The Great Depression Hoover vs. Roosevelt

The Great Depression Hoover vs. Roosevelt - 1 of 12...

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1 of 12 The Great Depression: Hoover vs. Roosevelt The Great Depression was the worst economic collapse that the United States had ever seen. The same policies that were employed leading up to “Black Tuesday” (Tuesday, October 1929), and throughout the first two years of the Depression by the standing president, Herbert Hoover, and the other members of his cabinet. It was a time of great need for the people living in the United States as well as those abroad. The Great Depression did not just affect the contiguous US, but countries the world over as well. There has not been a depression of this magnitude since, though some have occurred to a much lesser extent. Whether the country, and ultimately, the world, was brought out with the help of Hoover’s policies or Roosevelt’s, remains open for debate, but here we will be looking at important information in regards to the country’s economy and the general welfare of the population. While acting as Secretary of Commerce (1921-29) under Presidents Harding and Coolidge, Hoover expanded and reorganized the department and sponsored conferences on unemployment. He also backed projects such as the St. Lawrence Waterway and the Hoover Dam. Because of his performance during these years, as well as the economic boom the country was beginning to ride on, he easily gained nomination for the presidency from the Republican Party. During his earlier years, he pressed for tariff revision, established the Federal Farm Board, and appointed George W. Wickersham as chairman of the National Commission on Law Observance to study the major problems of enforcing prohibition. Unfortunately for Hoover, the rest of his term would be spent focusing on the economic depression that had crippled the country.
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2 of 12 In 1930, the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act was passed by the U.S. Congress. This brought United States tariffs to an alarmingly high level. The Tariff Act raised the costs of farm products to unprecedented levels and revised some of the industrial rates. Although the act was widely protested, it passed thanks to the joint cooperation of Representative Willis C. Hawley and Senator Reed Smoot, both Republicans. President Hoover made the act reality when he signed it in June of 1930. The enactment of this tariff brought about retaliatory tariffs from foreign countries, which intensified the depression because of decreased foreign trade. However, despite these events, Hoover continued to believe in the basic “soundness” of the economy. He thought that it would eventually regenerate and was therefore reluctant to expand federal activities in the country. Nonetheless, he recommended a public works program, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, which was created in 1932. Its usefulness was not realized, however, until Roosevelt’s expansion of its responsibilities. Despite Hoover’s disapproval, Congress passed the Emergency Relief Act, creating federal home loan banks. The Great Depression continued to worsen, however, with the closing of
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This note was uploaded on 03/29/2008 for the course HIST 240 taught by Professor Muhammed during the Spring '08 term at Detroit Mercy.

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The Great Depression Hoover vs. Roosevelt - 1 of 12...

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