Wednesday, April 8, 2009

So Mr. President, What Did You Do During Your Term In Office? (1)

Topic: The Herbert C. Hoover Administration : Year 1929 #1

Hoover was a liberal Republican who won the 1928 Presidential election against Democratic nominee Al Smith of New York. His campaign promised "A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage." Hoover made only a few speeches. In his acceptance speech he said,"We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of a land." " We have not yet reached the goal, but, given a chance to go foward with the policies of the last eight years, we shall with the help of God be in sight of the day when poverty will be banished from the nation....""the poorhouse is vanishing from among us." When the crash came a few months after his inauguration, the President was blamed for the depression although it was world wide and as unstoppable as a hurricane. He summoned to the White House for conferences the industrial, commercial, financial and labor leaders. He kept reassuring the people that "Prosperity was just around the corner."

When the stock Market crashed seven months after he took office in 1929, Hoover was doomed to the same obloquy or worse that Van Buren faced in the first national depression nearly a century earlier. At first neither Hoover nor anyone else had any notion of how bad the Great Depresion was to be. Very soon more than twelve million Americans were out of work and businesses were going bankrupt by the thousand. Hoover tried hard to do something about the Depression. Neither he nor his advisors, or the best economists of the country knew what to do.

March 4, 1929
Herbert Clark Hoover takes the oath of office as the 31st President of the United States.

March 12, 1929
Eight days after coming into the White House, President Hoover announced that there would be no leases or disposal of government oil lands, except those which might be mandatory by Congressional acts. In other words, there would be complete conservation for government oil in his administration.

March 15, 1929
President Hoover amplified this statement, pointing out that 20,000 permits had been issued on public lands under which there had been no compliance with the law requiring active drilling, and they were held simply for speculation. Under his order, permits over hundreds of thousands of acres were canceled, and the rights were returned to the government.

Shortly after winning the election, President-elect Herbert Hoover sets out on a goodwill tour of Latin America. Throughout his term as president Hoover slowly but steadily shows that the United States has embarked on a new course and is trying to be a "good neighbor," a term he coins. The Good Neighbor policy is continued by his successor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and is promoted actively by FDR's secretary of state, Cordell Hull.

March 25, 1929
To demonstrate his interest in governmental economy. President Hoover donates the horses in the White House stable to the U.S.Army.

April 16, 1929
Congress, convened in extraordinary session to consider proposals for farm relief and tariff changes, hears President Hoover suggest the establishment of a farm board with sufficient funds to assist farms in setting up cooperatives. He also calls for increasing specific tariffs to help certain ailing industries.

To be continued: Hoover Administration 1929 #2

Sources For Information: The American Presidents by David C. Whitney; Reader's Digest Association, Inc. (1996), The New York Public Library American History Desk Reference; A Stonesong Press Book (1997) The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover, Macmillan Company (1952); The Bicentennial Almanac Edited by Calvin D. Linton, Ph.D. Publishers, Thomas Nelson Inc. (1975) The Presidents of the United States Vol 2, A.S. Barnes & Co. (1973)

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