Printed Document Signed, March 4, 1929. A rare large-print copy of his inaugural address. 21 pp., 9 x 12 in.
"To reestablish the vigor and effectiveness of law enforcement we must critically consider the entire Federal machinery of justice, the redistribution of its functions, the simplification of its procedure, the provision of additional special tribunals, the better selection of juries, and the more effective organization of our agencies of investigation and prosecution that justice may be sure and that it may be swift."
"Of the undoubted abuses which have grown up under the eighteenth amendment, but part are due to the failure of some States to accept their share of responsibility for concurrent enforcement and to the failure of many State and local officials to accept the obligation under their oath of office zealously to enforce the laws. With the failures from these many causes has come a dangerous expansion in the criminal elements who have found enlarged opportunities in dealing in illegal liquor."
"But a large responsibility rests directly upon our citizens. There would be little traffic in illegal liquor if only criminals patronized it. We must awake to the fact that this patronage from large numbers of law-abiding citizens is supplying the rewards and stimulating crime."
"Our whole system of self-government will crumble either if officials elect what laws they will enforce or citizens elect what laws they will support. The worst evil of disregard for some law is that it destroys respect for all law.... If citizens do not like a law, their duty as honest men and women is to discourage its violation; their right is openly to work for its repeal."
"We not only desire peace with the world, but to see peace maintained throughout the world."
"No country is more loved by its people. I have an abiding faith in their capacity, integrity and high purpose. I have no fears for the future of our country. It is bright with hope."
Herbert Hoover won the 1928 presidential election to succeed Calvin Coolidge, who did not seek reelection. In a heavy turnout, Hoover received more votes than any presidential candidate before him. With 58% of the popular vote, Hoover carried forty states in the Electoral College, including his Democratic opponent Al Smith's New York. Anti-Catholicism depleted Catholic Smith's ranks, as did his opposition to prohibition and association with the corruption of Tammany Hall.
In this inaugural address, Hoover expresses much concern for law and order, and proposes a renovation of the criminal justice system and the more vigorous enforcement of prohibition. He rejoices in the prospects for peace in the world. He promises new attention to public education, public health, agricultural relief, and cooperation with business in economic growth. In the federal government, he seeks reorganization for effectiveness and economy in public expenditures.
However, America was already facing economic turmoil, and in October fell into the Great Depression. Although Hoover's policies did not cause the Great Depression, people blamed Hoover for his perceived indifference to the suffering, and for not taking a more proactive role to aid the economy. His attempts to stimulate the economy and a few of the programs he introduced became key components of later relief efforts, but his response was constrained by his conservative political philosophy. He believed in a limited role for government and worried that excessive federal intervention posed a threat to capitalism and individualism. He believed in local, voluntary efforts to aid those in need, and he vetoed several bills that would have provided direct relief to struggling Americans. "Prosperity cannot be restored by raids upon the public Treasury," he explained in his 1930 State of the Union address.
The public's unhappiness with the eighteenth amendment and Hoover's inability to combat the Great Depression resulted in his loss of the 1932 election to Franklin D. Roosevelt, in an almost mirror result of the 1928 election.
Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) was born in Iowa into a Quaker family, but both of his parents died before he was ten years old. After living with relatives in Iowa and Oregon, Hoover became one of the first students to attend newly established Stanford University, from which he graduated in 1895. Hoover worked as a mining engineer in California, Australia, and China. He became an independent mining consultant in 1908 and traveled the world until the outbreak of World War I, building his reputation and fortune. When the war began, he helped organize the return of 120,000 Americans from Europe and spearheaded humanitarian relief efforts in Belgium, from his administrative base in London. After the United States entered the war, President Woodrow Wilson appointed Hoover to head the U.S. Food Administration. He lobbied for the job and agreed to accept no salary. After the war, the U.S. Food Administration became the American Relief Administration, which, at its height, fed 10.5 million people daily. Elected President of the United States in 1928, Hoover took office less than eight months before the Wall Street Crash of 1929 plunged the nation into the Great Depression. Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Hoover's 1932 bid for reelection. (Inventory #: 24848)