So Mr. President, What Did You Do During Your
Term In Office? 1932
The Herbert C. Hoover Administration : Year 1932
there is great discontent in the country and in the Republican Party as well,
President Herbert Hoover easily manages to win the nomination at the Chicago
convention in mid-June. The Republicans blame the nation's troubles on events in
Europe, promise that prosperity is "just around the corner," and considerably
ease their former policy of supporting strict Prohibition. The Democrats have a
more difficult time selecting their candidate when they meet in Chicago later in
June, but on the fourth ballot they nominate Franklin D. Roosevelt, the
reform-minded governor of New York. The Democratic platform calls for a variety
of direct measures, including an expanded public works program, to combat the
economic ills that the country is experiencing. In addition the Democrats call
for the repeal of the 18th Amendment and the immediate legalization of beer.
Roosevelt, in his acceptance speech, promises a "new deal" for all Americans.
The campaign is turbulent, with the Democrats accusing Republicans of inaction,
while the Republicans warn that, if the Democrats win, "grass will grow in the
streets of 100 cities." Radio is becoming an increasingly important factor in
the campaign, as both candidates are heard by millions. Roosevelt's vibrant
voice and warm personality, and his appeal to the "forgotten man," come over the
air far better than Hoover's serious monotone.
On November 8 Roosevelt is elected President by a plurality somewhat larger that
that by which Hoover defeated Alfred E. Smith in 1928, and with 57.4 percent of
the popular vote. In addition the Democrats win decisive control over the
Congress by capturing more than 70 percent of the House and more than 60 per
cent of the Senate. As soon as he is elected. Roosevelt selects his advisors,
many of them from academic circles, and therefore nicknamed the "brain trust."
They include Cordell Hull, Secretary of State; Homer S. Cummings, Attorney
General; Harold L. Ickes, Secretary of the Interior and the first woman Cabinet
member, Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins.
January 3-6 1932
The Reverend James R. Cox leads a group of 18,000 unemployed men from Pittsburgh
to Washington, where they meet with members of Congress and President Hoover.
They do not pretend to represent the 13,000,000 in the country who are out of
January 22, 1932
The Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) comes into existence with a capital
of $500,000,000 and authority to borrow an additional $1,500,000,000 by issuing
tax-exempt bonds. Its purpose is to prop up the faltering monetary system by
making loans to banks, insurance companies, farm mortgage association, building
and loan associations, and other businesses. President Hoover selects Charles G.
Dawes, a noted economist and Vice President under Coolidge, to run the agency.
February 2, 1932
Although not a member of the League of Nations, the United States attends an
arms limitation conference at Geneva sponsored by the League. President Hoover
makes sweeping proposals to reduce armaments, but the meeting ends without the
participants having reached any significant agreement.
February 27, 1932
Congress passes the Glass-Steagall Act, which authorizes the sale of
$750,000,000 worth of the Government's huge gold supply and allows the Federal
Reserve System more leeway in discounting commercial paper. The purpose of the
measure is to counteract the hoarding of gold and to ease credit.
March 3, 1932
The 20th Amendment to the Constitution is sent to the states to be ratified.
Known popularly as the Lame Duck Amendment, the measure would reduce the amount
of time an outgoing President will serve after the country has elected his
successor (as a "lame duck"), by moving the inauguration date from March 4 to
January 20. The measure also calls for Congress to convene on Jan. 3.
March 23, 1932
The Norris-La Guardia Act is signed by president Hoover. The Act limits the use
of injunctions to stop strikes and is favored by organized labor. The act also
prohibits "yellow-dog" contracts, by which employers, as a condition of
employment, require their workers to promise not to join a union.
May 29-July 28, 1932
The first veterans of the "Bonus Army" arrive in Washington, D.C., with the hope
of convincing the Government to approve immediate payment-in-full of their
bonuses. Those proposed bonuses are actually prepayments of equities due to the
veterans in 1945 under the terms of the 1924 Adjusted Compensation Act. By June
approximately 15,000 veterans and 5,000 women and children are camped near the
Capitol. On June 15 the House votes to cash the bonuses, but two days later the
Senate turns the measure down. Most of the veterans return home, but
approximately 2,000 remain. Finally President Hoover sends Federal troops
commanded by General Douglas McArthur to drive the veterans out. (In 1936
Congress votes to pay the bonus.).
June 14-16, 1932
The Republican Party holds its convention at Chicago and renominates President
Herbert Hoover and Vice President Charles Curtis.
July 11, 1932
President Hoover vetoes the Wagner-Garner Bill, passed by Congress two days
earlier. The bill would provide for Federal employment agencies in states that
do not have their own state employment services.
July 15, 1932
With economic conditions continuing to worsen, President Hoover announces that
he is taking a 20-percent salary cut.
July 18, 1932
The United States and Canada sign a treaty to construct the St. Lawrence Seaway
to connect the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean and to produce hydroelectric
energy. The cost of the project, estimated At $543,000,000, is to be split
evenly between the two nations.
July 21, 1932
President Hoover signs the Emergency Relief Act, which provides for $300,000,000
in loans to states unable otherwise to raise money for relief purposes. The act
also authorizes the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to increase its debt
ceiling to $3,000, 000, 000 and to make loans to state and local governments for
the construction of public works.
July 22, 1932
The Federal Home Loan Bank Act becomes law, creating 12 regional banks with a
capital of $125,000,000 to discount home loans for building and loan
associations, savings banks, and insurance companies. President Hoover's hope is
that the act will stimulate residential construction, increase employment, and
expand home ownership.
October 15, 1932
The 12 Federal Home Loan Banks begin operations as provided for by the Federal
Home Loan Bank Act passed on July 22.
November 8, 1932
Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected President of the United States, defeating
Herbert Hoover by a margin of over 7,000,000 votes and winning 472 of 531
electoral votes. Congress is heavily Democratic.
November 22, 1932
President-elect Roosevelt meets with president Hoover at the White House to
discuss the war-debt question. It is virtually the only time the two men discuss
So Mr. President, What Did You Do During Your Term In Office? 1932
BIBLIOGRAPHY: The above information is compiled from my collection of books: The
American Presidents by David C. Whitney; Reader's Digest Association, Inc.
(1996), The New York Public Library American History Desk Reference; A Stonesong
Press Book (1997) The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover, Macmillan Company (1952); The
Bicentennial Almanac Edited by Calvin D. Linton, Ph.D. Publishers, Thomas Nelson
Inc. (1975) The Presidents of the United States Vol 2, A.S. Barnes & Co. (1973)