1. Hoover's earlier career confirms this
appraisal of his views; there is no space here, however, to
analyze his earlier ideas and activities.
2. See Joseph Dorfman, The Economic Mind in American
Civilization (New York: Viking Press, 1959), Vol. IV,
pp. 26-28; Herbert Hoover, Memoirs (New York:
Macmillan, 1952), Vol. II, pp. 27 ff; and Murray N.
Rothbard, America's Great Depression (Princeton: D.
Van Nostrand, 1963), p. 170 and Part III.
3. Hoover to Professor Wesley C. Mitchell, July 29, 1921.
Lucy Sprague Mitchell, Two Lives (New York: Simon and
Schuster, 1953), P-364.
4. Hoover, Memoirs, Vol. II, p. 46; and Joseph H.
McMullen, "The President's Unemployment Conference of 1921
and Its Results" (Master's thesis, Columbia University,
1922), p. 33.
5. On the lasting significance of government economic
planning and "war collectivism" during World War I, see
William E. Leuchtenburg, "The New Deal and the Analogue of
War," in J. Braeman, R. H. Bremner, and E. Walters, eds.,
Change and Continuity in Twentieth-Century America (New
York: Harper and Row, 1967), pp. 81-143.
6. See E. Jay Howenstine, Jr., "Public Works Policy in the
Twenties," Social Research (December, 1946), pp.
7. Playing a crucial role on this staff was Otto Tod Mallery,
the nation's leading advocate of public works as a remedy
for depressions. Mallery had inspired the nation's first
such stabilization program, in Pennsylvania in 1917, and had
been a leading official on public works in the Wilson
Administration. He was also a leader in the American
Association for Labor Legislation, an influential group of
eminent citizens, businessmen, and economists devoted to
government intervention in the fields of labor, employment,
and welfare. The AALL, endorsing the Conference, boasted
that the Conference's proposals followed the pattern of its
own recommendations, which had been formulated as far back
as 1915. Apart from Mallery, the Conference employed the
services of nine economists who were also officials of the
AALL. The AALL singled out for particular praise Joseph H.
Defrees, of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who appealed to
business organizations to cooperate with the Conference's
program, and to accept "business responsibility" for the
unemployment problem. See Dorfman, op. cit., pp. 7-8;
McMullen, op. cit., p. 16; and John B. Andrews, "The
President's Unemployment Conference Success or
Failure?" American Labor Legislation Review (December,
1921), pp. 307-310.
8. Eugene Lyons, Our Unknown Ex-President (New York:
Doubleday and Co., 1948), p. 230.
9 See Daniel Fusfeld, The Economic Thought of Franklin D.
Roosevelt and the Origins of the New Deal (New York:
Columbia University Press, 1956), pp. 102 ff.
10. Waddill Catchings was a prominent investment banker who
founded the Pollak Foundation for Economic Research, with
Dr. William T. Foster as director, Foster was Brewster's
technical advisor at the Governor's Conference. Foster and
Catchings had called for a $3 billion public-works program
to iron out the business cycle and stabilize the price level.
William T. Foster and Waddill Catchings, The Road to
Plenty (Boston: Houghton Mifflin & Co., 1928), p. 187.
Brewster's presentation can be found in Ralph Owen Brewster,
"Footprints on the Road to Plenty A Three Billion Dollar
Fund to Stabilize Business," Commercial and Financial
Chronicle (November 28, 1928), p. 2,527. Foster and
Catchings reciprocated by praising the "Hoover Plan" a few
months later. The Plan, they exulted, would iron out prices
and the business cycle; "it is business guided by
measurement instead of hunches. It is economics for an age
of science economics worthy of the new President." William
T. Foster and Waddill Catchings, "Mr. Hoover's Plan: What It
Is and What It Is Not the New Attack on Poverty,"
Review of Reviews (April, 1929), pp. 77-78.
11. Herbert Hoover, "A Plea for Cooperation," The
American Federationist (January, 1921). Also see the
important work by Ronald Radosh, "The Development of the
Corporate Ideology of American Labor Leaders, 1914-1933"'
(Doctoral dissertation in history, University of Wisconsin,
1967), pp. 82 ff.
12 William English Walling, American Labor and American
Democracy (New York: Harper & Bros., 1926), Vol. II:
Labor and Government, cited in Radosh, op. cit., pp.
85 ff. Addressing the International Association of Technical
Engineers, Architects and Draftsmen in May, 1921, Gompers
spoke enthusiastically of the close "entente" that had
developed between engineering groups and the AF of L. It was
Gompers, furthermore, who persuaded Hoover to accept the
presidency of the American Engineering Council.
13 Radosh, op. cit., p. 88n.
14 For a pro-union account of the affair by a leading
participant, see Donald R. Richberg, Labor Union Monopoly
(Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1957), pp. 3-28.
15. In his book American Individualism, Hoover had
hailed the growing "cooperation" and "associational
activities" of American industry and the consequent
reduction of "great wastes of over-reckless competition."
Hoover, American Individualism (New York: Doubleday,
16. Samuel Gompers, "The Road to Industrial Democracy,"
American Federationist (June, 1921). Also see Ronald
Radosh, "The Corporate Ideology of American Labor Leaders
from Gompers to Hillman," Studies on the Left (November
December, 1966), p. 70. After Gompers' death in 1924, his
successor, William Green, continued the close AF of L
collaboration with Hoover. See Radosh, The Development of
Corporate Ideology, pp. 201 ff.
17. Julius H. Barnes, "Herbert Hoover's Priceless Work in
Washington," Industrial Management (April, 1926), pp.
196-197. Also see Joseph Brandes, Herbert Hoover and
Economic Diplomacy (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh
Press, 1962), p. 3.
18. Brandes, op. cit., p. 5.
19. Ibid., pp. 17-18, 132-139.
20. On Hoover's repeated urging of American oil companies to
join in the development of petroleum in Mesopotamia, see
Gerald D. Nash, United States Oil Policy, 1890-1964
(Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh University Press, 1968), pp. 56-57.
21. Harvey Firestone was the most enthusiastic rubber user
backing the Hoover program, and also in organizing
Americanowned rubber plantations in Liberia. The mighty U.S.
Rubber Co., on the other hand, already owned large rubber
plantations in the Dutch East Indies, which were not subject
to British restrictions. U.S. Rubber was therefore the
rubber user least enthusiastic about the buying pool.
Brandes, op. cit., pp. 84-128. On Firestone's
acquisition of Liberian land, see Frank Chalk, "The Anatomy
of an Investment: Firestone's 1927 Loan to Liberia,"
Canadian Journal of African Studies (March, 1967), pp.
22. See Jacob Viner, "Political Aspects of International
Finance, Part II," Journal of Business (July, 1928),
p. 339; Hoover, Memoirs, Vol. II, p. 90. Also see Brandes,
op. cit., pp. 170-191. Hoover also clashed with banks
that made foreign loans to Germany, since he was worried
about the loans building up competitors to American firms,
especially chemical manufacturers. Ibid., pp.
23. Nash, op. cit., pp. 81-97.
24. See Ellis W. Hawley, "Secretary Hoover and the
Bituminous Coal Problem, 1921-1928," Business History
Review (Autumn, 1968), pp. 247-270. Also see Hoover,
Memoirs, Vol. II, p. 70. During the coal strike in the
spring of 1922, Hoover organized an emergency system of
rationing and price controls. Harking back to his wartime
experience, he established a network of district committees
to hold down coal prices. After the typically Hooverian "voluntary"
controls failed to work, Hoover called for governmental
price-fixing, and by late September, Congress had passed a
law appointing a Federal Fuel Distributor to enforce "fair
25. Louis Galambos, Competition and Cooperation
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1966), pp. 78-83, 102-103,
108, 114-115, 123, 128-129. The cotton textile industry
urged Secretary Hoover to become the first president of
their new Institute; as it was, the president was a man
recommended by Hoover.
26. See in particular Ronald H. Coase, "The Federal
Communications Commission," Journal of Law and Economics
(October, 1959), pp. 30ff. Also see Hoover, Memoirs,
Vol. II, pp. 139-142.
27. Hoover, Memoirs, Vol. II, pp. 66-68.
28. In the case of salmon fishing, Hoover called for federal
regulations from 1922 on. In that year he induced Harding to
create salmon reservations in Alaska, thus cutting salmon
production and raising prices. See Donald C. Swain,
Federal Conservation Policy, 1921-1933 (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1963), PP. 25 ff.
29. It was not only the farm bloc that wanted a nationally
cartelized agriculture. Two of the fathers of the agitation
for farm price support were George N. Peek and General Hugh
S. Johnson, heads of the Moline Plow Company, one of the
largest farm-equipment manufacturers. As such they were
directly interested in the subsidizing of farmers. Big
business in general was also enthusiastic, the farm price-support
plan being warmly supported by the Business Men's Commission
on Agriculture, established jointly by the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce and the National Industrial Conference Board. See
Dorfman, op. cit., Vol. IV, pp. 79-80.
30. Chairman of the eight-man FFB was Alexander Legge,
president of International Harvester Co., one of the major
farmmachinery manufacturers, and like Peek and Johnson, a
protege of financier Bernard M. Baruch since the days of the
economic planning of World War I. Others represented on the
Board were the tobacco co-ops, the livestock co-ops, the
Midwest grain interests, and the fruit growers. See Theodore
Saloutos and John D. Hicks, Agricultural Discontent in
the Middle West (Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin
Press, 1951), pp.407-412.
31. Rothbard, America's Great Depression, pp.
169-186. One of the first observers who saw that the radical
break with the past came with Hoover and not with F. D.R.
was Walter Lippmann, who wrote in 1935 that the "policy
initiated by President Hoover in the autumn of 1929 was
something utterly unprecedented in American history. The
national government undertook to make the whole economic
order operate prosperously. . . . The state attempted to
direct by the public wisdom a recovery in the business cycle
which had hitherto been left with as little interference as
possible to individual exertion." Walter Lippmann, "The
Permanent New Deal," reprinted in R.M. Abrams and L.W.
Levine, eds., The Shaping of Twentieth-Century America
(Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1965), p. 430. Similarly, the
perceptive term "Hoover New Deal" was coined by the
contemporary observer and economist Benjamin M. Anderson.
See "The Road Back to Full Employment," in P. Homan and F.
Machlup, eds., Financing American Prosperity (New
York: Twentieth Century Fund, 1945), pp. 9-70; and Anderson,
Economics and the Public Welfare: Financial and Economic
History of the U.S., 1914-46 (Princeton: D. Van
32. The American Federationist (January, 1930). On
the White House Conferences, see Robert P. Lamont, "The
White House Conferences," The Journal of Business (July,
1930), p. 269.
33. The American Federationist (March, 1930), p. 344.