22. The lame duck period, 1932-33
Prior to 1937, Inauguration Day for the office of the President of the United States occurred on March 4, except when that date was a Sunday. In such a case, the date moved to March 5. Thus, a period of four months transpired between the election and the installation of a new administration. The last four months of the Hoover Administration were among the worst, in terms of the depression, of any of the preceding years. Unemployment during that winter climbed rapidly. Cash continued in short supply. Once again, bank failures led the nation into a panic-driven run on the banks. As weaker and smaller banks collapsed, larger banks foun depositors lining up at their doors to remove their savings.
Many banks, throughout that winter, responded by simply closing their doors, refusing to admit customers. Hoover responded by lobbying Congress to enact emergency legislation to allow federal funds to further bolster the banking system. Congress did nothing. The incoming legislators weren’t interested in Hoover’s response, and the Republicans remaining in the Senate resented Hoover, blaming him for the loss of the majority in that body. Major banks in the United States also felt the tremors from bank failures in Europe. By the end of February, 1933, the nation was ready for Hoover’s exit from the national stage.