Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Documentary History

By Timothy Walch; Dwight M. Miller | Go to book overview
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Cooperation or Conflict

There is no question that Hoover was bitter about his election loss. He had worked tirelessly, day and night, to combat a financial depression that he called "a war on a thousand fronts." His efforts seemed to matter little to the American people. He could not shake the image of a grim-faced man who sat behind a desk and did little or nothing to respond to a suffering nation. This image could not, however, have been farther from the truth.

The American people knew little of the president's 16-hour days fighting the ravages of economic crisis. Hoover noted that being president at such a time was similar to being a repairman behind a leaky dike. "No sooner is one leak plugged up," he noted Wryly, "then it is necessary to dash over and stop another that has broken out. There is no end to it." But for all his effort and all of his previous accomplishments, Hoover could not engender hope. He had to face that grim fact on election day.

Hoover was not one to feel sorry for himself. A looming crisis over foreign debt required his attention. It was more important, Hoover believed, to join with Roosevelt "in a common cause for the good of the country." Roosevelt would not become president for nearly four months and the nation's economy could not be allowed to drift. The president arranged to meet with the president-elect on November 22 to brief him on the state of the nation and agree on a common plan.

Although the meeting took place as planned, there was little agreement between the two rivals. Roosevelt was reluctant to take any action--or approve

-69-

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