Was the Great Depression Hoover's fault?

Expert Answers
rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Great Depression was not President Herbert Hoover's fault. All the factors that led to the Depression were in play when he took the oath of office of the Presidency in 1929. The farming crisis and slowdown in manufacturing that many point to as crucial factors in the onset of the Depression dated back to the mid-twenties, and the blame for the rising consumer debt and structural economic changes that led to the Depression can scarcely be blamed on him. What might be argued, however, is that Hoover failed to take drastic action in response to the Depression. In particular, he declined to engage in direct aid and relief for Americans affected by the economic downturn. While his response was more robust than is commonly believed (or as believed at the time by those who lived in "Hoovervilles"), he certainly did not engage in the kinds of sweeping government action to combat the spread of the Depression that his successor Franklin Roosevelt did. As a result, his name has become associated with the Depression, perhaps a bit unfairly.