Brother, deserve to You preventive a Dime? The Great Depression


On march 4, 1929, at his presidential inauguration, Herbert Hoover stated, “I have no fears because that the future of our country. The is bright through hope.” many Americans shared his optimism. They believed that the prosperity the the 1920s would continue, and that the nation was relocating closer to a floor of abundance for all. Tiny could Hoover imagine that barely a year into his presidency, shantytowns known as “Hoovervilles” would arise on the fringes of most major cities, papers covering the homeless would be referred to as “Hoover blankets,” and also pants pockets, rotate inside-out to display their emptiness, would come to be “Hoover flags.”

The stock market crash that October 1929 set the good Depression into motion, however other factors were at the root of the problem, moved onward by a series of both human-made and natural catastrophes. Anticipating a quick downturn and living under one ethos of complimentary enterprise and also individualism, Americans endured mightily in the first years the the Depression. As conditions worsened and also the government failed come act, they flourished increasingly desperate for change. When Hoover could not it is in blamed because that the great Depression, his failure to deal with the nation’s hardships would remain his legacy. (2)

The Stock industry Crash that 1929

Herbert Hoover became president at a time of ongoing prosperity in the country. Americans hope he would proceed to command the country through still an ext economic growth, and also neither he nor the nation was prepared for the unraveling that followed. However Hoover’s center policies, based ~ above a strong held belief in the spirit of American individualism, were not sufficient to stem the ever-growing problems, and the economic climate slipped further and further right into the an excellent Depression.

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While it is misleading to watch the stock sector crash that 1929 together the sole reason of the an excellent Depression, the dramatic events of the October did play a duty in the downward spiral the the American economy. The crash, which took place less than a year after ~ Hoover was inaugurated, to be the most extreme sign that the economy’s weakness. Many factors added to the crash, which in turn caused a customer panic the drove the economy even more downhill, in methods that no Hoover nor the financial sector was able come restrain. Hoover, like many others at the time, thought and hoped the the nation would appropriate itself with restricted government intervention. This was not the case, however, and millions of american sank into grinding poverty. (2)

The early on Days the Hoover’s Presidency

Upon his inauguration, president Hoover set forth an agenda that he hoped would proceed the “Coolidge prosperity” the the vault administration. While agree the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 1928, Hoover commented, “Given the opportunity to go forward through the plans of the last eight years, we shall soon with the assist of God be in sight of the day as soon as poverty will be banished native this nation forever.” In the heart of normalcy that characterized the Republican ascendancy of the 1920s, Hoover to plan to instantly overhaul federal regulations v the intentionally of permitting the nation’s economy to grow unfettered by any kind of controls. The duty of the government, that contended, need to be to produce a partnership v the American people, in which the latter would climb (or fall) top top their very own merits and also abilities. He felt the less federal government intervention in your lives, the better.

Yet, to hear to Hoover’s later reflections top top Franklin Roosevelt’s very first term in office, one can easily mistake his vision because that America for the one organized by his successor. Speak in 1936 before an audience in Denver, Colorado, he identified that it was always his will as president to certain “a nation built of house owners and farm owners. We want to see an ext and more of castle insured against death and accident, unemployment and old age,” that declared. “We want them all secure.” such humanitarianism was not unusual to Hoover. Transparent his early on career in public service, he to be committed to relief because that people around the world. In 1900, he combination relief initiatives for international nationals trapped in China during the Boxer Rebellion. At the outset of world War I, the led the food relief effort in Europe, particularly helping numerous Belgians who challenged German forces.

President Woodrow Wilson ultimately appointed the head that the U.S. Food administration to name: coordinates rationing efforts in America and to secure important food items for the allied forces and citizens in Europe.

Hoover’s very first months in office hinted in ~ the reformist, humanitarian heart that the had displayed throughout his career. He ongoing the civil business reform the the early on twentieth century by expanding avenues for employment transparent the federal government. In response to the Teapot Dome Affair, i beg your pardon had developed during the Harding administration, the invalidated several private oil leases on windy lands. He command the department of Justice, with its office of Investigation, come crack down on organized crime, resulting in the arrest and imprisonment that Al Capone. By the summer of 1929, he had actually signed into law the production of a commonwealth Farm board to aid farmers with government price supports, expanded tax cuts across all earnings classes, and set aside commonwealth funds come clean increase slums in significant American cities. To straight assist numerous overlooked populations, he produced the Veterans administration and expanded veterans’ hospitals, established the commonwealth Bureau that Prisons to oversee incarceration problems nationwide, and also reorganized the bureau of Indian Affairs to further safeguard Native Americans. Simply prior come the stock industry crash, he also proposed the creation of one old-age pension program, promising fifty dollars monthly to every Americans over the period of sixty-five—a proposal remarkably similar to the society security advantage that would end up being a hallmark that Roosevelt’s subsequent brand-new Deal programs. Together the summer of 1929 involved a close, Hoover remained a popular follower to Calvin “Silent Cal” Coolidge, and also all indications pointed to a extremely successful administration. (2)

The an excellent Crash

The promise of the Hoover administration was cut short when the stock market lost almost one-half its worth in the fall of 1929, plunging many Americans right into financial ruin. However, as a singular event, the stock industry crash itself did not cause the an excellent Depression that followed. In fact, only roughly 10 percent that American family members held stock investments and speculated in the market; yet nearly a third would lose their lifelong savings and also jobs in the taking place depression. The connection between the crash and also the subsequent decade that hardship was complex, including underlying weakness in the economic situation that many policymakers had long ignored.

What to be the Crash?

To understand the crash, the is advantageous to deal with the decade that preceded it. The prosperous 1920s introduced a emotion of euphoria amongst middle-class and wealthy Americans, and people started to speculate ~ above wilder investments. The government was a willing companion in this endeavor: The federal Reserve followed a short postwar recession in 1920–1921 with a plan of setup interest prices artificially low, and easing the reserve demands on the nation’s biggest banks. Together a result, the money supply in the U.S. Raised by almost 60 percent, which encouraged even much more Americans the the security of investing in questionable schemes. They felt the prosperity to be boundless and that extreme dangers were most likely tickets come wealth. Called for Charles Ponzi, the initial “Ponzi schemes” emerged early on in the 1920s to encourage novice investor to draw away funds come unfounded ventures, i beg your pardon in reality just used brand-new investors’ funds to pay off older investors as the schemes flourished in size. Speculation, wherein investors purchased right into high-risk schemes that they hoped would pay off quickly, became the norm. Several banks, consisting of deposit organizations that initially avoided invest loans, started to offer easy credit, allowing people to invest, even when they lacked the money to perform so.

Several warning indicators portended the imminent crash however went unheeded by american still giddy end the potential fortunes the speculation could promise. A short downturn in the industry on September 18, 1929, raised questions among more-seasoned invest bankers, leading some to predict an end to high share values, yet did small to stem the birds of investment. Also the please of the London stock Exchange on September 20 fail to completely curtail the positive outlook of American investors. However, as soon as the brand-new York stock Exchange lost 11 percent the its value on October 24—often referred to as “Black Thursday”—key American investors sat up and also took notice. In an initiative to forestall a much-feared panic, leading banks, consisting of Chase National, national City, J.P. Morgan, and others, conspired come purchase huge amounts the blue chip stocks (including U.S. Steel) in order to keep the price artificially high. Even that effort failed in the growing wave of share sales. Nevertheless, Hoover delivered a radio attend to on Friday in which that assured the American people, “The fundamental business of the country . . . Is on a sound and also prosperous basis.”

As newspapers throughout the country started to covering the story in earnest, investors anxiously awaited the begin of the following week. Once the Dow Jones industrial Average lost an additional 13 percent of its worth on Monday morning, countless knew the end of stock sector speculation was near. The evening prior to the notorious crash was ominous. Jonathan Leonard, a newspaper reporter who frequently covered the stock sector beat, wrote of how wall surface Street “lit up choose a Christmas tree.” Brokers and also businessmen who feared the worst the following day crowded right into restaurants and also speakeasies (a ar where alcoholic beverages were illegally sold). After a night of hefty drinking, they retreated to nearby hotels or flop-houses (cheap boarding houses), every one of which to be overbooked, and awaited sunrise. Kids from surrounding slums and tenement districts play stickball in the roadways of the jae won district, using wads the ticker tape for balls. Back they all awoke to newspapers filled with predictions that a jae won turnaround, and also technical factors why the decrease might it is in short-lived, the crash top top Tuesday morning, October 29, caught few by surprise.

No one also heard the opened bell on wall surface Street the day, together shouts of “Sell! Sell!” drowned it out. In the an initial three minute alone, almost three million share of stock, accounting for $2 million that wealth, adjusted hands. The volume of west Union telegrams tripled, and also telephone lines could not satisfy the demand, together investors seek any means available come dump your stock immediately. Rumors spread of investors jumping from their office windows. Fistfights broke out top top the commerce floor, whereby one broker fainted from physics exhaustion. Stock trades taken place at together a furious pace that runners had nowhere to keep the profession slips, and so they resorted come stuffing them right into trash cans. Back the stock exchange’s plank of governors briefly thought about closing the exchange early, lock subsequently chose to permit the industry run the course, lest the American public panic even further at the assumed of closure. As soon as the last bell rang, errand boys spent hrs sweeping up tons of paper, tickertape, and also sales slips, as shown in number 8-1.


On black Tuesday, October 29, share holders traded over sixteen million shares and also lost over $14 exchange rate in riches in a single day. To put this in context, a trading work of three million share was thought about a busy day top top the share market. People unloaded your stock as conveniently as they could, never minding the loss. Banks, facing debt and seeking to safeguard their very own assets, request payment because that the loans they had noted to individual investors. Those individuals who might not afford come pay uncovered their stocks offered immediately and also their life save wiped the end in minutes, however their blame to the bank still remained.

The financial outcome of the crash to be devastating. Between September 1 and November 30, 1929, the stock industry lost over one-half that value, dropping indigenous $64 billion to approximately $30 billion. Any type of effort come stem the tide was, as one historian noted, tantamount come bailing Niagara drops with a bucket. The crash impacted many more than the relatively few Americans who invested in the stock market. While just 10 percent of households had investments, end 90 percent the all financial institutions had invested in the stock market. Many financial institutions failed due to their dwindling cash reserves. This to be in part due to the federal Reserve lowering the limits of cash reserves that financial institutions were traditionally forced to hold in their vaults, and also the reality that many financial institutions invested in the stock market themselves. Eventually, thousands of banks closed your doors after losing every one of their assets, leaving their customers penniless. If a few savvy investors obtained out in ~ the right time and also eventually do fortunes buying up discarded stock, those success stories were rare. Housewives who speculated v grocery money, bookkeepers that embezzled firm funds hope to strike it rich and also pay the funds earlier before getting caught, and also bankers who offered customer store to follow speculative trends all lost. When the stock sector crash was the trigger, the absence of ideal economic and banking safeguards, along with a public psyche that pursued wealth and also prosperity at all costs, permitted this occasion to spiral downward into a depression.

Causes of the Crash

The crash that 1929 walk not take place in a vacuum, no one did it reason the an excellent Depression. Rather, it to be a tipping point where the underlying weakness in the economy, specifically in the nation’s bank system, concerned the fore. It likewise represented both the end of one era identified by blind faith in American exceptionalism and also the beginning of one in i beg your pardon citizens began increasingly to concern some long-held American values. A variety of factors played a function in bringing the stock sector to this suggest and added to the downward trend in the market, which continued well into the 1930s. In addition to the commonwealth Reserve’s questionable policies and misguided bank practices, three primary reasons because that the collapse of the stock industry were international economic woes, poor income distribution, and the psychology of windy confidence.

After people War I, both America’s allies and also the defeated nations that Germany and also Austria competed with disastrous economies. The Allies owed big amounts that money come U.S. Banks, i m sorry had advanced them money throughout the battle effort. Can not to repay these debts, the Allies looked to reparations indigenous Germany and also Austria to help. The economies of those countries, however, were struggling badly, and also they could not pay your reparations, regardless of the loans that the U.S. Noted to help with their payments. The U.S. Federal government refused to forgive these loans, and also American financial institutions were in the place of extending extr private loans to international governments, who provided them to repay your debts to the U.S. Government, essentially shifting their obligations to private banks. When other countries started to default on this 2nd wave that private financial institution loans, still an ext strain was inserted on U.S. Banks, which quickly sought to liquidate this loans in ~ the first sign that a stock market crisis.

Poor income distribution among Americans compounded the problem. A strong stock market relies ~ above today’s buyers becoming tomorrow’s sellers, and therefore it must always have an flow of new buyers. In the 1920s, this was not the case. Eighty percent the American families had practically no savings, and also only one-half come 1 percent that Americans regulated over a 3rd of the wealth. This scenario meant that there to be no new buyers coming right into the marketplace, and also nowhere because that sellers to unload their stock as the speculation involved a close. In addition, the vast bulk of american with restricted savings shed their accounts together local financial institutions closed, and an in similar way lost their work as invest in business and also industry came to a screeching halt.

Finally, one of the most important components in the crash to be the contagion impact of panic. For lot of the 1920s, the public felt confident the prosperity would proceed forever, and also therefore, in a self-fulfilling cycle, the market continued to grow. Yet once the panic began, it spread quickly and with the very same cyclical results; people were worried the the industry was walk down, they sold their stock, and also the market ongoing to drop. This was partly as result of Americans’ inability to weather market volatility, given the minimal cash excess they had actually on hand, and also their psychological problem that financial recovery can never happen.

In the consequences of the Crash

After the crash, Hoover announced the the economic situation was “fundamentally sound.” top top the last day of commerce in 1929, the brand-new York stock Exchange organized its annual wild and lavish party, finish with confetti, musicians, and also illegal alcohol. The U.S. Department of job predicted the 1930 would certainly be “a splendid employed year.” these sentiments were not as baseless together it may seem in hindsight. Historically, sectors cycled up and also down, and periods of expansion were often complied with by downturns that corrected themselves. But this time, there to be no industry correction; rather, the abrupt shock that the crash was complied with by an even an ext devastating depression. Investors, along with the general public, withdrew their money from financial institutions by the thousands, fearing the banks would go under. The more people pulled the end their money in financial institution runs, the closer the banks came to insolvency.

As the financial industries collapsed, hurting the financial institutions that had gambled with their holdings, people began to are afraid that the money they had actually in the financial institution would be lost. This began financial institution runs across the country, a duration of still an ext panic, where human being pulled your money the end of banks to store it covert at home.

The contagion result of the crash prospered quickly. With investors losing billions of dollars, they invested very small in new or increased businesses. In ~ this time, 2 industries had actually the greatest impact on the country’s economic future in regards to investment, potential growth, and also employment: automotive and also construction. After ~ the crash, both were hit hard. In November 1929, fewer cars were built than in any kind of other month because November 1919. Even prior to the crash, prevalent saturation that the industry meant that few Americans bought them, resulting in a slowdown. Afterward, very few could bought them. By 1933, Stutz, Locomobile, Durant, Franklin, Deusenberg, and also Pierce-Arrow automobiles, all high-end models, were mostly unavailable; production had actually ground to a halt. They would not it is in made again until 1949. In construction, the drop-off to be even more dramatic. It would be another thirty years prior to a brand-new hotel or theatre was developed in brand-new York City. The realm State building itself stood half empty for years after being completed in 1931.

The damage to major industries led to, and also reflected, minimal purchasing by both consumers and businesses. Even those american who ongoing to make a usual income throughout the good Depression shed the journey for conspicuous usage that they showed in the 1920s. People with much less money come buy goods can not aid businesses grow; in turn, businesses through no market for their assets could not hire employees or purchase raw materials. Employers started to lay off workers. The country’s gross national product decreased by over 25 percent in ~ a year, and wages and salaries decreased by $4 billion. Joblessness tripled, native 1.5 million in ~ the finish of 1929 to 4.5 million by the finish of 1930, as shown in number 8-2. By mid-1930, the slide into economic chaos had begun but to be nowhere close to complete. (2)

Figure 8-2: US unemployment 1910-1960 by Lawerncekhoo is in the Public Domain .

The brand-new Reality for Americans

For many Americans, the crash influenced daily life in myriad ways. In the instant aftermath, there to be a run on the banks, whereby citizens took their money out, if they can get it, and hid your savings under mattresses, in bookshelves, or almost everywhere else they felt to be safe. Some went for this reason far regarding exchange your dollars because that gold and also ship it out of the country. A variety of banks failed outright, and others, in your attempts to remain solvent, dubbed in loans that human being could not afford come repay. Working-class Americans witnessed their wages drop: also Henry Ford, the champion that a high minimum wage, started lowering earnings by as lot as a disagreement a day. Southerly cotton planters paid workers just twenty cents for every one hundred pounds of noodle picked, definition that the the strongest picker might earn sixty cents for a fourteen-hour work of work. Cities struggled to collect residential or commercial property taxes and also subsequently laid turn off teachers and police.

The brand-new hardships that people faced were not constantly immediately apparent; many communities felt the changes yet could no necessarily look the end their windows and also see anything different. Men who shed their tasks didn’t was standing on street corners begging; they disappeared. They could be found keeping heat by a trashcan bonfire or picking with garbage at dawn, however mostly, they stayed out of windy view. Together the results of the crash continued, however, the results became much more evident. Those living in cities flourished accustomed come seeing long breadlines the unemployed males waiting for a meal, as displayed in number 8-3. Suppliers fired workers and also tore down employee housing to avoid paying residential or commercial property taxes. The landscape of the nation had changed.

Figure 8-3: Depression, Breadlines – lengthy line of human being waiting to it is in fed, brand-new York City – NARA -196499 by Unknown is in the Public Domain . Picture taken circa February 1932. Males waiting in a “bread line” in new York City.

The hardships the the great Depression threw household life into disarray. Both marriage and also birth rates declined in the decade after the crash. The most fragile members of society—children, women, minorities, and also the functioning class—struggled the most. Parents regularly sent children out to beg because that food in ~ restaurants and also stores to save themselves native the disgrace of begging. Many children dropped the end of school, and even fewer visited college. Childhood, together it had existed in the prosperous twenties, to be over. And also yet, because that many children living in rural locations where the affluence of the previous decade was not totally developed, the Depression to be not perceived as a great challenge. College continued. Pat was simple and enjoyed. Families adjusted by growing an ext in gardens, canning, and also preserving, wasting tiny food if any. Home-sewn clothing ended up being the norm as the decade progressed, as did creative methods of shoes repair v cardboard soles. Yet, one constantly knew of stories of the “other” households who endured more, including those life in cardboard box or caves. Through one estimate, as many as 200,000 youngsters moved around the country as vagrants as result of familial disintegration.

Women’s lives, too, to be profoundly affected. Some wives and mothers seek employment to make ends meet, an undertaking the was frequently met with strong resistance indigenous husbands and also potential employers. Plenty of men derided and also criticized women that worked, feeling that tasks should walk to unemployed men. Part campaigned to keep providers from rental married women, and an increasing number of school districts broadened the long-held practice of banning the hiring of married female teachers. Regardless of the pushback, women gotten in the labor force in enhancing numbers, native ten million in ~ the begin of the Depression to nearly thirteen million by the finish of the 1930s. This increase took place despite the twenty-six claims that happen a selection of regulations to prohibit the employed of married women. Number of women found employment in the arising pink collar occupations, perceived as traditional women’s work, consisting of jobs together telephone operators, social workers, and secretaries. Rather took jobs as maids and housecleaners, functioning for those fortunate couple of who had actually maintained their wealth.

White women’s forays right into domestic business came at the cost of minority women, that had even fewer employment options. Unsurprisingly, african American men and also women experienced unemployment, and also the grinding poverty that followed, at dual and triple the rates of their white counterparts. By 1932, unemployment among African american reached near 50 percent. In landscape areas, where huge numbers of african Americans ongoing to live in spite of the good Migration of 1910–1930, depression-era life stood for an intensified version of the poverty the they traditionally experienced. Subsistence farming permitted many african Americans who shed either your land or jobs working for white landholders to survive, but their hardships increased. Life because that African american in urban settings was same trying, with blacks and also working-class whites living in near proximity and competing because that scarce jobs and resources.

Life for all rural Americans to be difficult. Farmers greatly did not suffer the extensive prosperity that the 1920s. Return continued developments in farming approaches and agricultural machinery led to increased farming production, decreasing demand (particularly in the previous markets produced by human being War I) stability drove down commodity prices. Together a result, farmers might barely salary the debt they owed on machinery and also land mortgages, and also even then might do so only as a result of generous lines of credit transaction from banks. While manufacturing facility workers may have lost your jobs and savings in the crash, numerous farmers additionally lost their homes, as result of the thousands of farm foreclosures seek by no hope bankers. Between 1930 and also 1935, practically 750,000 family members farms disappeared with foreclosure or bankruptcy. Also for those who regulated to save their farms, over there was tiny market for their crops. Unemployment workers had less money to invest on food, and also when lock did acquisition goods, the industry excess had driven price so low the farmers might barely item together a living. A now-famous example of the farmer’s plight is that, once the price the coal started to exceed that of corn, farmers would simply burn corn to stay heat in the winter.

As the results of the good Depression worsened, wealthier american had certain concern because that “the deserving poor”—those who had actually lost all of their money as result of no error of their own. This concept gained higher attention beginning in the gradual Era of the so late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when early on social reformers sought to enhance the quality of life for every Americans through addressing the poverty that was becoming an ext prevalent, specifically in arising urban areas.

By the moment of the good Depression, society reformers and also humanitarian agencies had established that the “deserving poor” belonged come a different classification from those who had speculated and also lost. However, the slim volume of american who dropped into this group meant that charitable assistance could not begin to with them all. Part fifteen million “deserving poor,” or a full one-third that the job force, to be struggling by 1932. The nation had no mechanism or device in place to assist so many; however, Hoover remained adamant that such relief have to rest in the hand of private agencies, not through the federal government.

Unable come receive assist from the government, Americans thus turned to personal charities; churches, synagogues, and other religious organizations; and also state aid. But these organizations were not all set to address the border of the problem. Private aid organizations showed decreasing assets too during the Depression, with fewer americans possessing the capacity to donate to such charities. Likewise, state federal governments were specifically ill-equipped. Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt to be the first to academy a room of Welfare in new York in 1929. City governments had equally little to offer. In new York City in 1932, family allowances to be $2.39 every week, and only one-half that the households who standard actually got them. In Detroit, allowances fell to fifteen cent a day per person, and also eventually ran the end completely. In many cases, relief was only in the type of food and also fuel; organizations noted nothing in the means of rent, shelter, medical care, clothing, or other necessities. There to be no facilities to assistance the elderly, that were the many vulnerable, and this population largely depended upon their adult children to assistance them, including to families’ burdens.

During this time, local ar groups, such as police and also teachers, worked to assist the neediest. New York City police, for example, started contributing 1 percent the their salaries to start a food money that was geared to aid those uncovered starving top top the streets. In 1932, new York City schoolteachers additionally joined pressures to shot to help; they contributed as much as $250,000 per month from their very own salaries to assist needy children. Chicago teachers did the same, feeding some eleven thousand students the end of their own pockets in 1931, despite the reality that numerous of them had not to be paid a value in months. This noble efforts, however, fail to totally address the level the desperation the the American public was facing. (2)

President Hoover’s Response

President Hoover to be unprepared for the border of the depression crisis, and also his restricted response go not begin to aid the countless Americans in need. The steps he take it were really much in keeping with his philosophy of limited government, a approach that plenty of had common with him till the upheavals of the an excellent Depression made it clear that a much more direct government an answer was required. Yet Hoover was stubborn in his refusal to give “handouts,” together he saw straight government aid. He called for a soul of volunteerism among America’s businesses, questioning them to keep workers employed, and also he exhorted the American civilization to tighten their belts and also make perform in the heart of “rugged individualism.” when Hoover’s philosophy and his appeal to the nation were very much in keeping with his character, it to be not sufficient to store the economic climate from plummeting more into financial chaos.

The actions Hoover did eventually take were too little, also late. He produced programs for putting people earlier to work and helping beleaguered local and also state charities with aid. But the program were small in scale and also highly particular as to who can benefit, and they only touched a small percentage of those in need. Together the situation worsened, the public flourished increasingly unhappy through Hoover. The left office with one of the lowest approval ratings of any kind of president in history.

The initial Reaction

In the immediate consequences of black color Tuesday, Hoover sought to reassure Americans the all to be well. Reading his words after the fact, that is basic to uncover fault. In 1929 he said, “Any lack of trust in the financial future or the strength of business in the United says is foolish.” In 1930, that stated, “The worst is behind us.” In 1931, that pledged federal help should he ever witness scarcity in the country; however as of the date, he had yet to watch such require in America, regardless of the really real evidence that children and the elderly were starving come death. Yet Hoover was neither purposely blind nor unsympathetic. He simply held quick to a id system that did not readjust as the realities that the good Depression collection in.

Hoover believed strongly in the ethos that American individualism: that hard work lugged its very own rewards. His life story testified to the belief. Hoover to be born right into poverty, make his means through college at Stanford University, and also eventually make his fortune as an engineer. This experience, and also his substantial travels in China and also throughout Europe, shaped his fundamental conviction that the an extremely existence that American human being depended top top the moral fiber that its citizens, as shown by their ability to conquer all hardships with individual effort and resolve. The idea of government handouts come Americans was repellant to him. Conversely, Europeans could need assistance, such together his hunger relief occupational in Belgium during and after human being War I, he thought the American character to it is in different. In a 1931 radio address, the said, “The spread of government destroys initiative and thus destroys character.”

Likewise, Hoover was not completely unaware the the potential injury that wild share speculation can create if left unchecked. Together secretary of commerce, Hoover frequently warned president Coolidge that the risks that such speculation engendered. In the weeks before his inauguration, he offered many interviews come newspapers and magazines, urging americans to curtail their rampant stock investments, and even motivated the commonwealth Reserve come raise the discount rate to do it more costly because that local financial institutions to lend money to potential speculators. However, fear of creating a panic, Hoover never issued a stern warning to discourage americans from such investments. No Hoover, nor any kind of other politician of the day, ever gave significant thought to outright government regulation of the share market. This was also true in his an individual choices, as Hoover regularly lamented bad stock advice he had once readily available to a friend. Once the stock nose-dived, Hoover bought the shares from his friend to assuage his guilt, vowing never again to advise anyone on matters of investment.

In keeping with these principles, Hoover’s response to the crash concentrated on two very common American traditions: that asked individuals to tighten your belts and work harder, and he request the business community come voluntarily assist sustain the economic situation by retaining workers and also continuing production. He immediately summoned a conference of top industrialists to accomplish in Washington, DC, urging lock to keep their present wages if America rode the end this brief economic panic. The crash, the assured service leaders, to be not component of a greater downturn; they had actually nothing to problem about. Similar meetings v utility companies and railroad executives elicited guarantees for billions of dollars in new construction projects, while labor leaders agreed to withhold requirements for wage increases and also workers ongoing to labor. Hoover also persuaded conference to pass a $160 million tax reduced to bolster American incomes, leading plenty of to conclude the the president was doing all he could to stem the birds of the panic. In April 1930, the brand-new York time editorial plank concluded the “No one in his place can have done more.”

However, these modest actions were no enough. By so late 1931, once it came to be clear the the economy would not enhance on its own, Hoover known the require for some federal government intervention. He produced the President’s Emergency Committee for Employment (PECE), later renamed the President’s company of joblessness Relief (POUR).

In keeping with Hoover’s distaste of what he perceived as handouts, this organization did not carry out direct federal relief to people in need. Instead, it assisted state and private relief agencies, such together the Red Cross, Salvation Army, YMCA, and also Community Chest. Hoover likewise strongly urged world of method to donate accumulation to assist the poor, and also he self gave far-reaching private donations to worthy causes. However these personal efforts might not alleviate the widespread effects of poverty.

Congress driven for a more direct government solution to the hardship. In 1930–1931, the attempted to pass a $60 million invoice to provide relief to dryness victims by allowing them access to food, fertilizer, and also animal feed. Hoover stood rapid in his refuse to carry out food, resisting any type of element of straight relief. The final bill that $47 million detailed for whatever except food however did no come close come adequately addressing the crisis. Again in 1931, conference proposed the federal Emergency Relief Bill, which would have provided $375 million to states to help provide food, clothing, and also shelter to the homeless. However Hoover protest the bill, stating the it damaged the balance of power in between states and also the federal government, and in February 1932, that was defeated by fourteen votes.

However, the president’s adamant opposition come direct-relief federal government programs need to not be perceived as one of indifference or uncaring toward the suffering American people. His an individual sympathy for those in need was boundless. Hoover was among only 2 presidents to refuse his salary because that the office the held. Throughout the good Depression, the donated an median of $25,000 yearly to assorted relief establishments to assist in your efforts. Furthermore, he helped to advanced $500,000 in personal funds to assistance the White house Conference on boy Health and also Welfare in 1930. Rather than indifference or heartlessness, Hoover’s steadfast follow to a viewpoint of individualism together the course toward long-term American recovery explained many of his plan decisions. “A spontaneous deed,” he repeatedly commented, “is infinitely more precious to our nationwide ideal and spirit 보다 a thousand-fold poured from the Treasury.”

As conditions worsened, however, Hoover eventually relaxed his the opposite to commonwealth relief and formed the restoration Finance coporation, group (RFC) in 1932, in component because it to be an choice year and also Hoover hoped to keep his office. Although no a kind of direct relief come the American people in best need, the RFC was much larger in border than any preceding effort, setup aside $2 billion in taxpayer money to rescue banks, credit transaction unions, and also insurance companies. The goal to be to boost confidence in the country financial institutions by ensuring that they to be on heavy footing. This model was fault on a variety of levels. First, the program only lent money to banks with enough collateral, which intended that many of the assist went to huge banks. In fact, that the very first $61 million loaned, $41 million go to just three banks. Small town and also rural financial institutions got almost nothing. Furthermore, at this time, confidence in financial establishments was no the primary worry of most Americans. They essential food and also jobs. Plenty of had no money come put right into the banks, no matter exactly how confident castle were that the financial institutions were safe.

Hoover’s various other attempt at commonwealth assistance likewise occurred in 1932, when he endorsed a invoice by senator Robert Wagner of new York. This to be the Emergency Relief and Construction Act. This plot authorized the RFC to expand beyond loans come financial institutions and also allotted $1.5 exchange rate to claims to fund local public works projects. This regime failed to deliver the kind of aid needed, however, as Hoover severely restricted the species of tasks it could fund come those that were ultimately self-paying (such together toll bridges and public housing) and those the required experienced workers. While well intended, this programs maintained the status quo, and also there to be still no direct federal relief to the individuals who therefore desperately needed it.

Public Reaction to Hoover

Hoover’s steadfast resistance come government assist cost him the reelection and also has put him squarely at the head of the many unpopular presidents, follow to windy opinion, in modern-day American history. His name came to be synonymous with the poverty of the era: “Hoovervilles” ended up being the typical name for homeless shantytowns (see figure 8-4) and “Hoover blankets” for the papers that the homeless supplied to save warm. A “Hoover flag” to be a trousers pocket—empty of every money—turned inside out. By the 1932 election, hitchhikers organized up indicators reading: “If girlfriend don’t give me a ride, I’ll vote for Hoover.” american did no necessarily think that Hoover caused the an excellent Depression. Your anger stemmed instead from what showed up to it is in a willful refuse to assist regular citizens v direct help that might allow them to recoup from the crisis.

Figure 8-4: Migrant family pea areas California by Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum is in the Public Domain . A Hooverville in California, 1935, through a household using an car as component of your shack.

Frustration and also Protest: A bad Situation grows Worse for Hoover

Desperation and frustration often develop emotional responses, and the an excellent Depression to be no exception. Throughout 1931–1932, suppliers trying to continue to be afloat sharply cut worker wages, and, in response, workers protested in significantly bitter strikes. Together the Depression unfolded, over 80 percent that automotive workers shed their jobs. Even the typically prosperous Ford Motor company laid off two-thirds of its workforce.

In 1932, a major strike in ~ the Ford Motor company factory near Detroit brought about over sixty injuries and four deaths. Frequently referred to as the Ford Hunger March, the event unfolded together a planned demonstration among unemployed Ford workers who, come protest their desperate situation, marched ripe miles indigenous Detroit to the company’s river Rouge tree in Dearborn. In ~ the Dearborn city limits, local police launched tear gas in ~ the about three thousand protestors, who responded by throwing stones and also clods of dirt. When they ultimately reached the gates of the plant, protestors faced an ext police and also firemen, as well as private protection guards. Together the firemen turned hoses top top the protestors, the police and security guards opened up fire. In addition to those killed and also injured, police arrested fifty protestors. One main later, sixty thousands mourners attended the general public funerals the the four victims that what many protesters labeling police brutality. The event collection the tone because that worsening labor relationships in the U.S.

Farmers also organized and protested, frequently violently. The many notable instance was the farm Holiday Association. Led by Milo Reno, this company held significant sway amongst farmers in Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and also the Dakotas. Although castle never made up a bulk of farmer in any kind of of this states, their public actions drew press attention nationwide. Among their demands, the combination sought a federal government setup to set agricultural price artificially high sufficient to sheathe the farmers’ costs, and also a federal government commitment to sell any kind of farm surpluses on the people market. To attain their goals, the group referred to as for farm holidays, during which farmers would certainly neither sell their create nor purchase any type of other goods until the government met their demands. However, the greatest strength of the association came from the unexpected and also seldom-planned plot of the members, which had barricading roads right into markets, attacking nonmember farmers, and destroying your produce. Part members even raided small town stores, destroying develop on the shelves. Members likewise engaged in “penny auctions,” bidding pennies top top foreclosed farm land and also threatening any potential buyers through bodily injury if they competed in the sale. When they winner the auction, the association changed the land come the original owner. In Iowa, farmers intimidated to hang a neighborhood judge if that signed any much more farm foreclosures. At the very least one death occurred as a direct result of this protests prior to they waned adhering to the election of Franklin Roosevelt.

One that the many notable protest movements emerged toward the end of Hoover’s presidency and also centered ~ above the Bonus Expeditionary Force, or Bonus Army, in the feather of 1932. In this protest, roughly fifteen thousand world War i veterans marched on Washington to demand early payment of their veteran bonuses, which to be not because of be paid till 1945. The group camped out in vacant federal structures and set up camps in Anacostia Flats close to the Capitol structure (Figure 8-5).

Figure 8-5: Bonus army on resources lawn by Underwood & Underwood is in the Public Domain . Members the the Bonus military resting ~ above the U.S. Resources lawn, Washington, D.C., 1932.

Many veterans remained in the city in protest for virtually two months, return the U.S. Senate officially rejected your request in July. By the middle of the month, Hoover want them gone. The ordered the police to empty the buildings and clear the end the camps, and also in the exchange the followed, police fired right into the crowd, killing two veterans. Fearing an equipped uprising, Hoover then ordered general Douglas MacArthur, in addition to his aides, Dwight Eisenhower and George Patton, to forcibly remove the veterans indigenous Anacostia Flats. The occurring raid showed catastrophic, together the military melted down the shantytown and also injured dozens the people, including a twelve-week-old infant that was killed when accidentally struck by a tear gas canister (see number 8-6).

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Figure 8-6: Evictbonusarmy by Signal Corps Photographer is in the Public Domain . Shacks, placed up by the Bonus military on the Anacostia flats, Washington, D.C., burn after the fight with the military. The Capitol in the background. 1932.

As american bore witness come photographs and also newsreels that the U.S. Military forcibly removed veterans, Hoover’s popular plummeted also further. By the summer that 1932, he was largely a defeated man. His pessimism and failure mirrored that of the nation’s citizens. America to be a nation in desperate need: in require of a charismatic leader to regain public confidence also as carry out concrete remedies to traction the economy out that the good Depression. (2)