Fdhoov Essay Research Paper President Franklin D

Fdhoov Essay, Research Paper

President Franklin D. Roosevelt is commonly thought of as aliberal and President Herbert C. Hoover as a conservative. The validity ofthese accusations, however, is uncertain. Before classifying each president in the categories of”liberal” and “conservative,” it must first be understood what is meant by eachterm. During the time of the Great Depression, a liberal was usually associated with”political equality, free speech, free assembly, free press, and equality of opportunity.” Itwas directly derived from the word “liberty” which meant freedom. Today, the definitionchanges drastically. A liberal is someone who thinks government can solve problems, andsomeone who trusts government. They believe in more government spending (such asin social plans) and are not turned off because of raised taxes, knowing fullwell the money taken away will do the country good. Frankly, liberals believe in moregovernment in the daily lives of people. Conservatives believe in directly the opposite ofwhat liberals do. They believe heavily in the free enterprise system (privateownership). Their economics rely on the theory of supply and demand and profit motive. Their lassiez-faire policy was introduced in a book The Wealth of Nationsby Adam Smith. This economic policy can be seen directly in the rest of whatconservatives believe in. They are resistant to change, being strong believers of traditionalvalues. They thought money should be spent on defense, not social programs. In a nutshell, they want government to stay out of people’s lives. The modern definitions ofeach term will be used in categorizing Roosevelt and Hoover. President Hoover, a strong believer in traditional values,can definitely be described as a conservative. His initial “hands-off” policy indealing with the Great Depression show this well. He believed in the business cycle andthat the country would pull its self out of the depression. He did not want to usegovernment power in dealing with this catastrophe, mainly because of his predecessor’stradition of lassiez-faire. Hoover stated in an election speech, “Every step of bureaucratizing of the business of our country poisons the very roots of liberalism (olddefinition).” As government gets bigger, there are needed more offices, agencies andbureau’s to handle affairs. This bureaucracy, he said, would take the Americanpeople’s freedom right from them. He felt a great need to take government out ofpeoples lives more then ever. Even after the depression hit, Hoover was convinced thatgovernment could do nothing to help the country out this cataclysm. He said in 1930,”Economic depression cannot be cured by legislative action or executivepronouncement.” He felt that no matter what happens, government actions can do no good forthe economy, and that only the people can pull themselves out. As the depression worsened, Hoover began to think he shouldnot sit back and watch the depression thorough, but help out as much as he can toquicken the arrival of prosperity in the business cycle. While this government action wasone of liberal proportions, Hoover is still classifies as a conservative because of his long terms goals having conservatism written all over them. Drastic times call fordrastic measures, and he felt the only way to preserve tradition was help out the people. He first started helping out by merely encouraging voluntary groups in the community

to help out the less fortunate. He felt that “government -national, state and local-can join with the community in such programs and do its part.” He put people to workin construction and doubled the government expenditure. He favored “temporaryexpansion of these activities in aid unemployment during this winter.” While no otherpresident had ever participated in the people’s lives as much as Hoover, he was stillconsidered a conservative because of his goals for the end of the depression. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt could also be termed a conservative. In anelection speech in 1932, Roosevelt attacked the Hoover administration for theirincreased government spending and involvement in people’s lives. He said, “It (theHoover administration) is committed to the idea that we ought to center control ofeverything in Washington as rapidly as possible.” This highly liberal actions wouldappall any true conservative, just as it did Roosevelt. He proposed a twenty-fivepercent cut of federal spending, abolish the “innumerable boards and thosecommissions” and balance the budget. In his second election campaign, he spoke ofhimself as a true conservative. He said, “the true conservative is the man who has areal concern for injustice and takes thought against the day of reckoning.” Even in theheart of the depression, he still felt himself to be a great conservative. He perhapsdefended his title as a conservative best when he stated “worthy institutions can beconserved only by adjusting them to the changing time.” When Roosevelt formed arebuttal against his New Deal as being liberal, he perhaps best described his politicalcareer by saying “I am that kind of conservative because I am that kind of liberal.” Roosevelt’s New Deal was perhaps the most liberal set of government actionsthis country will ever see. While the goals of this New Deal were liberal, it was all putinto effect to preserve conservatism. The country was so down and out, something hadto be done to pull itself out so the economy and the people could return to their normal,post-depression lives. Government seemed to have the only answer. Much of the NewDeal contradicted itself with what Roosevelt said he would do in his campaignspeeches. He said he would balance the budget, yet his devotion of John MaynardKeynes idea of deficit spending led this country to almost triple its indebtednessbetween 1929 and 1941. Perhaps Roosevelt did realize at the time what the true,horrendous condition of the country was during the time. He knew he had to act fast, inorder to keep the country “alive”, and capable of living without government support. Heestablished agencies and boards like the CCC, CWA, and PWA to provide jobs. Healso provided loans to farmers and established the AAA to help them with their farmingdifficulties. He hoped that if he could give the people a boost, they might just get out ofthis depression and be able to support themselves, without government help. If hecould end the depression with these “liberal actions” and make it so lassiez-faire couldreign supreme again, Roosevelt would be happy. To say that President Franklin D. Roosevelt is a liberal and that PresidentHerbert Hoover was a conservative is only half-true. Both men lead their countrythrough the perils of the depression with conservative goals in mind, and both men hadto resort to liberals actions to preserve conservatism. Roosevelt best described himselfand Hoover as being “that kind of conservative because (of being) that kind of liberal.”