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The differences in thinking between Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt in their approach to the Depression Assignment

Herbert Hoover was a republican while Franklin Roosevelt was a democrat. This meant that they had a completely different Presidential strategy. For a start Hoover did not want to spend public money to ‘kick – start’ the economy after the Wall Street Crash. He believed in the Laissez – faire way of governing where the government would try, as much as possible, to keep out of the affairs of industry and the day to day lives of people in the USA.

Also the republicans believed in placing tariffs (a sort of tax) on import as a way to stop Americans purchasing foreign products. Unfortunately this had an adverse affect when it came to the depression and they tried to export the excess products to places like Europe where in retaliation their own trade tariffs had been introduced meaning there was little or no profit made on the exported products.

Another republican trait was low taxation. This was a benefit in that it meant the public was keeping more of its own money and could spend it on what they needed. This meant that government did not have to worry about creating the correct attractions or so on for the public.

Unfortunately this also had a not so nice after affect. In that if the government had wanted to spend public money on restarting the economy and the country they would have had hardly any to work with.

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Hoover and the republicans thought they had a ‘fool proof’ safety net in case things went wrong. These were trusts. Basically these were large pools of money that industry could call upon if the worst came to the worst and it looked like businesses were going to begin folding and going under. Have you spotted the pattern yet? Yes, this too a fault, this one being who controlled the trusts.

The trusts were controlled by super-corporations who dominated their ‘corner’ of industry making it extremely difficult for competitors to muscle in on their area. Think of it like a crash between a Mini car and an eighteen – wheeled lorry, obviously the lorry is going to fair better because of sheer size. The fundamental purpose of any company is to make money. Now as you may have already guessed it is not good business to have a competitor, so maybe it might have helped if one or two began to slide down the slide of bankruptcy. In words of one syllable the trust controllers were not going to help out a failing company if they could possibly avoid it.

The government previous to Hoover had been set dead against the idea of trusts believing that their ‘cons’ weighed more than their pros’.

Roosevelt’s program for government was a complete contradiction of everything Hoover had been doing and believed. To begin with his ideas of how the country should be run were different from the first sentence.

* He believed in ‘active government’ to improve the lives of ordinary people.

* He had plans to spend public money on getting people back to work.

* He was not afraid to ask for advice on important issues from a wide range of experts, such as factory owners, union leaders and economists.

Herbert Hoovers approach to the depression was nothing. Yes that is it- nothing. He strongly believed that industry and the economy would sort itself out over time without any need for help from the government. After all industry was always having small booms and busts. It was a wave up then down so would as usual sort it self out. What he failed to notice or all his advisors failed to point out to him that people were dying of starvation in the very streets they had made there lost money on.

I may not seem to be being entirely fair on Hoover after all he did do a few things to try and halt the depression, however it seemed like mere tinkering.

Roosevelt on the other hand did an awful lot. That’s not to say he didn’t make mistakes as he said himself “as long as 75% of his experiments worked he would be happy”. Roosevelt did as he said he would and spent public money on improving the lives of ordinary people. Also as he said he would do he had a number of experts he could turn to for advice or help on a specific subject.

I believe that Roosevelt did more to help the depression although Hoover did something it just wasn’t enough. Something else that doesn’t endear me to him is he wasn’t a fighter when the time came for him to leave office he merely said, “We are at the end of our strength, there is nothing else we can do” now however true that might have been I don’t think it was a good idea to say it.

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