How did Hoover's Depression-era programs reflect his belief in rugged individualism and self-reliance?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Hoover believed that people should help themselves rather than depending on the government to help them.  For this reason, he tended to oppose programs in which the government gave money or jobs to the people.  He tried to end the Depression by persuading people that things were going to get better and by getting businesses to voluntarily maintain employment and wages.  In this way, he reflected his belief in rugged individualism as opposed to dependence on the government.

However, we shouldn't caricature Hoover.  Later in his presidency, he did start to do a great deal to get the government to help the people.  He got Congress to spend a great deal on public works projects even as opponents criticized him for running up a deficit.

Hoover was not eager to have the government help the people because he believed in rugged individualism.  Eventually, however, he did provide government help.

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