Hoover's Depression Policies
FOR a year after the depression struck, President Hoover seems to have had no other notion than that our hard times were engendered by our own economic recklessness. Then he began to speak of over‐ production of staples in other countries as having led to foreign slump and decreased demand for American exports. There was world-wide depression, but at this stage he felt that measures being taken for American recovery would help extricate the others. His optimism in early months of the depression is well remembered; some said later that he was naive and self-deceived, others that he was disingenuous in minimizing the destructive forces in order to save the credit of his administration. In any event, it was not until the depression not only failed to show natural recuperation or to yield to remedies adopted, but deepened, that President Hoover laid blame for American misfortunes at the door of foreigners.
Accusing this country first was what was to be expected. The initial crash was here. Hoover took too long to see that the stock market debacle was leading into industrial stagnation, but it is to be remembered that nearly all shared his surprise at the collapse of speculation, and that few, for months afterward, would admit the dismal sequel in general economic breakdown. His substantial fault was in not recognizing, after most others did, that the American depression started the active contagion, and that American high tariff policy spread and intensified it and delayed world recovery.
President Hoover's first theory of the depression—that it was