The Great Depression is notorious period of American history. A formative time in 20th century America, it came about after the riotous exuberance of the roaring twenties and lasted nearly a decade. The result of a complex bundle of factors, the crash of economies worldwide and the enduring poverty that followed make the Great Depression an essential component of American history. Its legacy on the country’s identity, laws, and economy is still readily apparent to this day.
Herbert Hoover had held cabinet positions for previous Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge. A Republican, Hoover ran programs during World War I to help ease hunger abroad and was a well-respected business man. He was a conservative protestant that promised to continue the prosperity of the 1920s. However, he lacked political leadership and skill.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt ran on the Democratic ticket in 1932. FDR had served twice as a New York Senator, as well as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President Woodrow Wilson. However, FDR contracted polio in the 1920s and never fully recovered. His struggles led him to develop a compassion and earnest caring for the ordinary people and their struggles. He was also ready to take drastic measures to solve the depression.
Business decisions shall remain voluntary!
Put the people to work!
Hoover was a successful business man. This influenced his economic policies throughout his short tenure during the depression. His idea was to let business conduct themselves without government interference. Hoover believed the economy would right itself, and that government influence contradicted the capitalist economic policies in place. This, however, would backfire immensely.
Where is our help, Mr. President?
FDR was willing to apply governmental influence to the failing economy. FDR's new ideas and initiatives became known as the "New Deal". Items like public works programs, revitalizing banks, insured savings, and reforming business practices structured his plan to reinvigorate not only the economy, but America's confidence.
Off to work, Mr. President!
Hoover took many steps to stabilize the economy, but most proved to be failures. He attempted to regulate and relieve farmers through the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1929, however it only drove farmers into greater debt. Hoover also created and funded public works programs, which had some success. In addition, Hoover also attempted to protect domestic industries, but inadvertently hindered world markets.
FDR took great steps forward with public initiatives that put Americans back to work, and revitalized their confidence in the economy. He established public works programs such as the Civilian Works Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. By doing so, people were put back to work through the government on public projects. Furthermore, FDR aimed to protect and assist farmers and fair wages.
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We are capitalists! It'll work out.
Let's do this!
Hoover's political and ideological philosophy was to remain true to the capitalist, traditional economic values held for years by Americans. Government should not interfere, and the economy would eventually right itself. Also, Hoover's take on the issues at hand were passive, and as a result, many people blamed Hoover for the increasing depression. His ideas of voluntary assistance proved to be his downfall in the Election of 1932.
FDR's philosophy and ideologies rested in his desire to bring immediate, and drastic, change to the economic landscape, to help push Americans out of the depression. Many saw his ideas as socialist, but for FDR, federal government regulation and aid was necessary. FDR's regulations and changes in federal government permeated for years to come, even to today. For believing this, FDR won a sweeping victory in the presidential Election of 1932.