October 29, 1929, the New York Stock Exchange crashed. Panic ensued
as Wall Street sold 16,410,030 shares in a single day. Billions of dollars
were lost and America plunged into the Great Depression. An estimated
15 million Americans were unemployed and nearly half of all banks failed.
The Great Depression began with a rapid contraction of credit. This
occurred despite the existence of the Federal Reserve which was created with promises that it would prevent
Democrat Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan had stated (Hearst’s Magazine, Nov 1923):
“The Federal Reserve Bank that should have been the farmer’s greatest protection has become his greatest foe.”
The President at the start of the Great Depression was Herbert Hoover, who had only been in office 7 months.
Herbert Hoover had previously coordinated the feeding of millions who were starving in Europe and Russia after World War I.
When the Mississippi River flooded in 1927, Herbert Hoover orchestrated the relief of some 630,000 people who were affected, 200,000 of which were African American.
President Herbert Hoover led a drive to mobilize private relief agencies, October 18, 1931:
“Time and again the American people have demonstrated a spiritual quality of generosity…
This is the occasion when we must arouse that idealism, that spirit, from which there can be no failure in this primary obligation of every man to his neighbor…”
“Our country and the world are today involved in more than a financial crisis…
This great complex, which we call American life, is builded and can alone survive upon the translation into individual action of that fundamental philosophy announced by the Savior nineteen centuries ago…
Our national suffering today is from failure to observe these primary yet inexorable laws of human relationship…
Modern society cannot survive with the defense of Cain, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?'”
Herbert Hoover told the National Drive Committee for Voluntary Relief Agencies, September 15, 1932:
“Our tasks are definite…that we maintain the spiritual impulses in our people for generous giving…in the spirit that each is his brother’s keeper…
Many a family today is carrying a neighbor family over the trough of this depression not alone with material aid but with that encouragement which maintains courage and faith.”
President Herbert Hoover stated at the Gridiron Club, April 27, 1931:
“If, by the grace of God, we have passed the worst of this storm, the future months will be easy. If we shall be called upon to endure more of this period, we must gird ourselves for even greater effort. If we can maintain this courage and resolution we shall have written this new chapter in national life in terms to which our whole idealism has aspired. May God grant to us the spirit and strength to carry through to the end.”
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