The Ordeal of Herbert Hoover

  • March 1929 Herbert Hoover is the president
  • before Herbert Hoover was president he was the secretary of commerce for eight years
  • he believed a stable system of whopper to individualism would make for a successful economy
  • first response to the depression Hoover wanted to restore public confidence in the economy
  • Hoover said the business of the country is production and distribution of commodities in 1930
  • he brought and business leaders agricultural leaders to voluntarily cooperate for recovery
  • Hoover told businessmen not to cut production and to not layoff workers
  • Hoover talked labor leaders into not asking for higher wages and not asking for better hours until the economy approved
  • in the middle of 1931 voluntary cooperation was not working
  • industry began cutting production laying off workers and lowering wages
  • Hoover tried to spend government money to fight the depression
  • Hoover spent $423 million in federal public works programs to fund public construction to try and help the economy but it was not enough
  • Hoover did not increase spending when the original spending didn’t work as well as he thought it would
  • Hoover raise taxes on foreign agricultural products to try to help American farmers
  • Hawley Smoot Tarriff of 1930 increased taxes and tariffs on 75 farm products
  • 1930 congressional election Democrats won control of the house and a lot of positions on the Senate by promising to increase government assistance to the economy
  • Americans blame the president and began calling low income housing and shantytowns that unemployed people lived in Hooverville’s
  • Hooverville’s shantytowns on the outskirts of cities
  • spring 1931 international financial panic no end to the economic crisis in the US
  • 1920s European nations depended on loans from American banks
  • 1929 they could not get international loans anymore from American banks European nations began to go broke
  • May 1931 largest bank in Austria collapsed and went bankrupt
  • December 1931 Hoover supported a series of measures to keep banks in business and protect homeowners from foreclosure
  • the most important bill passed in January 1932 established Reconstruction finance Corporation or R FC a government agency that provided federal loans to troubled banks railroads and other businesses
  • RFC had a budget of $1.5 billion for public works but the agency did not fix the economy and it did not produce a recovery
  • the money went to large banks and corporations and things that paid for themselves like toll bridges public housing
  • RFC did not have enough money to make impact on the depression and it did not even spend all the money it had 300 million available to support local relief RSC gave 30 million in 1932 it had 1.5 billion for public works it only use 20% of the money it could have used


  • Summer 1932 farmers gathered in Iowa new organization called farmers holiday Association which with held farm products from the market in a farmer strike it began in August and Iowa but it failed
  • it created another movement from the American veterans in 1924 Congress approved the payment of $1000 bonus to all that served in World War I and they were supposed to be paid starting in 1945
  • by 1932 veterans wanted their bonuses to be paid right away but president Hoover said no
  • June 20,000 veterans call themselves bonus expeditionary force or the bonus Army marched into Washington and built camps around the city they said they were going to stay until Congress approved their bonuses
  • the veterans in Washington embarrassed Herbert Hoover and they were cleared out in July some of the marchers threw rocks and somebody opened fire and two veterans were killed Hoover said it was proof that they were radicalized in the Army cleared out the other buildings
  • Gen. Douglas McCarthy was the Army Chief of Staff with his aide Dwight D Eisenhower they exceeded the president’s orders and led the third Calvary under the command of George Patton to infantry regiments and the machine gun detachment and six tanks down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC in pursuit of the bonus Army at trends in the veterans ran away
  • MacArthur followed him across the Anacostia River he ordered the soldiers to burn their tent city to the ground hundred marchers were injured and one baby died
  • the final blow to Herbert Hoover’s political standing
  • Herbert Hoover had a cold and gloomy personality and the public thought of him him and sympathetic to the people
  • they used to think that Herbert Hoover was a great engineer of the optimistic days of 1920s but now he was a symbol of failure to deal with misfortune

The Election of 1932

  • 1932 presidential election Republican Party Herbert Hoover for a second term in the Democrats nominated Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • Roosevelt was a Hudson Valley New York rich aristocrat and it distant cousin of Theodore Roosevelt
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in the New York State Legislature then he was the assistant secretary of the Navy during World War I, and he was nominated for vice president in 1920 with James Cox,
  • he had polio and he could not use his legs he could only walk by using crutches embraces
  • Roosevelt was elected governor of New York and now he was running against Herbert Hoover

See Also:

The Great Depression - games

The Great Depression - powerpoints, classroom activities