What were some of Herbert Hoover's failed attempts to help the economy recover during the Great Depression?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Herbert Hoover has a reputation for having not done anything to try to end the Depression. However, this is undeserved.  He actually did do many things that were meant to help solve the country’s economic problems.  However, his efforts simply did not work.

One thing Hoover did was to ask various people to do things voluntarily to help end the troubles.  He did not believe in having the government tells businesses what to do.  Therefore, he asked business leaders not to drop wages or prices.  He asked people to give more to charity.  Because he did not believe that the federal government should get involved, he asked state governments to spend more on relief efforts.

Hoover also did have the federal government do as much as he thought was constitutional.  He had the government give loans to farmers and to businesses.  He had the government spend some money (more than any other president had) on public works.  He had the government buy surplus farm products to try to keep prices up.  These were all things that he felt were within the legal powers of the federal government.

Hoover, then, tried all the things that he thought were constitutional and economically sensible.  However, most historians now believe that he was wrong on both counts.  Regardless of whether he had the right ideas, his efforts clearly did not end the Depression.

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