Herbert Hoover and the Great Depression Thus, their work is two-fold; it serves to exonerate their own political ideology for the damage it caused during Great Depression (and arguably, for the damage currently being done by the Great Recession), and to disparage any opposing or differing opinions regarding the management of the American economy.
In recent years, a debate has arisen regarding the extent of Herbert Hoover's progressive and Keynesian leanings, with conservative historians suggesting that Hoover may have been less of an advocate for laissez -faire capitalism than was commonly believed during his lifetime. Ideologues such as Amity Shlaes and Murray Rothbard have suggested that Hoover was a closet statist and New Dealer, and that Franklin Roosevelt simply continued many of these policies in a natural progression. On the other hand, liberal and mainstream historians have generally accepted the idea that Hoover was perhaps a more activist president than his earlier reputation may have indicated, but disagree with conservative historians as to the extent of Hoover's progressive inclinations. They argue that Hoover's retreat from laissez-faire policies was too little, too late, and ultimately inadequate to deal with the severity of the economic crisis, a position in direct opposition to the claims of historians such as Shlaes and Rothbard.
For conservative supporters of unregulated market capitalism, Hoover's "progressive" policies were the actual cause of the Great Depression, and rather than alleviating the economic turmoil, actually made it worse. They use Hoover and FDR as object lessons in how not to deal with the periodic downturns within capitalism, arguing like their 19th Century predecessors that the system is self-correcting. The truth about Hoover's economic politics lies somewhere in-between, and in fact, the subtlety of his shifting opinions regarding government intervention and the gap between his rhetoric and his actions are what has allowed biased historians to find ample evidence for whichever characterization of Hoover they support while conveniently ignoring the details which might otherwise complicate that characterization.
In particular, the recent work of conservative historians Murray Rothbard, Robert Murphy, and Amity Shlaes fabricates an argument suggesting that not only was Hoover a secret progressive, but that this hidden agenda was ultimately responsible for the devastation of the Great Depression. Furthermore, these conservative historians are shameless in their revision, as this altered history of the Great Depression is almost certainly a roundabout way of influencing the current debate regarding the latest economic catastrophe caused by deregulation.
In order to better understand Hoover's complex position regarding government intervention during the Great Depression, and how this position is twisted and redacted into the fictional character that is "the progressive Herbert Hoover," it will be useful to briefly examine Hoover's early history and career in public service. Though seemingly ancillary information such as his religious upbringing and childhood poverty may seem to have little relevance when discussing the substance of his economic policies, it is important to examine these details because even something like his Quaker background will ultimately be used by conservative historians as a means to argue for Hoover's condemnation (to the point that one historian even manages to make a connection between his Quaker upbringing and Joseph Stalin's Soviet Russia.)
Hoover was born into poverty and worked his way up the socioeconomic ladder, becoming a millionaire businessman and mining engineer in the model of the 19th Century American success story. To some extent he was already considered a progressive reformer rather than a conservative, described as "a visionary, a man ahead of his times" and in the 1920s, there was even some doubt about whether he was a Republican at all, considering his first government position had been with the Democratic administration of Woodrow Wilson, and his frequent alliance with the progressive-reform factions of both major parties.
Hoover was happiest as a bureaucrat and administrator rather than as a political leader, especially in his jobs as relief commissioner in Europe and as Food Administrator during World War I. John Maynard Keynes met him at the Versailles Conference in 1919 and was very favorably impressed at his fear that social, political…
Thus, their work is two-fold; it serves to exonerate their own political ideology for the damage it caused during Great Depression (and arguably, for the damage currently being done by the Great Recession), and to disparage any opposing or differing opinions regarding the management of the American economy.
Herbert Hoover When Herbert Hoover became president in 1929, the foundations of economic stability were already beginning to crumble. The demand for mass produced items had peaked, and new areas of spending that would recover the downturn were leveling off. Investors were not hurrying to build new areas of growth since market creation was troublesome. Hoover, or the Great Engineer as he called himself, had many plans for large studies of
During that time, the American middle class was threatened, and the reality is that many Americans lost their status as middle class during the economic crises. People literally died of starvation, and the economic markets that had helped create the middle class, once destabilized, helped usher in a greater divide between rich and poor, since only those with the most assets were able to weather the Depression with economic
Weak governmental intervention and stubborn responses by overzealous investors led to the stock market crash in October of 1929. Non-existent money artificially inflated the prices of stocks traded on the market and caused firms to produce more than they could sell. When reality hit, it was too late to prevent the market from crashing. President Hoover reacted by stimulating construction and public works projects. Urging firms to keep wages steady
The excessive use of margin had encouraged speculation. Poor governance on the part of banks and brokerages allowed for a market failure where investors were not making rational decisions, resulting in a bubble. A variety of new taxes were created to offset Roosevelt's social programs. The American psyche had been scarred by the abject poverty of such a wide proportion of the population. There was palpable fear and desperation. This
These two factors would cause the economy to experience a sudden erosion of economic stability. At which point, a new Administration would begin: massive spending and enacting various regulations to address the causes of the Great Depression. This would help to provide stability to: the economy and it created a foundation for placing some kind of support in the different economic structures (i.e. banks / the stock market). What
Great Depression was an immense tragedy for Americans. It was the beginning of involvement of government in the economy. After a decade of prosperity and optimism, the United States of America was thrown in despair on October 1929. The whole stock market got crashed and the Great Depression began officially. That day is known as Black Tuesday. There was no hope of the recovery of stock prices. Masses of Americans