The election of Herbert Hoover in nineteen twenty-eight made Americans more hopeful than ever about their future.
Hoover seemed to have just the right experience to lead the nation to more economic progress. He was an engineer and businessman who had served in the government as commerce secretary. He understood economics and had faith in the future of private business.
On a rainy day in March of nineteen twenty-nine, Hoover rode down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington to become the new president. I have no fears for the future of our country, he told the cheering crowd. "It is bright with hope."
The clearest evidence of the public's faith in the economy is the stock market. And the New York Stock Exchange reacted to the new president with a wild increase in prices. During the months after Hoover's election, prices generally rose like a rocket. Stocks valued at one hundred dollars climbed to two hundred, then three hundred, four hundred. Men and women made huge amounts of money overnight.
Publications and economic experts advised Americans to buy stocks before prices went even higher. Time and again, people heard how rich they could become if they found and bought stocks for companies growing into industrial giants.
"Never sell the United States short, said one publication. Another just said, "Everybody ought to be rich."