1 Jul 2022


Hoover administration and volunteerism during the Great Depression

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Academic level: College

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Voluntarism refers to a theory in philosophy that indicates that the will power of individuals overrides their emotions or reason in decision making. People opt to do things that they prefer doing without any form of coercion. The United States stock market crashed in 1929 during the early months of Hoover presidency. The country has been plunged to one of its memorable economic depressions. Hover encouraged labor harmony. He also campaigned for local aids in public works. Further, he promoted cooperation between the state and the business community in order to harmonize prices. He focused on appealing for funds outside the government (The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, 2016)

In his tenure Hoover had a strong belief that the government did not have to force citizens to do things. It would do more harm to the American liberties than the good it would have on the society. He had the hope that people would be willing to work on their own to end the depression (Digital History, 2016). 

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During the great depression volunteerism did not help in ending the depression. It was a week assumption that people would voluntarily engage in helping the state and public works in order to avert the depression. This was the reason as to why Hoover resulted to focusing on business and cutting off the direct aid relief. It is in this context that the purpose and value of volunteerism diminishes. In particular, during this period, the economy continued to decline in spite of the call for volunteerism. This was an indication that the philosophy of volunteerism has many limitations. Not everyone will be willing to volunteer in activities. Many people focus on cost benefit analyses and if they are not adversely affected by the challenge, they find no reason to intervene. Hoover was thus misguided in adoption of the policy and should have focused on his later policy of reviving businesses. 


Digital History (2016). Herbert Hoover and the depression. Retrieved from 


The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History (2016). Herbert Hoover on the Great 

Depression and New Deal 1931–1933. Retrieved from https://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/new-deal/resources/herbert-hoover-great-depression-and-new-deal-1931%E2%80%931933 

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