Differences between Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt

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26 February 2016

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In reflection there are many differences between the United States’ 31st president Herbert C. Hoover and it’s 32nd president Franklin D. Roosevelt, so much so that their administrations and thoughts on how to run the country existed on two completely different paradigms in relation to their views on the governments role in society. To begin with, the Grand old man and the New dealer start out with a difference in the very foundation of their political standpoints. Herbert Hoover was affiliated with the Republican Party while Franklin D. Roosevelt was a member of the democrat party and their administrations are but a reflection of their affiliations. Herbert Hoover was appointed to office on March 4th of 1933 and Franklin Roosevelt was appointed April 12th of 1945. Hoover ended up serving four years in office as he lost his reelection to Roosevelt himself who later came to serve a total of three terms in office resulting in twelve years of presidency before his death in office. In the administrations of Hoover and Roosevelt it is clear that Roosevelt was more for government involvement than was Hoover however, Hoover had served as the secretary of commerce under the administrations of president Harding and president Coolidge and even in those administrations he believed that the government did not have to be passive and he backed the concept of “associationalism” that envisioned the creation of national organizations of businessmen in particular industries.

This was meant to stabilize industries and promote efficiency in production and marketing but he never truly had an opportunity to implement his plans because less than a year after his inauguration the United States plunged into the Great Depression, sidelining previous ambitions and goals. In new light of his presidency Herbert Hoover implements government economic recovery that granted limited success such as the Smoot-Hawley tariff which hurt his administration and the economy rather than help it. And much of his doctrine for governing the American people was to have the least amount of direct government involvement in the people’s everyday lives. On the other hand Roosevelt was elected into the Great Depression and in his first 100 days in office he implemented a flurry of economic legislation that was part of his “New Deal” domestic program in attempt to alleviate (immediately yet not completely) the crisis looming over the United States.

During his presidency Roosevelt implemented many acts that dealt with the Economy/Jobs, Financing/Banking, Defense/Foreign Affairs, Social issues, Housing and even Environment and even got the nation’s unemployment rate down from 25% to 2%( The Agricultural Adjustment Acts, Emergency Relief Appropriation Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, Farm Credit Act, Federal Emergency Relief Act (FERA), Gold Reserve Act, National Industry Recovery Act (NIRA), National Labor Relations Act, Tennessee Valley Act, The Federal Farm Bankruptcy Act, Glass-Steagall Act, Corporate Bankruptcy Act, Emergency Banking Act, Federal Securities Act, Securities Exchange Act, Veterans Administration Act, Lend-Lease Act, Neutrality Acts, Selective Training and Service Act, Revenue Act of 1932, Revenue Act of 1941, Social Security Act, Farm Mortgage Refinancing Act, Home Owners Loan Act, National Housing Act, and the Reforestation Relief Act).

Roosevelt’s new economic programs brought jobs to hundreds of thousands of men during the Great Depression through rural and agricultural projects that allowed them to once again get a paycheck, which also alleviated the congestion of large urban areas, a feat which overshadows president Hoover’s rural projects such as the Hoover dam. Roosevelt may have implemented many acts such as the Conservation Corps (CCC), Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Tennessee Valley Authority but it wasn’t just his economic reform that allowed for alleviation of the crisis, it was also his cheerful personality. Franklin D. Roosevelt used his optimism to bring trust and public confidence to his administration. And some of the ways he did this was through the “Fireside Chats” which were radio chats which he would use to communicate his programs and plans with the people. Roosevelt’s personality was even shown in his inaugural address where he stated “we have nothing to fear but fear itself” and it was often unknown that he was paralyzed in both of his legs.

Herbert Hoover in contrast was not as outspoken and forth going and he lost the trust of the American people. More radical programs of relief were presented to him but he insisted that his policies were working. Hoover’s popularity began to decline due to his perceived political failures and many Americans thought him personally responsible for the conditions that they were in which led them to begin calling the shantytowns (housing for the unemployed) that they lived in on the outskirts of town, “Hoovervilles” But not only are Hoover and Roosevelt different in their domestic services but they were also different in their foreign affairs as Hoover didn’t have much direct involvement in foreign affairs but he did pass the Hoover-Stimson doctrine which refused to recognize Japan’s conquer of Manchuria and even mediated on behalf of Peru and chile to settle a land dispute as well as sending ships to shanghai in order to protect U.S citizens.

Hoover simply did not have the same pressing issues in foreign affairs as Roosevelt did because WWII occupied a lot of the time that Roosevelt was in office. Initially Roosevelt attempted to keep America out of the war and simply implemented ways to aid in the war effort while still on the home front such as the cash and carry act where munitions had to be bought and picked up from the United States instead of being shipped to the buyer and this improved the economy as European demand for war goods increased. And even though Roosevelt attempted to keep America out of the war, entry was inevitable after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor that Americans themselves wanted revenge for. This led to more foreign intervention and direct involvement that president Hoover didn’t have to endure as president although he did assist in the war effort under president Wilson by supplying the troops with food as well as organizing a large return of Americans from Europe.

In conclusion, President Herbert C. Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt are two president who lived on different sides of the political spectrum. President Hoover was a hands off type of president and was not big on large reform and radical change but rather little government involvement in the affairs of the American people whereas president Roosevelt had more of a direct approach. President Roosevelt believed that the government should have direct involvement in the affairs of the people and it was evident in his administration due to all of the economic legislation that was passed during his terms. In the end they were both presidents who stuck to their respective presidential strategies.

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StudyScroll. (2016). Differences between Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt. [Online]. Available at: https://studyscroll.com/differences-between-herbert-hoover-and-franklin-d-roosevelt-essay [Accessed: 5-Dec-2023]

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