Financing Relief Efforts
• Born: August 10, 1874 in West Branch, Iowa
• Son of a Quaker blacksmith
• Grew up in Oregon
• Went to Stanford University in 1891 and graduated as a mining engineer
• Married Lou Henry
• Worked for a private corporation in China as a lead engineer
• Him and his wife were caught in the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900 for almost a month; Herbert
helped build barricades for the village while his wife helped at the hospital
• Helped return 120,000 stranded tourists back the U.S. from London after Germany declared war
• He then proceeded to help feed Belgium which was overrun by the German Army
• President Wilson appointed Hoover head of the Food Administration at the beginning of WWI
• He was a member of the Supreme Economic Council and head of the American Relief
Administration by the time the Armistice was signed
• He organized shipments of food for starving people in Europe and even in Soviet Russia in 1921
• Served as Secretary of Commerce under Presidents Harding and Coolidge
• Served as the 31st President from 1929-1933
• Always known as the scapegoat for the depression
• Died: October 20, 1964 in New York, New York
1. Americans should use self-help and
charity to get through troubled times.
• “It is a question as to whether the American people will maintain the
spirit of charity and mutual self-help through voluntary giving…in
times of national difficulty”.
• “The basis of successful relief in national distress is to mobilize and
organize the infinite number of agencies of self-help in the
• “There is no such paralysis in the United States, and I am confident
that our people have the resources, the initiative, the courage, the
stamina and kindliness of spirit to meet this situation in the way they
have met their problems over generations”.
2. If the government gives appropriations, then the
people will rely on appropriations in the future.
• “Once this has happened it is
not the cost of a few score
millions, but we are faced with
the abyss of reliance in future
upon Government charity in
some form or other”.
• “The people support the
Government, the Government
should not support the people”
- President Grover Cleveland,
3. “Federal aid…weakens the sturdiness of our
national character” – President Grover
• “If we start appropriations of
this character we have not only
impaired something infinitely
valuable in the life of the
American people but have
struck at the roots of self-
government. The money
involved is indeed the least of
the costs to American ideals
and American institutions”.
4. No one is going hungry or cold.
• “I convoked a meeting of the
Governors, the Red Cross and the
railways, the bankers and other
agencies in the country and laid the
foundations of organization and the
resources to stimulate every degree
of self-help to meet the situation”.
• “The Red Cross officials, whose
long, devoted service and
experience is unchallenged, inform
me this morning that, except for the
minor incidents of any emergency
organization, no one is going hungry
and no one need go hungry or cold”.
• “But beyond this to assure that there
shall be no suffering, in every town
and county voluntary agencies in
relief of distress have been
strengthened and created and
generous funds have been placed at
5. The local and state governments need to use
all their resources before the federal
government will step in to help.
• “Our American system requires that municipal, county,
and State governments shall use their own resources
and credit before seeking such assistance from the
Impact on Society
• This document had a huge impact on all
Americans at the time it was written. This
document told the Americans that they would not
get any help from the government for the
depression, drought, and unemployment and
that they would have to fend for themselves in
this great time of need.
• This document also made a great argument
against Hoover for FDR in the following
• What would happen if charities did not
respond to the crisis?
• Why does Hoover feel that the expenditure
of public moneys would have a negative
impact on Americans?
• Do you think Hoover would have felt the
same way if he personally volunteered in
those distressed communities?