The Origins and Development of Federal Crime Control Policy: Herbert Hoover's Initiatives

By James D. Calder | Go to book overview

Chapter 2
From Campaign to Crash:
The Honeymoon

The Presidential campaign is a time of education of the people upon the issues of the day.1

The 1928 presidential campaign marked a new day in federal crime policy. Neither crime nor the failure of criminal justice had been raised to national issues in previous campaigns. The first eight months of the Hoover presidency could be characterized as a honeymoon of popular support. This period ended with the stock market crash in late October 1929. Between March 4 and the crash, however, Hoover's enthusiasm for reform and progress was endless. Expressing mild concern about inflated popular expectations,2 Hoover forthrightly articulated positions and moved with high energy to complete his objectives. Despite later absorbing involvement in economic recovery initiatives, Hoover tenaciously pursued achievements in federal justice administration. He was convinced that social progress could proceed only under conditions of efficient and fair justice.

From Hoovers first days on the campaign trail in August 1928 through December 1929, first as candidate then as president, Hoover laid out the direction and shape of his crime and justice plans. Premises were openly revealed, although not always in explicit terms. First, social reforms--including education, child health, and housing--were linked to reforms in justice administration. Second, moderate federal leadership could engender new cooperation between individuals, communities, and professionals. Third, reforms in justice administration could spring from a plentiful supply of intellec

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