America and the Great Depression

The Great Depression occurred in the United States in 1929 during the tenure of President Herbert Hoover due to the crash in the stock market. Such an issue necessitated immediate actions by Hoover and later by Franklin Roosevelt. The two presidents applied different approaches to deal with the depression. The two approaches are discussed in this paper.

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Herbert Hoover believed that if the businesses were left alone to operate without the government regulation, there would be an economic downturn. He applied a conservative approach and stressed voluntary efforts by the citizens rather than involvement of the government in the economy (Henretta and Edwards 162). Hoover believed that by making the business community stable, there would be some benefits to the poor majority. He used high tariffs to prevent external competitors. He was very reluctant to employ government interventions and kept them at the minimum, believing that more of the government bills would give the government more power rather than the poor (Carbaugh 278).

Having been discontented by Hoover’s approach, the Americans elected Franklin Roosevelt in 1932. Roosevelt promised a “New Deal” to the depression. He believed that the depression could be cured by strong government interventions. He used various fiscal policies so as to bring relief to the poor and the unemployed, recovery of the economic situation and reforms to prevent any future crisis. The state gave money to the poor and jobs in the construction of public projects such as dams and bridges (Carbaugh 278).

The advantages and disadvantages of these approaches depend on whether one is a conservative or a liberal. Hoover’s approach was considered by the liberals as disadvantageous since it gave too much power to the businesses compared to the government, thus the suffering to the citizens. Henretta and Edwards (112) cited that Franklin’s approach gave much power to the government by the fiscal policies which were advantageous for everyone. The conservatives considered this as infringing in people’s economic rights to freedom.

In conclusion, the approaches of the two presidents were different. Hoover was more conservative, believing in laissez-faire and in less government interventions. Roosevelt was more liberal and embraced idea of government interventions to empower the citizens.

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