The Great Depression in the United States was one of the most influential events on the two U.S. presidents of that time. Herbert Hoover was the president during the Depression until 1933 and Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the president from 1933 until 1945. Both of these presidents had radically different approaches toward this crisis.
Hoover had a laid back "let the economy fix itself" attitude toward the depression. Hoover thought that any government intervention would only prolong the depression and demoralized the citizens. Hoover also believed that if the government assisted the people would become dependent on the government for aid whether there was a economic problem or not.
Hooverís presidency wasnít so horrible at the beginning though. Hoover launched a successful presidential campaign and easily defeated his Democratic opponent. Hoover believed that he could bring new means to end all poverty in America and bring peace and economic prosperity to the country. To begin his dream to end poverty he turned his attention to the agricultural depression that had been plaguing farmers since the early Ď20s. He started the Agricultural Marketing Act, which was passed by Congress in 1929. The Agricultural Marketing Act started the idea of farmers starting groups or cooperatives to increase efficiency while the government purchased the surplus crops.
For better or for worse, Hooverís dreams were destroyed with the stock market crash in October of 1929 which was the herald of the Great Depression. Since he didnít want people to become dependent on the government for help he refused to mobilize the government resources to aid the people. Then, in 1932, after millions had already lost their jobs and some were actually starving, Hoover was easily defeated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his "new deal."
Roosevelt was a huge contrast to his predecessor. While Hoover was dour and glum throughout the depression, Roosevelt was as close to happy as one could be. His smiles and "fireside chats" brought new hope to the American people. When people saw Hoover he wasnít much of a sign for hope and an end to the depression. However, Rooseveltís attitude gave people hope that America would come out of the depression just fine.
There was another large difference in the way these two presidents handled the Great Depression. Hoover had a wait and see attitude. He thought that the Great Depression would pass like the ones in the past had. His gamble didnít pay off at all however, as this depression was much worse than any other depression in American history. Roosevelt had a completely opposite approach. Roosevelt started many government programs to aid the American people. FDR started programs to help unemployed Americans, retired people, floundering corporations, and people who had work but didnít earn enough money to survive. Rooseveltís ideas worked and he kept the depression at bay with the cost of a skyrocketing national debt. Rooseveltís programs aided the country until World War II ended the depression for good.
Overall the events of the Great Depression displays that Roosevelt was a much better leader that Herbert Hoover. FDR showed a genuine compassion for the American people and their well-being.