p.p1 inability to provide what the people primarily

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Herbert Hoover, an incredibly wealthy mining engineer prior to his presidency, was renown for his successful mining consulting business that enabled him to be financially stable prior to his presidency. As Secretary of Commerce under Calvin Coolidge, he greatly lessened the deficit spending of the US. Since he was always surrounded by business, he only learned how to solve problems from the perspective of a businessman. Although, once someone is given the power of President of the United States, they need to know how to solve all social, economical, and political conflicts in a way that coincides with the popular belief of that time. Since the start of Hoover’s term in 1929 to 1931, the unemployment rate rose exponentially from 3.2% to 15.9%, yet he never issued any official act or law to decrease the rising rate. Hoover’s inability to provide what the people primarily wanted created tension and anger that fueled the people against him, in turn, getting vegetables tossed at him during his speeches and minimizing his chance at reelection. The people’s disdain towards Hoover made them desperate for a president, such as FDR, that was willing to do whatever it took to get the government back to how it was before the Depression. FDR was looked up to by the public because he represented common progressive ideas and solutions, unlike Hoover, and wanted to help everyone quickly, not just primarily businesses. Herbert Hoover’s biased and business-oriented responses, based primarily off volunteerism from the American people, to international economic issues, agricultural problems, and the banking system generated such a significantly devastating impact on the US society and economy that it made it physically impossible for FDR to return the US to the pre-depression era during his first two presidential terms.
Leading up to the Great Depression, WWI had recently ended and many international relationships were halted. Specifically, England and France owed the US over $2.6 billion for the money they borrowed during the war, while Germany owed them over $2 billion in war reparations under the Versailles Treaty. Meanwhile, American investors paid Germany over $2.5 billion in loans to help them pay back their debt. Once the great depression struck in 1930, he blamed America’s economic failures on their over-reliance on foreign European countries for international trade. Hoover’s “Rugged Individualism” speech prior to his election showcased his emphasis on American exceptionalism and it rebuilding itself based on the individual’s success rather than success stemming from government assistance. Specifically, Hoover stated how “We were challenged with a peace-time choice between the American system of rugged individualism and a European philosophy of diametrically opposed doctrines-doctrines of paternalism and state socialism. The acceptance of these ideas would have meant the destruction of self-government through centralization of the government. It would have meant the undermining of the individual initiative and enterprise through which our people have grown to unparalleled greatness”. Essentially, Hoover isolated the idea of “European Philosophy” as a reliance on government ownership, saying how anything resembling that would destroy “self government” altogether. 
Hoover’s strict focus on American success through self government led to his first significant failure as a president, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff.The Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930 was created by Hoover with the intent to strongly discourage international exports/imports, and to instead emphasize the cycle of Americans buying from other Americans. Leading up to 1930, the American economy greatly prospered from the US mass production because more items were being sold internationally to more people, which in turn temporarily increased worker wages. Mass production also led to surpluses for many items, and therefore consumer demand decreased. Essentially, overproduction had led to underconsumption. As a result, thousands of businesses and farms created too much supply, and since there was not enough demand, they all lost money due to overproduction. Consumer demand decreased because of foreign trade and competition, so Hoover assumed that creating a tariff on foreign trade, specifically agricultural goods, would protect local American jobs and farmers. Although a tariff is supposed to protect American-made goods, it did the opposite. As a result of the US raising the import rates of foreign goods, other countries raised their tariffs on American imported goods, in turn further decreasing consumer demand for American products worldwide. Therefore, the people had no money to buy anything in the economy, whether it was foreign or local, which eventually caused an exponential decrease in both American imports and exports, losing countless amounts of money for millions of Americans. 
In an attempt to fix the huge deficit in agriculture created by the tariff, Hoover created the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1929. This act gave large loans to farming organizations to ultimately stabilize their supply and demand ratio. The creation of the Federal Farm Board, which was given 500 million dollars by the government, created numerous organizations to more efficiently regulate crop reduction. With the loaned money, farming organizations could more accessibly negotiate crop production outputs between farmers, afford more farming equipment, and temporarily store surpluses of crops till they could be bought at average market price. Although, this act failed completely because Hoover underestimated the maximum productivity of the farmers. Even after the act was created, farmers continued to overproduce goods, the opposite of what Hoover wanted, to try to make up for the money they had lost initially. Farmers continued to lose money, and the government was never paid back the loans they gave to farmers, further increasing the country’s debt. At this time, it was in the US’s best interest to re-involve itself in international affairs, but Hoover was unable to see that option because he was so concerned with solving their problems through “American exceptionalism”. Clearly, Hoover’s emphasis on internal reconstruction, without too much government intervention, hurt the American economy more than it helped.
To fix the devastating economic barrier that separated the US from other countries in the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, FDR emphasized the importance of American international affairs. FDR first addressed the disdain other countries felt toward the US by drafting the Reciprocal Tariff Act of 1934. Essentially, this act enabled the president to formally negotiate American trade policy, specifically the tariffs, for both the US and other countries. As a result of negotiations, FDR decreased the currently high tariff in the US, while simultaneously other countries also decreased their high tariffs on US imported goods, increasing both imports and exports for both the US and other countries involved. However, FDR’s reforms to the Smoot-Hawley Tariff were not enough to completely erase the damage that Hoover had caused. Once the tariff was implemented, international trade worldwide declined nearly 66%, American unemployment nearly doubled in 5 months, and countless banks crashed because of farmers defaulting on loans in the Mid-West. Once FDR came into presidency, no matter what future plans he made to relieve the public from the damage from Hoover’s tariff, he could not restore the countless jobs people lost in other countries as a result of the rapid decrease in trade, nor return the houses mortgaged or loans defaulted on by the farmers over 4 devastating years. 
Even though FDR was able to partially fix some international affairs after the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, he was completely unable to mend the agricultural problems that arose after the tariff. In response to the failure of the Agricultural Marketing Act, FDR created the Agricultural Adjustment Act to reduce the surpluses and ultimately increase agricultural profit. The government would pay farmers subsidies for limiting their crops and/or livestock output to weaken the amount of surplus which, as a result, would create a fair agricultural market for the consumer. However, to receive the subsidies, the farmers would have to destroy excess crops and livestock. Many people at this time were starving to death, yet they received none of the wasted crops or livestock that could have potentially saved their lives. Not only were legitimate crops and livestock being wasted, but the government specifically taxed wealthier food processing companies very heavily to provide the funds for the subsidies in the first place. While the AAA did increase the income of the farms in general from the previous year, it completely wasted goods that could be otherwise used to help the unemployed, while also unconstitutionally taking funds from processing companies to help farmers. The AAA under FDR was deemed unconstitutional and overall hurt the economy more than it helped, but FDR was simply forced to make a significant change after Hoover failed to fix the farmers’ problems. Hoover so severely bankrupted the farming industry that he left FDR no other choice but to limit other industries in a desperate attempt to provide relief to agricultural workers, which even then was not enough to save the agricultural market from the damage that was done during Hoover’s term.   
Hoover made no notable government effort to help the unemployed during the Great Depression, which only worsened the already hopeless emotions of the people at that time. In 1932, the unemployment rate was the highest it has ever been at 23.6%, yet Hoover stated that “The urgent question today is the prompt balancing of the budget. When that is accomplished, I propose to support adequate measures for relief of distress and unemployment.” Hoover’s focus of balancing the budget before assisting the unemployed further hurt the US economy because at that time, the only way to eventually balance the budget was to increase consumption, which could only be done if more workers were given jobs and money that enabled them to buy common goods. 
To start some form of volunteerism, he created the President’s Organization for Unemployment Relief in 1931. This organization, which was created for the purpose of gathering private welfare agencies to assist those in need, hardly lasted a year because Hoover’s government was unwilling to pay the agencies for their services, so they did not have enough money to continue. In addition to the President’s organization, Hoover created the National Credit Corporation of 1931. The National Credit Corporation, which had a simple goal of providing relief to the banks, did not last long either. The corporation asked larger and more stable banks to lend money to failing smaller banks, only a small percentage of banks gave out loans in fear of not being repaid. 
In addition to those volunteer groups, Hoover also gathered labor, agricultural, and business leaders to plainly urge them for voluntary cooperation for recovery. Through cooperation, Hoover stated that all businesses, despite recent loss of funds and income, should not fire any workers and should maintain paying current wages. He encouraged the idea that, once the employees maintained a suitable income, they would be willing to spend money on other things, which would eventually spread the wealth and re-stabilize the economy. Although, once the depression exponentially worsened, and since there was no official law written by Hoover to protect workers’ jobs, labor and business leaders grew scared of the economy’s descent. They decreased wages, fired employees, and even closed down businesses altogether. Not only was it Hoover’s lack of action that further worsened the economy, but his business-oriented mindset of separating the government from business hurt everyone. He expected businesses to eventually recover, generate money, and help stabilize the rest of the economy when in reality, they were unable to recover in the first place without any government assistance. Hoover’s potential job regulations could have possibly kept millions of jobs for employees that could have helped businesses recover, but his inability to even consider government intervention prevented any form of business stabilization.     
Hoover raised government spending by 400 million, but the US needed significantly more money to cause any real relief impact. His stubbornness to not spend government money was shown when he stated “An unbalanced budget means the loss of confidence of our own people and of other nations in the credit and stability of the government, and that the consequences are national demoralization and the loss of ten times as many jobs.” In 1931, the unemployment was the highest it had been in history. Hoover alienated the US from international affairs, yet he emphasized confidence from the people and other investing countries as the most important issue. Confidence stems from workers who are being assisted by the government to help them provide for their family, but Hoover unintentionally prevented confidence from  workers because he was neither willing to make any significant laws to secure their jobs, nor increase the spending deficit enough to provide any relief whatsoever. Millions of workers lost their jobs because Hoover was too afraid to both interfere with businesses and increase the spending deficit.
FDR created successful programs, such as the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933, to assist the unemployed during the depression, but some of his efforts left parts of the economy worse than they were before. The NIRA attempted to regulate fair trade and set business regulations in hopes of stabilizing the economy. Specifically, it guaranteed employees a fair minimum wage, restricted working hours, and set a standard price for products. The raise in worker wages, which was supposed to equally distribute money amongst employees and employers to eventually rejuvenate the economy, made it more expensive and therefore difficult for businesses to hire as many workers. Workers got paid a higher salary, however, businesses hired less workers because they could not afford to pay all their previous workers higher wages. Eventually, the NIRA was ruled unconstitutional by the supreme court because, according to the constitution, an organization created by congress cannot have the total power to regulate fair trade independently.  
Despite the nullification of the NIRA, parts of the act were maintained in the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. Similar to how the NIRA advocated for working rights and fair trade, the NLRA legitimized labor unions, while emphasizing collective bargaining and improving employer-to-worker relations. However, once workers were given the right to negotiate their employment and even strike, the strikes turned intense, violent, and unproductive. Consequently, disdain grew between the employers and employees, which caused a a spike in unemployment, from 16.9% to 19%, 3 years later in 1938. FDR was overzealous and quickly took too much power away from businesses in his attempt to rebuild the economy. Although, he was forced to do so because of Hoover’s inability to spend enough money or provide any business regulations, which left the workers poor and powerless, while keeping the employers powerful. 
In an attempt to assist the banking system and decrease the rising unemployment rate, Hoover created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to assist the banking system. Essentially the RFC, run only by the government itself, was created to provide loans to both large and small banks, mortgage companies, agricultural organizations, and railroads. The government-provided loans mainly prevented banks and businesses from immediately going bankrupt, but eventually the most loans went to the banks and businesses that most profited the government. The depression hindered all businesses, but fortunately many important banks were saved by the RFC’s gracious loans. Even with the limited success of the RFC, Hoover did not reach his main objective. The primary reason Hoover wanted to fix and establish a strong banking system was to give businesses enough money to hire more employees, like they did pre-depression. In Hoover’s mind, the businesses would generate enough money to eventually trickle down to workers and their families. Thus, workers would regain the confidence they had before the depression, and would start spending money to rejuvenate the economy. However, that goal was not achieved. Businesses were loaned over $1.5 billion under the RFC in 1932, then $1.8 billion in 1933, yet in 1934 the unemployment rate was still the second highest in history: 21.7%. The businesses had the money to distribute to workers, yet hardly any new jobs were created because the businesses feared the Depression potentially worsening, again, and were too afraid to provide any additional money towards new jobs. While Hoover’s intentions to eventually help the people were good, the way he tried to help them was flawed. Because of his business influenced mindset, it seemed that the only possible way for the people to get financial help was through the circulation of business, when in reality, that did nothing to decrease the unemployment rate. Instead of simply giving money directly to the unemployed, similar to a typical welfare system, Hoover tried to force the American people to be exceptional and independently help themselves, which they were incapable of doing at that time without welfare. 
Herbert Hoover was elected president while the US entered into the worst Depression it had ever seen, and he only made the current situation worse. The economic crisis rose in America because of internal conflicts, and Hoover’s misguided attempt to blame our failures on international affairs only alienated ourselves from the countries that could potentially help our economy. In addition to alienating America from international trade and emphasizing “American exceptionalism”, Hoover attempted to fix the Smoot-Hawley Tariff damage through business. He, in an unsuccessful effort to encourage business, lost countless amounts in unpaid loans to farming industries, increased mass production, manufacturing competition, and eventually bankrupted many farmers. Once FDR was president, he attempted to pay farmers directly for not generating surpluses, but the damage was already done by Hoover and too many farmers were bankrupt to create a strong agricultural economy. Instead of giving money directly to the growing population of unemployed workers and families, Hoover simply advised businesses to not fire workers; they completely ignored his advise because there was no written law or act to tell them they had to. By the time FDR was president, the unemployment rate had risen exponentially for four years under Hoover, and people were living without jobs, and they were in poverty for too long. Towards the end of his term, Hoover attempted to decrease the unemployment rate through funding large businesses and employers, but his business dominated mindset prevented him from expanding the spending deficit. The minuscule amount of money that he gave to eventually help the unemployed never made it to them, as the unemployment rate was still at 23.6%. Hoover left the US economy for FDR worse than it had been when he was inaugurated, which is why it took FDR till after WWII, 10 full years from 1932, to bring the unemployment rate to what it was before the depression originally began. 

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