The Two Approaches to the Great Depression

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The catastrophic stock market crash on October 24th, 1929 brought about widespread panic and the onset of incomparable consequences for America. From this crash, the Great Depression arose which was a long period of increased unemployment, poverty and deflation. The onset of the Depression left society blaming the government and seeking relief from the increased levels of poverty. Due to society being worried and troubled, the government, in which Republican Herbert Hoover was president, took a conservative approach toward reconciling America’s problems, while Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt chose the liberal approach by establishing the New Deal. These two approaches started a division of the country and debates began over which approach would have the longer lasting, better effect on America. There was disappointment in most cases since distinct aspects of each philosophy only targeted specific Americans who were in certain situations. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal was claimed by some to only help he poor society, while other’s claimed the New Deal went too far and helped everyone and some even criticized the program for not going far enough. These views were seen in the articles in “Reading the American Past.” Another dispute between these two philosophies was the government’s role in Republican view of Laissez Faire, where the Democratic point of view incorporated the New Deal. There is great disagreement during this hard time after the Great Depression between citizens and their government. In this time it seems the society is thinking on an individual level, which implies that businesses will do what they have to in order to survive. The government should keep greater control over businesses in order to keep any sort of equality. In regards to personal economy, it appears that a more conservative approach should be initiated and in Document 24-5, the thought of every man for himself arises. Both philosophies have certain benefits fro different circumstances. Regardless of which philosophy one sides with, there will always be controversy since it is absurd to think that every citizen can and will be pleased. It is logical to say that the government should work towards the goal of benefiting the greatest number of citizens in a fair manner and to be prepared and accept that those citizens who do not and will not benefit, will voice their opinions and complaints will be made. Herbert Hoover is a representative of the Republican conservative side of the debate in the context of which philosophy will benefit America in this time of distress and help to decrease the amount of citizens who are facing poverty. In the Republican Document 24-5, Herbert Hoover and Minnie Hardin criticize Roosevelt’s New Deal. Hoover analyzes the New Deal programs and relates them to enemy nations. For example, “I refused national plans to put the government into business in competition with citizens. That was born of Karl Marx.” By this being said, there is an understanding that the New Deal was supportive of anti-American ideas. It seems as if Hoover purposely worded the statements he made the way he did, to make the New Deal sound like a communist scheme. In retrospect, I believe the New Deal was a positive idea in that it attempted to bring a level of equality to America. However, the middle class was left with the least amount of benefits which resulted in criticisms and outrage toward the government. In Minnie Hardin’s portion of the article, it was obvious she believes it is unfair that the middle class tax payers have a hard time paying taxes for the poor, and the poor do not seem to even be attempting to try and make their lives better, because they are mooching off the help they receive through the New Deal programs. I would have to agree with Hardin here, because there are some citizens, who expect to get money from tax payers, live off that money and therefore go on their way not trying to better...
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