Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt

Herbert C. Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt were contemporaries and
outstanding Americans of thefirst half of the 20th century who both rose
to the highest political office of their country. They are, however,
remembered in history for widely contrasting reasons. While Hoover was a
one-term President who presided over the most serious economic crisis in
the country’s history;;;the Great Depression;;;Roosevelt is the only US
President to have been elected 4 times and is gratefully remembered for
having pulled his country out of the Depression. Some people believe that
Hoover was unfairly held responsible for the Great Depression and they may
well be right but there is no escaping the fact that some of his policies
worsened the economic crisis and it was left to the outstanding leadership
of FDR and his New Deal policies that lifted the spirits of a dejected
nation and reversed the downward spiral of a seemingly endless recession.
When the US stock market crashed[1] in October 1929 taking the wind
out of the US economy, Herbert Hoover had been in office for less than a
year; hence his Presidency cannot be held solely responsible for the
downturn. Hoover, nonetheless, was unable to gauge the seriousness of the
situation, believing that the problem was a temporary “business cycle” that
would correct itself. Due to his shy personality, he could not impress the
public with the need for calm or reverse the rising “tide of fear” about
the future of the economy. (Leibovich 107). Hoover’s policies did not help
either as he stubbornly stuck to a policy of “balanced budgets” and
proceeded to increase taxes and cut back governmental spending at a time
when exactly the opposite monetary policy was required. Hoover’s famous
“rugged individualism” and his almost dogmatic belief in “mutual self-help
and voluntary giving” prevented him from the need of the ho…

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