Herbert Hoover

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Re: Herbert Hoover

Postby Carebear » 23 Apr 2016, 08:21

ruffdove wrote:While we certainly cannot say that a strict non-interventionist president would have any fared better, we can question the motives of a teacher who tells his students the fib that Hoover was a strict non-interventionist president and further leads them to the bogus conclusion that Hoover's failure was therefore a failure of non-interventionist economic policies.


Based on a very short third-hand statement, I think it is a bit premature to start questioning a teacher's motives. It is common to discuss decisions made by leaders, the probable impact of those decisions, and alternative choices. It would not be unexpected for the teacher to present the current common view of those decisions (or even more commonly the view at the time the teacher received their education). It all depends on how this was presented to the students. We do not know exactly how that was done.

While many teachers obtain postgraduate degrees, or graduate degrees in North America, not all of them do. Even for those that do, political economic theory is only one aspect of history and The Great Depression is one particular event that some people have spent a lifetime in specialization. To expect any given teacher to be an expert on it is not reasonable. A rote restatement of what they were taught should be the most expected outcome (precluding nefarious intent).

The Great Depression was a very significant economic event that occurred during the Hoover presidency. A lot of analysis has gone into the subject over a great many years. This is not some light topic that can be fully presented in the short time that is available in the survey-like history courses that are part of the primary and secondary curriculum.
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Re: Herbert Hoover

Postby ruffdove » 23 Apr 2016, 14:40

@Carebear - that's why I asked what level this lesson was being taught at. If it's a college professor, then it's either an unlikely level of incompetence or an agenda. If it's a high school or grade school teacher, then it's probably just parroting from the woefully poor history textbooks we have in the US.

But either way, the students are being taught the wrong lesson. And that's a shame. Good for the young lady who called the teacher out on it.
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Re: Herbert Hoover

Postby I Love Italy » 23 Apr 2016, 19:12

To clarify a bit:

This is being taught in a high school United States History class by a teacher with a degree in (I believe) foreign relations.

And now that I think about it a bit more, some mention was made of some of Hoover's failed attempts to alleviate the Depression (particularly Holly-Smoot). However, the theme of the lessons on Hoover seemed to be "Hoover didn't do enough to stop the Depression, and it was Roosevelt's presidency, World War II particularly, but also aided by the New Deal, that got us out of the Depression."

And sorry again if my questions seem stupid, or something that could be cleared up by a google search. I have tried googling the topic several times, but all I get are conflicting viewpoints mostly supported by facts. I don't have the time, or expertise, to look into the facts and see which are "more correct", or even more correctly used in context. I would love to read some books on the matter, and likely will over the summer, but don't have the time at the moment, and was just wondering if any of you could help clarify the matter for me. So thanks to everyone who's responded, and sorry if I've been a bit of a pain.
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Re: Herbert Hoover

Postby Carebear » 23 Apr 2016, 19:16

ruffdove wrote:@Carebear - that's why I asked what level this lesson was being taught at. If it's a college professor, then it's either an unlikely level of incompetence or an agenda. If it's a high school or grade school teacher, then it's probably just parroting from the woefully poor history textbooks we have in the US.

But either way, the students are being taught the wrong lesson. And that's a shame. Good for the young lady who called the teacher out on it.


You start by questioning the motives of the teacher without much knowledge about exactly what was said nor how it was presented. Not a strong start, and certainly one influenced by your own positional agenda.

You seem to be taking a very particular stand on what HH's actions accomplished. There is enough uncertainty and argument between scholars on this subject that claiming the teacher taught the wrong lesson cannot be objectively supported. You may have certain political beliefs that cause you subjectively to make that statement, but there is yet is any definitive objective conclusion on what the correct course of actions should have been.
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Re: Herbert Hoover

Postby Carebear » 23 Apr 2016, 19:28

I Love Italy wrote:I have tried googling the topic several times, but all I get are conflicting viewpoints mostly supported by facts. I don't have the time, or expertise, to look into the facts and see which are "more correct", or even more correctly used in context. I would love to read some books on the matter, and likely will over the summer, but don't have the time at the moment, and was just wondering if any of you could help clarify the matter for me.


I am not an expert on this subject, but I did study socio-political philosophy and economics at university. The problem with the internet, in my opinion, is that there is so much content that has little grounding in actual academic research. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but shouting out uneducated and ill-formed opinions seems to be drowning out research and reasoned thought. A layman trying to learn the truth has a difficult time wading through the cruft. This is made even worse by sites that appear to be authentic academic institutes or think tanks, but are in actuality agenda driven spin sites repackaging information with their own slant. Not to take a particular side, but the American conservatives seem to be the thought leaders in this 1984-esque tactic.
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Re: Herbert Hoover

Postby I Love Italy » 23 Apr 2016, 20:23

Carebear wrote:
I Love Italy wrote:I have tried googling the topic several times, but all I get are conflicting viewpoints mostly supported by facts. I don't have the time, or expertise, to look into the facts and see which are "more correct", or even more correctly used in context. I would love to read some books on the matter, and likely will over the summer, but don't have the time at the moment, and was just wondering if any of you could help clarify the matter for me.


I am not an expert on this subject, but I did study socio-political philosophy and economics at university. The problem with the internet, in my opinion, is that there is so much content that has little grounding in actual academic research. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but shouting out uneducated and ill-formed opinions seems to be drowning out research and reasoned thought. A layman trying to learn the truth has a difficult time wading through the cruft. This is made even worse by sites that appear to be authentic academic institutes or think tanks, but are in actuality agenda driven spin sites repackaging information with their own slant. Not to take a particular side, but the American conservatives seem to be the thought leaders in this 1984-esque tactic.


And, again I'm not professional, but it seems to me that with something as complicated as the Great Depression it seems that you could find statistics to support just about any position about the Depression.
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Re: Herbert Hoover

Postby ruffdove » 23 Apr 2016, 22:58

Carebear wrote:You seem to be taking a very particular stand on what HH's actions accomplished. There is enough uncertainty and argument between scholars on this subject that claiming the teacher taught the wrong lesson cannot be objectively supported.


I disagree - I am taking a stand on what Hoover's actions were, and why the fact of what they were makes the teacher's conclusion (as presented in the original post) completely unsupported. The original post indicated that the teacher taught his class that Hoover did nothing until the last third of his presidency because he was a strict believer in non-intervention. The historical record, actual evidence of the actions Hoover did take, clearly refutes this. In other words, no, there is no debate about this - the list of protectionist and Keynesian measures taken by Hoover is there for all to see. As is the degree to which he raised taxes. You seem to be implying that I am driven by a desire to promote government non-intervention in the economy, but I was quite clear that Hoover's case doesn't allow us to draw any conclusions about the merits of such policies because those policies were not tested in this particular historical case. History is really no different than science - you come up with a theory (in this case, "government non-intervention in the economy is a poor way to handle a depression") and you test it by examining cases where such policies were used to combat a depression. The theory the teacher is presenting as fact has not been adequately tested by the case he is using.

I also did not say that the teacher's interpretation was driven by ideology, but it is such a flagrant case of ignoring evidence that it certainly does allow us to, as I actually said, question those motives. Or is questioning motives only something allowable with people you disagree with?

I Love Italy's latest post also states that the teacher said Roosevelt's New Deal and WWII did end the Depression. While few historians would argue that WWII didn't have a stimulating effect that contributed greatly to the end of the Depression ("settled science" if there is such a thing), there is much debate on Roosevelt's New Deal and the impact it had. But the teacher doesn't seem interested in talking about that debate. Either he doesn't know about it or he's afraid of what the evidence might show (as he is a HS teacher, probably the former). I think that's pretty sad, so again, I applaud the young woman for questioning the conclusions being taught.
Last edited by ruffdove on 23 Apr 2016, 23:04, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Herbert Hoover

Postby I Love Italy » 23 Apr 2016, 23:03

ruffdove wrote:I Love Italy's latest post also states that the teacher said Roosevelt's New Deal and WWII did end the Depression. While few historians would argue that WWII didn't have a stimulating effect that contributed greatly to the end of the Depression ("settled science" if there is such a thing), there is much debate on Roosevelt's New Deal and the impact it had. But the teacher doesn't seem interested in talking about that debate. Either he doesn't know about it or he's afraid of what the evidence might show (as he is a HS teacher, probably the former). I think that's pretty sad.


Well, he wasn't saying that the New Deal ended the Depression. I get my post was confusingly worded, so sorry for that.

He was more saying that the New Deal put America in a position so that when WWII happened, we were able to take part to our fullest potential, and use that as a way to get out of the Depression.
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Re: Herbert Hoover

Postby ruffdove » 23 Apr 2016, 23:08

I Love Italy wrote:
ruffdove wrote:I Love Italy's latest post also states that the teacher said Roosevelt's New Deal and WWII did end the Depression. While few historians would argue that WWII didn't have a stimulating effect that contributed greatly to the end of the Depression ("settled science" if there is such a thing), there is much debate on Roosevelt's New Deal and the impact it had. But the teacher doesn't seem interested in talking about that debate. Either he doesn't know about it or he's afraid of what the evidence might show (as he is a HS teacher, probably the former). I think that's pretty sad.


Well, he wasn't saying that the New Deal ended the Depression. I get my post was confusingly worded, so sorry for that.

He was more saying that the New Deal put America in a position so that when WWII happened, we were able to take part to our fullest potential, and use that as a way to get out of the Depression.


Thanks for clarifying. I suggest you ask him to elaborate on that theory. Is he arguing that infrastructure built by ND programs is what allowed our economic response to war to be what it was? Or that the morale boost given by the ND put the nation in a psychological position to respond? Something else? Those are actually interesting theories, worthy of examination.
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Re: Herbert Hoover

Postby musashisamurai » 25 Apr 2016, 06:39

ruffdove wrote:
I Love Italy wrote:
ruffdove wrote:I Love Italy's latest post also states that the teacher said Roosevelt's New Deal and WWII did end the Depression. While few historians would argue that WWII didn't have a stimulating effect that contributed greatly to the end of the Depression ("settled science" if there is such a thing), there is much debate on Roosevelt's New Deal and the impact it had. But the teacher doesn't seem interested in talking about that debate. Either he doesn't know about it or he's afraid of what the evidence might show (as he is a HS teacher, probably the former). I think that's pretty sad.


Well, he wasn't saying that the New Deal ended the Depression. I get my post was confusingly worded, so sorry for that.

He was more saying that the New Deal put America in a position so that when WWII happened, we were able to take part to our fullest potential, and use that as a way to get out of the Depression.


Thanks for clarifying. I suggest you ask him to elaborate on that theory. Is he arguing that infrastructure built by ND programs is what allowed our economic response to war to be what it was? Or that the morale boost given by the ND put the nation in a psychological position to respond? Something else? Those are actually interesting theories, worthy of examination.


It would be both.

Not to mention that many programs in the New Deal translated directly into the war effort. For example, the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) was busy doing various public works-great program, got many young men jobs as unskilled laborers. The organization was overseen by General MacArthur, with other Army officers involved, and although civilian, many alumni of the program went directly into the Army as corporals, alumni, while officers that otherwise would have had no command experience had a few years experience. Entire camps enlisted at once. Conscientious objctors during the war worked at some of the sites that weren't finished, while most sites were transferred to the Army/Navy, and some were used to house POWs.
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