When Herbert Hoover took over the presidency after Calvin Coolidge, the country seemed to be on a track of constant prosperity. Under the previous Republican administrations, he had served as the Secretary of Commerce, so there was little doubt in Hoover's mind that the economy would be nothing to worry about during his term in office. What Hoover didn't expect was to be thrown into the worse economic crisis the United States had ever been in.
Hoover's personal philosophy played a big part in how he dealt with the Great Depression. His philosophies of having people help themselves by reducing government handouts became the national economic policy. Though Hoover had seen the need for the government to be a part a large part of the national economy during World War I, he could not see the need for the government to be involved during a downturn in the economy. He argued that if the government were to prop people up, they would not be able to live on their own in the future, and would stay on government help for years. That American should be a place for self determination, and rugged individualism, not a place for a centralized socialist government that will play a big part in a person's life. He believed that the liberty that Americans loved most was found in the fact that government did not control any businesses, and did not invade too much into any American's lives. This liberty was the tradition of American culture, and Hoover did not want to change this tradition to solve the economic crisis. Instead, Hoover practiced a supply-side economics strategy, in which the government helped prop up the largest businesses of the day, with the hopes that the effects would trickle down through the economy to the entire country.
Hoover's philosophies prevented the government from having that much interaction with the economy at the time, so this made it look like the new administration was doing nothing to help relieve the depression.