The Republican policies of the 1920s Essay
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The Republican policies of the 1920s were pro-business and benefited big businesses and wealthy businessmen but little to help the ordinary citizens. These policies included a Laissez-faire approach to businesses so there was less government regulation in businesses; High tariffs which protected American companies form international competition and a lower income tax for the wealthy. These Republican policies that only benefited wealthy business owners, was one of the reasons for Roosevelt’s election in 1933.
However, other reasons such as the public’s dislike for Hoover and the effects of the great depression also caused Roosevelt’s election in 1933. Roosevelt’s election in 1933 was a reaction to Republican policies of the 1920s. In this essay, the reaction to Republican policies will and the public’s view of Hoover will be explored which were the main reason for Roosevelt’s election in 1933.
Although the 1920s republican policies largely benefited big businesses and caused a rise in productivity as well as encouraged the growth of business in America. The policies did little to help ordinary people and even caused some people to lose their prosperity. An example of an industry that did not flourish from the Republican policies is the agricultural industry. Because of the introduction of new farming equipment such as tractors and combine harvesters the yield of farmers increased. This was a problem as it meant that farmers had to sell their products for less as there was a surplus of food. Farmers had to borrow money from backs to try and survive and more and more of the farmers got into debt and had to sell their farms. These farmers became ‘hobos’ and travelled around America looking for work. By 1928 half of US farmers were living in poverty and because of Hoover’s view of ‘rugged individualism’ the government did little to help these farmers and more and more fell into poverty.
Because of this, farmers were swayed away from republicanism as it didn’t benefit them and most of them voted for Roosevelt in 1928. Black people were also affected badly by the 1920s republican policies as most of them lived in the South in the midst of segregation in poverty so millions moved to the north but there was no were to live and ‘ghettos’ developed. And because of the influx of people in the North looking for work, businesses hired them as cheap labour and with the lack of labour unions, workers rights were abused. Because of this 60% of Americans were under the poverty line and could not afford to buy the consumer goods available which led to the weakening of the American economy. Industry was also hurt as less people were confident in the economy so spent their money less causing sales to decline. As a result industries either had to shut down or to fire employees to cut down on costs which means people had less money to spend on goods which decreased sales even further. Because of this even more people were unemployed under Republican policies.
The Republican policies also may have been one of the main reasons that caused the Wall Street crash which was one of the reasons for the great depression. Republican policies such as the high tariffs led to high counter-tariffs so business could not sell their products abroad so they were not making enough profit. Because of the Republican view of laissez-faire, the president’s job was to leave businesses alone. Because of this businesses were allowed to mass produce with cheap labor and high profit. This was good for business owners but workers were paid little and their work environment was also bad. Because businesses were doing so well, lots of Americans started buying shares with money they had got from loans in the bank thinking they would get more money out of it. Later other investors began to wonder if the shares were really worth that much and started selling them for cash, not credit. And because of the influx of goods businesses couldn’t sell the goods they had leading to a decline in profits. This led to the wall street crash which was one of the main causes of the great depression.
Hoover also lost the vote of war veterans because of the way he handled the Bonus Army. Because of the Great Depression, veterans wanted an advanced bonus but Hoover wouldn’t allow it. So, a group of veterans and their families called the \”Bonus Expeditionary Force\”, protested at federal buildings in Washington D.C on July 28th, 1932. Hoover wanted to get rid of this protest and enlisted the help of his Secretary of War to remove them. The protesters were driven out by the use of tear gas and guns and troops even set fire to one of the protester’s encampments. After the incident, Hoover publically thanked God that Americans still knew how to take of mobs which lost him the veterans and their supporter’s votes and they were more inclined to vote for Roosevelt. This played a part in the election of Roosevelt as it publically showed Hoover to be cold-hearted and made many more inclined to vote for Roosevelt instead.
Hoover also happened to be in power during the great depression and his response to it had him named as the ‘do nothing’ president. The republican belied of ‘rugged individualism’ meant that people were expected to just deal with it and sort out their own problems. Because of this, Hoover didn’t try to improve the situation as much as he should have. Hoovers promise of ‘a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage’ was not fulfilled and Americans began believe that Hoover was full of empty promises. Hoovers constant promise that better days around the corner led to peoples dislike for him. Furthermore the increase in homeless people in America led to shanty towns being made all of America which were named ‘Hoovervilles’ as people blamed Hoover for the poverty. Roosevelt on the other offered a New Deal for the American people and promised action to provide employment and relief from poverty. Roosevelt was very enthusiastic and full of charisma and the people liked him. He did a whistle-stop tour across the US giving hope to Americans everywhere. Roosevelt’s campaign strategy may have also been a key part of his election in 1933. He was the first president to utilize the radio to get his message across to the ordinary families all across the US. Supporters of Roosevelt helped him with idea and helped him write his speeches and Roosevelt was known to ask the opinion of experts leading people to believe he was for the people and for businesses like Hoover. Roosevelt appealed the people who were poverty-stricken and were looking for hope. He promised after his election he would create jobs using the federal government and regulate businesses to stop the high unemployment rates and prevent the Great Depression from ever happening again.
To conclude, Roosevelt won the election in 1933 because of Hoover’s unpopularity and the overall dislike people had for him. Although, reaction to the Republican policies of the 1920s was one of the reasons for Roosevelt’s victory it was not the main reason. This is because although the Republican policies did lead to economic downfall for many people and only helped the minority of Americans, Hoover’s lack of a response to the poverty and his response to the great depression and the bonus army led to people thinking he was an incompetent and cold-hearted president leading to his title as the ‘do nothing president’. Americans were more willing to vote for anyone but Hoover and Roosevelt represented a reliable president that gave hope to millions of Americans.