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Hoovers Speech on Rugged Individualism - Essay Example

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This essay discusses Hoover’s speech on rugged individualism. This speech was his final speech on the presidential campaign trail against Democratic candidate Alfred Smith. Given in October 22nd, the ideals and philosophies he articulated reflected the progressive period that the country was in…
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Hoovers Speech on Rugged Individualism
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Download file to see previous pages  Herbert Hoover was born into a Quaker family in Iowa and became an orphan at the age of nine1. He was adopted by an uncle where he learnt strong work ethics that saw him determined to gain admission into Stanford despite mediocre grades. Hoover graduated with a degree in geology and went on to become a great mining engineer. Hoover’s background shaped his ideals to a great extent because most of his life, he worked hard to get what he got. By 1914, Hoover had amassed great wealth from holding high positions, owning profitable silver mines in Burma and royalties from writing the top textbook on mining engineering.2 In essence, he was a self-made millionaire. Additionally, Hoover was a great humanitarian, building his name organizing various relief efforts in Europe during the Great War and seemed a great presidential candidate during that period in America’s history; one of progressive promise.3 Historical Context Hoover’s speech on rugged individualism was his final speech on the presidential campaign trail against Democratic candidate Alfred Smith. Given in October 22nd, the ideals and philosophies he articulated reflected the progressive period that the country was in. The effects of World War I saw America become a determining factor in international finance, becoming a source of financial aid to the Allies such as Britain.4 The US economy was growing at a rate of 7 per cent annually and unemployment rates were dropping e.g. in 1926 it dropped by 2%.5 The country was experiencing an economic boom, strikingly evident in the New York Stock Exchange where share values increased exponentially within this decade. The business sector also, was revitalized and consumerism was very high-fridges, radios and automobiles for all households was the goal of this decade and credit purchases were the norm6. Federal banks provided easy loans to finance the prevalent consumerism culture and speculation was at an all-time high.7 This profitable business climate propelled citizens to consider business as a source of national direction. Summary Description This speech outlines Hoover’s position on government involvement in private business. He argues that the government’s role in the affairs of the business sector does both entities more harm than good. In his opinion, businesses required stricter controls to ensure efficiency and focus but governments were not primarily concerned with efficiency but with other more important issues. If government involved itself in business, Hoover declared that it would have to become more centralized, like a dictatorship, and businesses would lose their efficiency. Businesses should succeed or fail without government interference, he reasoned. Hoover’s ideals reflected those of his party, and thus “rugged individualism” is a term that can also describe the Republican philosophy of self reliance to succeed or fail, without any government handouts. Hoover pointed out the progress that the country had witnessed since the end of World War I. He argued that “... I know of no better test of the improved conditions of the average family than the combined increase of life and industrial insurance, building and loan assets, and savings deposits... these alone have in seven years increased by nearly 100 per cent to the gigantic sum of over 50 billions of dollars...” The high consumerism practiced was also reinforced “ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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