Herbert Hoover & Great Depression

Title: Herbert Hoover and the Great
The Depression had a calamitous effect
on tens of millions of Americans.
• Homes taken away when mortgage payments
were not made
• Homeless built shantytowns, sarcastically
called “Hoovervilles”
Life savings lost as thousands of banks
• Employers went bankrupt or, to avoid bankruptcy, laid
off the majority of workers
• In rural areas, farmers struggled as produce prices
dropped more than 50%
To make matters worse, a prolonged
drought afflicted the Great Plains
• Region turned into a giant
Dust Bowl
• Result: Agrarian unrest
– Attacked those who tried
to evict them
– Conspired to keep their
• Formed Farmers’
Holiday Association
– Organized demonstrations
Hoover made 2 mistakes in addressing
the problems of the Great Depression
• Encouraged passage of the Hawley-Smoot
– Raised import duties of foreign goods to 40%
• Expulsion of the Bonus Expeditionary Force
– World War I veterans lobbied for early payment of
benefits for their service but bill was defeated
– They refused to leave & squatted in empty
government offices
– Hoover ordered the Army to expel them; cavalry
attacked them with tear gas
This ensured the loss of Hoover’s reelection & the election of Franklin D.
• Argued for a more
interventionist government
• Promised relief payments to
• Inaugural address: Declared
war on the Depression
• “The only thing we have to
fear is fear itself nameless,
unreasoning, unjustified
• Implemented sweeping
reform called the New Deal
• Listen to 1933 speech