Hoover Vs. Roosevelt


Hoover and Roosevelt had very different ideas on how the
Depression should be handled. This was almost entirely a
result of two integral differences in their schemas; Hoover
was a Republican, and had basically worked his way through
life, while Roosevelt was not only a Democrat, he had
basically been born with the proverbial silver spoon in his
mouth. As one can easily see, in many ways these two are
complete opposites; in fact, if one looks at both their
upbringing and their political affiliation, it seems that
Roosevelt's and Hoover's policies must have been different
in a great many ways. Hoover was brought up in a poor
family, and worked almost his entire life. When he was
eight years old, his parents died so he went to live with
his uncle. His uncle worked with him, and later became
rich. Hoover had endured a great many hardships in his
life, and knew what it was like to do without. In fact,
Hoover was very poor as a child, although not necessarily
living in poverty. This effect on his schema would be
rather interesting, as it seems that he should have had a
better understanding of how to handle problems with the
poor than Roosevelt. As Hoover was born poor, one would
think that he would know how to run the country like a
business, so that it would stay afloat; however, when
confronted with the Depression, he repeatedly cut taxes.
Hoover was basically a hard working Republican, the
quintessential self made man. Roosevelt, on the other
hand, had been born into a very rich family; He grew up
with education at Harvard, had his own pony and sailboat,
and had everything basically taken care of for him in his
childhood by his mother. This gave him a sense of security,
of being able to do anything he wanted, most simply because
he didn't fail early on. He had never lived through what
the American public was going through, so his view of the
world, his schema, did not necessarily include what it was
like to live in poverty. He believed that the Depression
could be solved merely by putting as many people to work
for the government as possible. This could relate to how,
growing up, he himself did not have to work in any way,
shape, or form. Roosevelt did have one other perspective
that would always be unavailable to Hoover; he was a
cripple. He had contracted polio on 1921; by the time he
became governor of New York in 1928, he could not walk
unaided. He refused to let this stop him, though, and
remained a suave speaker, unlike his competitor Hoover. 

Political affiliation is also one of the most necessary
differences to realize in contrasting Hoover and Roosevelt.
Hoover's policies, when viewed form the modern perspective,
seem rather strange. One of his major efforts appears to
have been lowering taxes; he basically expressed faith in
the existent American system. He called leaders of industry
to Washington D.C. and made them promise to keep up wages
and such, but when they did not he worked with local
welfare agencies. He basically refused to give out any
national welfare, believing that it demeaned proud
Americans. While he attempted much to help businesses, it
was clear by 1932 that his policies were a complete
failure. Even when the Democrats had control of the
congress after 1930, he still stubbornly refused to take
stronger action. Throughout this time, the bank failures
had been steadily going up. His lowest point in popularity
was when a group of veterans camped in D.C. demanding a
bonus that they were due. Hoover ordered them removed. Yet
even through all of this, he still insisted that the
American public did not honestly want national relief.
Basically, Roosevelt could have no better campaign than
Hoover's presidency. Roosevelt's philosophy, on the other
hand, was entirely different. His most readily apparent
ability was his voice; he was able to talk to people in
such a way that they almost always went along with him. He
was exceptionally confident, and made those around him feel
so too. Roosevelt did not tend to deal with underlying
problems; he was, however, wonderful at taking care of the
surface problem. On his inauguration day, he gave his
famous speech asserting that the only thing America had to
fear was fear itself; not entirely true, because the nation
stood on the brink of collapse. The banks in Chicago and
New York were closed. Within ten days, Roosevelt had them
back open. Throughout the next few years, Roosevelt's
general policy was to make work for anyone and everyone who
was idle; it didn't matter if the work was pointless, and
didn't really need to be done. Roosevelt simply took the
men of the nation and put them to work at whatever he could
think of for them to do. The job really didn't matter; the
only reason it was there was to keep the public happy. It
is questionable how much these work projects actually
helped America to come out of the Depression; in fact, most
believe that only World War II saved America's economy.
Regardless, the American spirit was once again uplifted,
and even if the Depression hadn't gone away the American
public once again felt as though they were the best country
in the world. Hoover and Roosevelt had a variety of
differences, both in their background and in their
political ideas. Hoover had been born poor, and had worked
his way up to a higher station in life (partially with the
help of an uncle who came into money). Roosevelt's family,
though, possessed basically old wealth. He had whatever he
wanted as a child. As far as their political views, Hoover
favored a local end to the Depression, basically not
believing that the central American government could
accomplish what was necessary. Roosevelt, on the other
hand, understood as Robert Wiebe did, that the time for
island communities was over, and it was necessary for the
central power in the country to lend a hand. 


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