Assess the Impact of Government Intervention in Ending the Great Depression in the Usa

The Great Depression began with the Wall Street Crash of 1929, marking the beginning of a decade filled with high unemployment, poverty and a loss of confidence in the economy. Industries and firms suffered greatly particularly in the agriculture, manufacturing and automobile sectors. The governments of the time led by Republican Herbert Hoover (1929-1932) and Democrat Franklin D Roosevelt (1933-1945) were critiqued heavily by society on how they responded to the depression. Their methods of intervention have attracted a number of views over the years in how effective they were in ending the depression. Hoover was seen as following a somewhat ‘laissez-faire’ attitude when it came to the depression, highlighted in his limited attempts to halt this downward economic spiral. On the other hand, Roosevelt took immediate steps in trying to end the depression has soon as he came into office.

When the depression began in 1929, Hoover was positive that the natural economic market forces would fix this downward spiral, therefore minimal government interference was required. He held the idea that the ‘spiritual resources of the American people’ were linked to a free market and economic prosperity. He believed that relief measures were strictly for the local authorities and that private charities should take care of the needy and unemployed. He continued to take this position in 1931, where he believed that America had reached a turning point in the depression. He maintained his policy of a balanced budget and minimal government intervention. However, despite his stance, it was clear that Hoover could no longer remain inactive and turn a blind eye to the massive problems that were facing the USA. He indeed made many attempts to combat the depression, more than any president had done before. The problem was that no previous president had faced a depression of this magnitude.  

Hoover’s administration set up a Farm Board to help keep the prices of farm produce steady....