How did Franklin Roosevelt's philosophy differ from Herbert Hoover's?
The differences between Herbert Hoover and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's views on economics and social welfare exemplified, to a large extent, the distinctions that have long differentiated conservatives and liberals in the United States. Hoover's views were representative of those who advocated for the primacy of free enterprise and for a minimal role for the federal government in setting economic policy and regulating business. He was a firm believer in self-sufficiency and in what is known as the laissez faire school of thought, which seeks to place firm limits on government intervention in the marketplace. By the time of Roosevelt's election, however, the effects of the Great Depression no longer lent themselves to the kind of philosophical approach represented in the person of President Hoover. President Roosevelt, in contrast to his predecessor, recognized that the role of the federal government had to increase in order to help the country begin to emerge from the depths to which it had sank after the stock market crash of 1929. Roosevelt's New Deal represented a massive intervention in the economy and in financial matters through its regulatory policies and public works projects, for example, the Tennessee Valley Authority. As important, Roosevelt's support for the establishment of the Social Security Administration represented a major departure from Hoover's belief in self-sufficiency.
The differences between President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s philosophies and those of Herbert Hoover can be seen clearly in how they handled the Great Depression. The world together with the American economy experienced downturns less than a year into Hoover’s presidential term. The President hoped that the situation was going to improve but when the economy edged into the depression, Hoover developed and employed a number of strategies to manage the situation. Hoover did not believe in direct influence by the federal government on market prices or controlling businesses. The President rejected proposals to manipulate the value of the currency since he viewed such strategies as leaning towards socialism. Hoover believed it was possible to improve the economy without interfering with American individualism and this position also rejected direct aid to citizens. His approach to the situation was received with much dissatisfaction among the population who instead voted in Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt promised a different approach through the “New Deal”. He instituted direct funding for most of the projects and believed in deficit funding instead of volunteerism as was the case with Hoover. In summary, Roosevelt and Hoover differed majorly in their financial philosophies especially with regards to jump-starting the American economy during the depression.
The major difference was that Roosevelt felt that government spending to help people who were in economic trouble was much more acceptable than Hoover thought it was. Hoover believed in the idea of "rugged individualism" in which people are largely responsible for their own welfare. If people got in economic trouble, private charity was the best way to help them. The government should not be in the business of helping people financially. Roosevelt had different beliefs. At least in a crisis as great as the Depression, he believed, government should be willing to step in and help people who had become poor. Roosevelt's philosophy, then, was much more liberal than that of Hoover.
Hoover's politcial beliefs stemmed from his idea of rugged individualism. He believed that success comes through individual effort and private enterprise. He also believed that private charities and local communities, not the federal government, could best provide for those in need.
Roosevelt promised to put the US political and economic system at "the service of the people". He promised a "new deal for the American people," a series of 15 relief and recovery measures.