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Hoover served as President from 1929 to 1933. He had the misfortune to witness the start of the Great Depression in the first year of his presidency. However, as output fell and unemployment rose, he appeared unsure of what, if anything he could do to rectify the situation. He raised taxes and reluctantly approved the Smoot-Hawley tariffs – both policies reduced spending and trade, exacerbating the initial downturn. Illustrating Hoover’s unpopularity and blame for the Great Depression the shanty towns of unemployed which sprang up during the Great Depression were termed ‘Hoovervilles.’
Wife and political aide of American president F.D.Roosevelt. Roosevelt was an active First Lady, giving speeches, writing a column and meeting with the unemployed. She helped to reassure workers that the Roosevelt administration was committed to trying to solve their plight. In 1933, she defused a situation with the Bonus Army – a situation Hoover had responded to by sending in the army. Roosevelt was also sympathetic to civil rights for African-Americans and other minorities.
Keynes was one of the most influential economists of the Twentieth Century. The Great Depression left classical economists stumped as faith in free markets appeared to be misplaced. Keynes saw the Great Depression as a trigger to create a new way of economic thinking. Keynes advocated government intervention to kickstart economies in a slump. He was mostly ignored in the 1930s, but his General Theory (1936) laid the foundations of Keynesian economics and a new branch of macroeconomics.