies were self-help and voluntary co-operation. His continued belief in these represented his continued belief that the economy had to right itself and that changes he made would not help - "Economic depression cannot be cured by legislative action or executive pronouncement". ...read more.

Middle

As the depression worsened, however, they could not afford to do this. Workers were fired and wages reduced, raising unemployment levels. So, Hoover then secured $500 million in 1932 from Congress to use as unemployment relief, but the amount simply wasn't enough. He also set up the President's Emergency Committee for Employment to help agencies organise efforts, but still refused to help directly because of his self-help policies. An example of this is during the 1930-31 drought, which was so severe it led to almost starvation in the South. Congress gave $47 million to be offered as loans, but Hoover still didn't want to give direct relief. He didn't believe in giving out benefits. So unemployment relief was another failed attempt by Hoover to fight the Depression. The Federal Home Lon Bank Act was passed in July 1932, and was Hoover's attempt to save mortgages. A series of Federal Home Loan banks were set up to help loan associations providing mortgages. However, they only lent 50% of the property value. The Act failed and was largely ineffective, and homes were repossessed. ...read more.

Conclusion

An example of his flexibility is the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration, set up in 1932. Though it was temporary, it was the first state-run relief effort in the nation. In comparison, Hoover refused to hear ideas remotely associated with government intervention. However, some historians argue that Hoover did in fact involve the government in more areas of life than ever before, for example the expansion of federal lending and the encouragement of public works' schemes. Hoover had a personal concern for those suffering the Depression. He cut his own and state officials' salaries by 20% and had long working hours. On the other hand, he showed optimism in public, which led people to accuse him of losing touch with reality. Although Hoover worked tirelessly to fight the Depression, his refusal to abandon his policies of self-help and voluntary co-operation prevented him from doing so successfully. In conclusion, President Hoover's policies failed to combat the Great Depression effectively because the help they provided were very limited in the extent the Depression had gone to. Because of his beliefs in self-help and voluntary co-operation he blocked direct government intervention from his policies, driving away supporters towards Roosevelt, who won the elections of 1932 and began his 'New deal'. ...read more.

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