Hoover Presidency-First Seven Months

The first seven months of the Hoover Presidency-March 4, 1929 to the Stock Market Crash on October 24-saw vastly stepped up federal activity in many areas. Hoover believed the Federal Government had a vital role in promoting prosperity and social justice. David Burner’s in his 1979 book, Herbert Hoover-A Public Life reflected his general outlook and philosophy. The new president stated ” …that excess fortunes are a menace to true liberty by the accumulation and inheritance of economic power. Big business flushed with prosperity and a helpful administration must be checked.” Specific actions follow and elaboration later:

-made earned income taxed less than unearned income; shared Lincoln’s view that labor is prior to capital and has a higher value,
–put postmasters under Civil Service rather than patronage;
–obtained release of Communists from jail who had peacefully picketed the White House;
–refused to sign on their S Street residence in Washington a restrictive covenant on Negroes and Jews;
–increased minority employment in the federal workforce;
–increased the budget for Howard University which enabled its law school to become accredited
–tried to persuade foundations to give sharecroppers and tenants the means to buy the land they worked; later FDR made this work under the New Deal
–The Bureau of Prisons drafted eight new bills into law which Congress passed and the President. These bills provided for the construction of new prisons; putting all prisons under the Public Health Service; a federal school for prison guards and putting them under Civil Service; new training programs involving education and industrial skills; more outdoor work on parks and public service jobs;
–loosened restrictions on the sale of alcoholic beverages
–put Veterans Affairs under one bureau and built additional hospitals,
–expanded public works to be detailed later
–established conservation measures for timber, coal, and oil and natural resources
–called conferences and implemented programs for Child Health and Protection
–established Home Loan Bank system to help middle income families purchases; established zoning codes, safety and architectural standards
–aided the American Indian in all aspects of social programs; still enabling them to retain their culture
–constructed numerous facilities to use America’s water resources for power, transportation, and recreation. (Details later)
–signed into law the Agricultural Marketing and the Federal Farm Board to lessen speculation, control surpluses, prevent undue fluctuations in price,
research and teach new farming methods, and to promote cooperatives

Most of the above was before the onset of the Great Depression. This list summarizes his actions for seven months. Does this sound like a Do-Nothing President?

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