Who took more the liberal approach, President Hoover or President Roosevelt?

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rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If we are using "liberal" in the modern sense, which generally is taken to mean someone who believes that the government should play an active role in economic matters, then Franklin Roosevelt took by far the more liberal approach. Indeed, his New Deal is often understood as the foundation of modern liberalism. Roosevelt's approach to the Great Depression included many relief efforts, including the Federal Emergency Relief Administration and recovery programs like the National Industrial Recovery Act. Both of these marked direct interventions on the part of the federal government to boost the economy and ameliorate the effects of the depression on American businesses and individuals. Perhaps the most important aspects of the New Deal were attempts to establish structural reforms that would regulate the economy in such a way as to stabilize the economy. These included the Social Security Act, and the National Labor Relations Act. These measures, and the philosophy behind them--namely, that the federal government should, to a limited extent, manage the extremes of a capitalist economy--are at the heart of modern liberalism. So FDR's approach was far more liberal than that of Hoover, who generally advocated very limited intervention in the economy.

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