AHC: Make Herbert Hoover Be Remembered as a Good President

Before 1929, Herbert Hoover was known as "The Great Humanitarian" for his efforts to provide relief for European civilians in WWI using his own fortune to feed starving millions. As Secretary of Commerce Hoover helped modernize the American economy and he organized relief efforts in the aftermath of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. In 1928, he was elected President by a landslide.

Yet Hoover proved to be an inept President. After the 1929 stock market crash, Hoover stressed that the fundamentals of the economy were still sound and he resisted efforts to provide direct relief to the unemployed and he vetoed the Muscle Shoals Bill. Hoover wanted to rely on state and local governments to provide relief to unemployed Americans, believing that federal efforts to end the Depression would constitute socialism. In 1930, against the advice of most economists, Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff which exacerbated the Depression by starting a trade war. When WWI veterans marched on the Capital to ask for an early extension of their bonuses, Hoover sent the army to drive them out with tanks and teargas. After his landslide defeat to FDR in 1932, Hoover did nothing to address the banking crisis and as a result so many banks around the country closed that by the time he left office in March 1933 the entire banking system was on the verge of collapse.

Today, Hoover's accomplishments before becoming President are forgotten and he is remembered as a hapless Nero who fiddled while Washington (literally) burned. But your challenge, with a POD of March 4, 1929, is to have Hoover be remembered as a good President.
 
Betray his party and himself while doing the unpopular thing and take the matters of economic recovery into the federal government's hands. It probably wont win him reelection or even fix the economy but hey random dudes on the internet decades later will vindicate him...

Remember that federal intervention was so non mainstream at the time that even during the election of 1932 Roosevelt campaigned on giving power back to the states and shit (obviously he didn't do that, but then he was already in office by that point)
 
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Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff which exacerbated the Depression by starting a trade war
This is an overstated event, when the real fault was Bank failures, cause by interest rate raising and tight money supply policies.
Fed was to be the lender of last resort for banks in trouble, and the Fed generally refused to lender.
They thought it was a good idea for weak banks to fail.
They didn't do the job they were created for.
For Hoover to do better, he needs Mellon and Mills never to have been at the Treasury Department.
 
This is an overstated event, when the real fault was Bank failures, cause by interest rate raising and tight money supply policies.
Fed was to be the lender of last resort for banks in trouble, and the Fed generally refused to lender.
They thought it was a good idea for weak banks to fail.
They didn't do the job they were created for.
For Hoover to do better, he needs Mellon and Mills never to have been at the Treasury Department.

What if Hoover appoints a new Fed Chairman, vetoes Smoot-Hawley, signs Muscle-Shoals, and declares a bank holiday as FDR did to rescue failing banks? He would most likely still lose re-election, but more narrowly, and he could be remembered as a man who did the best with a bad hand.
 
FDR avoids polio. Governor Roosevelt somehow wins in 1928.

Hoover ends up doing the New Deal. With the bonus of more support for African Americans
 
FDR avoids polio. Governor Roosevelt somehow wins in 1928.

Hoover ends up doing the New Deal. With the bonus of more support for African Americans

If Hoover blows an election that IOTL he won with 58% of the vote, the Republicans will want nothing to do with him ever again.
 
What if Hoover appoints a new Fed Chairman, vetoes Smoot-Hawley, signs Muscle-Shoals, and declares a bank holiday as FDR did to rescue failing banks? He would most likely still lose re-election, but more narrowly, and he could be remembered as a man who did the best with a bad hand.
With just a bad Recession and not Depression, it's possible to squeak past FDR with the Electoral votes.
But Hoover's 2nd Term would be a decent recovery, with the US in far,far better shape in economic matters, but still has the Dust Bowl to deal with.
Do not think he would get a 3rd term in 1936.
Possible for FRD to win at this point, but would have no mandate for a 'New Deal' as the 'Old Deal' under Hoover worked with the Fed doing what they should have done with getting a soft landing rather than racing towards liquidation to curb the Stock Market frenzy and related Bank Trouble.
It's possible for something like the FDIC and SEC to be created after the Crash, similar to Regulatory changes done after the Savings and Loan debacle
 
Hoover runs for President in 1920, he was very popular with both parties because of his work in famine relief in Europe that he was mentioned as a possible candidate for both parties.
 
Hoover winning the GOP nomination in 1920 isn't quite ASB, but it is highly unlikely - but then again so was the GOP's nomination of Wendell Willkie in 1940. Hoover would have avoided the scandals of the Harding administration, and have been much more charismatic than Coolidge.
 
This is an overstated event, when the real fault was Bank failures, cause by interest rate raising and tight money supply policies.
I mean, yes, the tariffs were not the cause of the Depression, but they certainly made it worse. And unlike many other proposed interventions, Hoover was not 100% on board with the tariffs, but was brought around on them with the idea that the party needed a legislative win ahead of the 1930 elections. So it shouldn't be impossible to get him to work against the bill, the way it would be impossible to get him to implement the modern anti-recession playbook.
 
Here is a more wild idea. What about if Hoover lost the same as OTL, but came back and got a nomination +victory in a later election? Hoover at the helm during the end of WW2 or something?
 
Here is a more wild idea. What about if Hoover lost the same as OTL, but came back and got a nomination +victory in a later election? Hoover at the helm during the end of WW2 or something?

Hoover was so widely despised after 1932 that I think him returning to office is ASB.

The POD is March 4, 1929, so you would have to have his administration play out differently. A good start would be him taking a more activist role prior to the crash. Perhaps he tries to make good on his campaign pledge to end poverty and pushes for a farm relief bill in the spring or summer of 1929 to address the farm crisis. In response to the 1929 crash, he encourages the Fed to lower interest rates and loosen up monetary policy. He pays more attention to Congressional debates over the tariff, and gets Congress to water down what later became Smoot-Hawley. In 1931, Hoover decides to personally visit the people living in the shantytowns named after him and upon returning to Washington he goes before Congress to ask them to provide relief to the unemployed. He signs the Muscle Shoals Bill, and in response to the Bonus Army he signs a bill providing their bonuses early. Basically, you would need Herbert Hoover to act less like Herbert Hoover and more like Franklin Roosevelt.

Hoover likely still loses in 1932, but more narrowly, and this could allow him to be politically viable in some way later.
 

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Here is a more wild idea. What about if Hoover lost the same as OTL, but came back and got a nomination +victory in a later election? Hoover at the helm during the end of WW2 or something?
1. Nominating Hoover after 1932 would have been political suicide for the GOP, and the RNC knew it.
2. Hoover was an isolationist, similarly to Taft or Vandenburg.
 
Two non ASB moves can make all the difference.

The Fed did decrease interest rates between 1929-1930. Obviously this was not enough, they could of went to .25% practically overnight and maybe butterflied the de-evaluation of the Pound in 1931. Going of the gold standard at this time may also change matters

USinterestrates1919-19413.jpg


Additionally, the Smoot Hawley Tariff could have been vetoed.

In short, these two measures may actually butterfly away the Depression, at least at that point, and push it forward maybe another 7-8 years. Just long enough for a Democrat (perhaps FDR) to inherit the mess and in effect be blamed for it. Whether this would make USA worst off long term is another matter and in reality, it merely anticipates FDR by a few years, minus the tariff. These things combined could have been a strong enough butterfly to push the Depression to maybe almost WW2.
 
The fundamental problem is that the tools to prevent Depressions were developed in response to the Depression. Short of somehow delaying October 1929 another four years, Hoover is stuffed so long as he's the guy dealing with the mess.

I think your best bet is to have Coolidge run in 1928. Hoover tries to outflank the Democrats from the Left in 1932.
 
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