What tarnishes President Hoover’s large reputation
31. Herbert Hoover.
He is elected in 1928. A more substantial figure than the last 2
Presidents, he is from Ohio, trained as an engineer. As head of
food relief for starving Europe after WWI, he uses food distribution
as political blackmail. He is opposed to the League of Nations,
believes American power should be projected by economic and
political forces. During the Depression he believes government
should keep its hands off, calls for volunteerism, advocates
business to help from the top down. The RFC agency fails. As the
Depression deepens Hoover becomes unpopular. The shantytowns
appearing in every city are named "Hooverville." The Bonus Army's
Tent City in Washington, DC is destroyed by the army led by Douglas
McArthur and his deputy, Dwight Eisenhower. Hoover is blamed and
his reputation reaches zero.
32. Franklyn Delano Roosevelt.
A distant cousin of
Teddy Roosevelt, he comes from NY old wealth carrying a sense of
public obligation. His wife, Eleanor, lacks early self-confidence.
Marital alienation contributes to her independence and her special
role in FDR's career. FDR's is afflicted with polio in the early
1920s, makes a great effort to overcome its effects, and reenters
FDR elected in
but inauguration is not until March, 1933. In a depression the
country drifts dangerously during this interval when no government
action will be able to be taken. A run on the banks begins amid
increasing financial panic. Inauguration day arrives. FDR’s
attempts to calm the country. His famous inaugural speech, “We have
nothing to fear but fear itself’ delivered in his trademark firm
reassuring voice. A series of radio fireside chats follow. He
announces a new banking law and pronounces the banks safe. The bank
crisis is turned around more by FDR's confidence and reassuring
manner than change in policy. There is a question of whether his
philosophy is that of a pragmatist or an opportunist.
Farm measures fail.
legislation in the first 100 days intended to aid small business and
farmers hurt by prolonged drought is not effective. Being paid to
restrict crops could not be monitored. The large farms benefited
but the small farmers and sharecroppers continued to suffer.