How did Hoover's treatment of the Bonus Army affect his standing with the public?This chapter is about when Great Depression begins.

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cbrown22 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hoover's public image and approval ratings, already low due to his inability to adequately address the Great Depression, sank even lower after the Bonus Army March in July 1932. Initial blame perhaps lays with Congress, as they were the ones who failed to approve the Wright Patman Bonus Bill, which would have provided the World War I veterans with $1,000 cash bonuses that they weren't scheduled to receive until 1945. The House of Representatives actually passed the bill; however, the Senate overwhelmingly voted against it.

Once the bill was defeated, Hoover sent troops and police officers to disperse the Bonus Army. When many veterans remained in the makeshift camps they had built in DC, officers shot and killed two of the veteran protesters. General MacArthur is perhaps even more to blame than Hoover for the continued violence. Twice Hoover ordered MacArthur not to pursue the protesters, yet MacArthur ignored Hoover's directives. Mac Arthur argued that the marchers, most of whom were fleeing or had fled, were attempting to overthrow the government, and he pursued them out of the Capitol, despite Hoover's demands to end the pursuit. During this "military operation" to drive the Bonus Army out of the Capitol, one wife of a veteran suffered a miscarriage and an infant died after being exposed to tear gas.

Hoover received much of the blame for the violence, as he first ordered troops to disperse the marchers, and public opinion was sharply against him. Many Americans were suffering from the impact of the Depression and sympathized with the Bonus Army, believing Hoover and the government had done little-to-nothing to try to end the Depression. Unfortunately for Hoover, he was up for reelection and had to campaign throughout that summer and fall. Franklin Roosevelt easily defeated Hoover in the 1932 election.

jilllessa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hoover's treatment of the Bonus Army greatly hurt his standing with the public.  The Bonus Army gets its name from the Bonus that these World War I vets were promised. They were promised a delayed cash bonus at the end of the war.  This delay was alright during the 1920's when times were good, but when these veterans were suffering from poverty in the Depression, they really wanted and needed this money.  They began to ask President Hoover to give them their money early.  When Hooper refused, they gathered together and about 15,000 of them marched on Washington in 1932.  With little or no resources, they were forced to camp out within the city of Washington building their own little Hooverville.  President Hoover was not amused and he not only refused to help them, he sent Douglas MacArthur after them with tanks.  MacArthur set their camp aflame and forced them from Washington.  This picture of Hoover sending the army after down and out former soldiers drew much criticism and greatly increased his reputation as uncaring and unfeeling.  It also greatly hurt his reelection bid that year, helping FDR into office.

revolution | Student

The Bonus Army consists of World War One had-fought veterans and their families, which Hoover, the US President them to give them a delayed money "bonus" after the war has ended.

But, things went awry for them when Great Depression struck the continent. Many of them had been retrenched from jobs, so being unemployed, have not enough income to support themselves or their families, suffering from widespread poverty, so they became very agitated and asked President Hoover to give them their bonus earlier. The President wave away their pleas, so they got very angry. They gathered together, about 17,000 hit the streets of Washington, DC in spring and summer of 1932 to protest against his decision. Most of them camped in Hooverville on the Anacostoa Flats.

President Hoover was angry with their protests, so he order a police evacuation of the veterans. Led by Douglas MacArthur, supported by six army tanks, they pelted the veterans with bayonets and adamite gas, and force them out of their camps, killing and wounding 100 of them.

Many civil servants saw this appealing scenario and was very disgusted and utterly shamed by Hoover's rash decision. His popularity rate plummeted after this incident and he was criticized for killing his own people, showing his cruel and cold-blooding interior. He was voted out of power, and Franklin D. Roosevelt became the next President of United States.