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Herbert Hoover

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Subject: Electoral history of Herbert Hoover, United States presidential election, 1932, United States presidential election, 1928, Calvin Coolidge, Warren G. Harding
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Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover
31st President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933
Vice President Charles Curtis
Preceded by Calvin Coolidge
Succeeded by Franklin D. Roosevelt
3rd United States Secretary of Commerce
In office
March 5, 1921 – August 21, 1928
President Warren G. Harding
Calvin Coolidge
Preceded by Joshua W. Alexander
Succeeded by William F. Whiting
Personal details
Born Herbert Clark Hoover
(1874-08-10)August 10, 1874
West Branch, Iowa, U.S.
Died October 20, 1964(1964-10-20) (aged 90)
New York, New York, U.S.
Resting place Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum
West Branch, Iowa
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Lou Henry
(m. 1899—1944; her death)
Children Herbert Hoover, Jr.
Allan Hoover
Residence Stanford, California, U.S.
Alma mater George Fox University
Stanford University
Profession Mining engineer
Civil engineer
Religion Quaker
Signature Cursive signature in ink

Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964) was the 31st President of the United States (1929–1933). Hoover, born to a Quaker family, was a professional mining engineer. He achieved American and international prominence in humanitarian relief efforts in war-time Belgium and served as head of the U.S. Food Administration during World War I.[1] As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted partnerships between government and business under the rubric "economic modernization". In the presidential election of 1928, Hoover easily won the Republican nomination, despite having no elected-office experience. Hoover is the most recent cabinet secretary to be elected President of the United States, as well as one of only two Presidents (along with William Howard Taft) elected without electoral experience or high military rank. President Calvin Coolidge had famously asserted that "The business of America is business," and "pro-business" policies fostered an economic bubble that peaked in America in 1929, facilitating a landslide victory for Hoover over Democrat Al Smith.

Hoover, a globally experienced engineer, believed strongly in the Efficiency Movement, which held that the government and the economy were riddled with inefficiency and waste, and could be improved by experts who could identify the problems and solve them. He also believed in the importance of volunteerism and of the role of individuals in society and the economy. Hoover, who had made a small fortune in mining, was the first of two Presidents to redistribute their salary (President Kennedy was the other; he donated all his paychecks to charity).[2] When the Wall Street Crash of 1929 struck less than eight months after he took office, Hoover tried to combat the ensuing Great Depression with moderate government public works projects such as the Hoover Dam. Unfortunately, the record tariffs imbedded in the Smoot-Hawley Tariff and aggressive increases in the top tax bracket from 25% to 63%, coupled with increases in corporate taxes.[3] yielded a "balanced budget" in 1933, but seriously hindered economic recovery. Instead, the economy plummeted and unemployment rates rose to afflict one in four American workers. This downward spiral set the stage for Hoover's defeat in 1932 by Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt, who promised a New Deal. After Roosevelt assumed the Presidency in 1933, Hoover became a spokesman in opposition to the domestic and foreign policies of the New Deal. In 1947, President Harry S. Truman appointed Hoover to head the Hoover Commission, intended to foster greater efficiency throughout the federal bureaucracy. Most historians agree that Hoover's defeat in the 1932 election was caused primarily by the downward economic spiral, although his strong support for prohibition was also significant. Hoover is usually ranked lower than average among U.S. Presidents.


  • Family background and early life 1
  • Mining engineer 2
    • Australia 2.1
    • China and other global operations 2.2
    • Sole proprietor 2.3
  • Humanitarian work 3
    • Relief in Europe and Belgium 3.1
    • U.S. Food Administration 3.2
    • Post-war relief 3.3
  • Secretary of Commerce 4
    • Radio conferences 4.1
    • Traffic conferences 4.2
    • Mississippi flood 4.3
  • Presidential election of 1928 5
    • Republican primaries 5.1
    • General election 5.2
  • Presidency (1929–1933) 6
    • Policies 6.1
    • Foreign relations 6.2
    • Civil rights 6.3
    • Great Depression 6.4
    • Economy 6.5
      • Bonus Army 6.5.1
    • 1932 campaign 6.6
    • Administration and cabinet 6.7
    • Supreme Court appointments 6.8
  • Post-presidency 7
  • The road to war and World War II 8
  • Post–World War II 9
  • Final years and death 10
  • Writing 11
  • Heritage and memorials 12
  • Media 13
  • See also 14
  • Notes 15
  • Further reading 16
    • Biographies 16.1
    • Scholarly studies 16.2
    • Primary sources 16.3
  • Bibliography 17
  • External links 18

Family background and early life

1877 Hoover Tintype

Herbert Hoover was born on August 10, 1874, in West Branch, Iowa, the first of his office born in that state and west of the Mississippi River. His father, Jesse Hoover (1849–1880), was a blacksmith and farm implement store owner, of German (Pfautz, Wehmeyer) and Swiss (Huber, Burkhart) descent. Jesse and his own father Eli had moved to Iowa from Ohio twenty years prior.[4] Hoover's mother, Hulda Randall Minthorn (1849–1884), was born in Norwich, Ontario, Canada, and had English and Irish ancestry. Both parents were Quakers.

Around age two "Bertie", as he was called during that time, contracted a serious bout of croup, and was momentarily thought to have died until resuscitated by his uncle, John Minthorn.[5] As a young child he was often referred to by his father as "my little stick in the mud" when he repeatedly got trapped in the mud crossing the unpaved street.[6] Herbert's family figured prominently in the town's public prayer life, due almost entirely to mother Hulda's role in the church.[7] His father, noted by the local paper for his "pleasant, sunshiny disposition", died in 1880. After working to retire her husband's debts, retain their life insurance, and care for the children, his mother died in 1884, leaving Hoover (age nine), his older brother, and his younger sister as orphans.[8] Fellow Quaker Lawrie Tatum was appointed as Hoover's guardian.

Hoover birthplace cottage, West Branch, Iowa

After a brief stay with one of his grandmothers in Salem, Oregon. Though he did not attend high school, Hoover attended night school and learned bookkeeping, typing and mathematics.[10]

Hoover entered Stanford University in 1891, its inaugural year, after failing all the entrance exams (except mathematics) and then being tutored for the summer in Palo Alto.[11] The first-year students were not required to pay tuition.[10] Hoover claimed to be the very first student at Stanford, by virtue of having been the first person in the first class to sleep in the dormitory.[12] While at the university, he was the student manager of both the baseball and football teams and was a part of the inaugural Big Game versus rival the University of California (Stanford won).[12] Hoover graduated in 1895 with a degree in geology.[13] He earned his way through four years of college working at various jobs on and off campus, including the Arkansas and United States Geological Survey.[14] Throughout his tenure at Stanford, he was adamantly opposed to the fraternity system.[15]

Mining engineer


Hoover went to Western Australia in 1897 as an employee of Bewick, Moreing & Co., a London-based gold mining company. His geological training and work experience were well suited for the firm's objectives.[16] He worked at gold mines in Big Bell, Cue, Leonora, Menzies, and Coolgardie.[17][18] Hoover first went to Coolgardie, then the center of the Western Australian goldfields, where he worked under Edward Hooper, a company partner. Conditions were harsh in these goldfields even though he got a $5,000 salary (equivalent to $100,000 today).[19] In the Coolgardie and Murchison rangelands on the edge of the Great Victoria Desert, Hoover described the region as a land of "black flies, red dust and white heat".[20] He served as a geologist and mining engineer while searching the Western Australian goldfields for investments. After being appointed as mine manager at the age of 23, he led a major program of expansion for the Sons of Gwalia gold mine at Gwalia, and brought in many Italian immigrants to cut costs and counter the union militancy of the Australian miners.[21][22] He believed "the rivalry between the Italians and the other men was of no small benefit."[21] He also described Italians as "fully 20 per cent superior"[21] to other miners.

During his time at Gwalia, Hoover first met Fleury James Lyster, a pioneering metallurgist.[23][24] In Western Australia friends called Hoover "H.C." or the old nickname "Hail Columbia".[25] An open feud developed between Hoover and his boss Ernest Williams, with Hoover persuading four other mine managers to conspire against his rival. The firm's principals then offered Hoover a compelling promotion which would relocate him to China and also end the feud.[26] Hoover then began to take stock of his private life, including contemplating a separation from his Stanford sweetheart, Lou Henry.

China and other global operations

Herbert Hoover, aged 23; taken in Perth, Western Australia in 1898

Hoover promptly sent a cable of proposal to her, and subsequently married Lou Henry, in 1899. She had been an Episcopalian and became a Quaker. The Hoovers had two sons, Herbert Charles Hoover (1903–1969) and Allan Henry Hoover (1907–1993). The family subsequently went to China. Hoover worked as chief engineer for the Chinese Bureau of Mines, and as general manager for the Chinese Engineering and Mining Corporation.[27] Later he worked for Bewick, Moreing & Co. as the company's lead engineer. Hoover and his wife learned Mandarin Chinese while he worked in China and used it during his tenure at the White House when they wanted to foil eavesdroppers.[28] Hoover made recommendations to improve the lot of the Chinese worker, seeking to end the practice of imposing long term servitude contracts and to institute reforms for workers based on merit.[29] The Boxer Rebellion trapped the Hoovers in Tianjin in June 1900. For almost a month, the settlement was under fire, and both dedicated themselves to defense of their city. Hoover himself guided U.S. Marines around Tianjin during the battle, using his knowledge of the local terrain.[30] Mrs. Hoover meanwhile devoted her efforts at the various hospitals and even wielded, and willingly and accurately deployed, a .38-caliber pistol.[31]

Hoover was made a partner in Bewick, Moreing & Co. on December 18, 1901 and assumed responsibility for various Australian operations and investments.[32] His initial compensation rose to $12,500 annually in addition to a 20% share of profits.[33] The company eventually controlled at one point approximately 50% of gold production in Western Australia.[34] In 1901, Hoover no longer lived in Australia, but he visited the country in 1902, 1903, 1905, and 1907 as an overseas investor.

Lou Henry, age 17, on a burro and rifle-ready at Acton, California on August 22, 1891

Hoover was also a director of Chinese Engineering and Mining Corporation (CEMC) when it became a supplier of immigrant labor from Southeast Asia for South African mines.[35] The first shipment of almost 2,000 workers arrived in Durban from Qinhuangdao in July 1904. By 1906, the total number of immigrant workers increased to 50,000, almost entirely recruited and shipped by CEMC. When the living and working conditions of the laborers became known, public opposition to the scheme grew and questions were asked in the British Parliament.[36] The scheme was abandoned in 1911.

In August–September 1905, he founded the Zinc Corporation (eventually part of the Rio Tinto Group) with William Baillieu and others. The lead-silver ore produced at Broken Hill, New South Wales was rich in zinc. But the zinc could not be recovered due to "the Sulphide Problem", and was left in the tailings that remained after the silver and lead was extracted.[37]

Zinc Corporation proposed to buy the tailings and extract the zinc by a new process. The froth flotation process was then being developed at Broken Hill, although the Zinc Corporation struggled to apply it.[38] Hoover came to Broken Hill in 1907. So did Australinan engineer Jim Lyster, whose "Lyster Process",[23] enabled the Zinc Corporation to operate the world's first selective or differential flotation plant, from September 1912.[39] Hoover's brother, Theodore J. Hoover, also came to Broken Hill.

"Broken Hill was one of the dreariest places in the world at this time. It lay in the middle of the desert, was unbelievably hot in summer, had no fresh water, no vegetation, and mountains of tailings blew into every crack with every wisp of wind."[40] Despite these miserable conditions, Hoover and his associates became suppliers to world industry of zinc and other vital base minerals.

Sole proprietor

Herbert Hoover in his 30s while a mining engineer.

In 1908, Hoover became an independent mining consultant, traveling worldwide until the outbreak of World War I in 1914. He left Bewick, Moreing & Co and, setting out on his own, eventually ended up with investments on every continent and offices in San Francisco, London, New York City, St. Petersburg, Paris and Mandalay, Burma.[41] He had his second successful venture with the British firm Burma Corporation, again producing silver, lead, and zinc in large quantities at the Namtu Bawdwin Mine, where he caught malaria in 1907.[42] While living in London, noting the American engineer's patriotic intensity, some British acquaintances referred to him as the "star-spangled Hoover". It recalled the nickname he had acquired in the Australian outback: "Hail Columbia" Hoover.[43] The Bawdwin mine ultimately became the chief source of Hoover's fortune.[44]

In his spare time, Hoover wrote. His lectures at

  • In 1929, President Herbert Hoover dedicated the completion of the Ohio River canalization.
  • Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and National Historic Site
  • Inaugural Address
  • Audio clips of Hoover's speeches
  • Original Manuscript Letters: Herbert Hoover Shapell Manuscript Foundation
  • White House Biography
  • Herbert Hoover's 1946–1947 factfinding mission to Germany. (Report No.1), (Report No.3)
  • Hoover and Truman
  • The Last Salute: Civil and Military Funeral, 1921–1969, CHAPTER XXV, Former President Herbert C. Hoover, State Funeral, October 20–25 1964 by B. C. Mossman and M. W. Stark. United States Army Center of Military History.
  • Collection of Editorial Cartoons including 300 featuring Herbert Hoover
  • Hoover Genealogy, Herbert Hoover National HIstoric Site, National Park Service
  • 1915 passport photo; Herbert Hoover
  • Herbert Hoover at C-SPAN's American Presidents: Life Portraits
  • Herbert Hoover's Some Notes on Industrial Readjustment in The Saturday Evening Post
  • National Academy of Sciences Biographical Memoir
  • The Great Famine: The Story of the American effort to relieve starvation in 1921 Soviet Russia

External links

  • Eisler, A Justice for All,  


  • Myers, William Starr; Walter H. Newton, eds. The Hoover Administration; a documented narrative. 1936.
  • Hawley, Ellis, ed. Herbert Hoover: Containing the Public Messages, Speeches, and Statements of the President, 4 vols. (1974–1977)
  •  , Hoover, Herbert Clark and Lou Henry Hoover, trans.
  • Hoover, Herbert Clark (1934), The Challenge to Liberty .
  • ———————— (1938), Addresses Upon The American Road, 1933–1938 .
  • ———————— (1941), Addresses Upon The American Road, 1940–41 .
  • ————————; and Gibson, Hugh (1942), The Problems of Lasting Peace .
  • ———————— (1949), Addresses Upon The American Road, 1945–48 .
  • ———————— (1952a), Years of adventure, 1874–1920 (PDF), Memoirs 1, New York .
  • .
  • ———————— (1952c), The Great Depression, 1929–1941 (PDF), Memoirs 3, New York .
  • Miller, Dwight M.; Walch, Timothy, eds. (1998), Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Documentary History, Contributions in American History, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press,  
  • Hoover, Herbert Clark (2011),  .
  • The Crusade Years, 1933–1955: Herbert Hoover’s Lost Memoir of the New Deal Era and Its Aftermath ed. by George Nash. (Hoover Institution Press, 2013) details

Primary sources

  • Extensive annotated bibliography at the University of Virginia Miller Center of Public Affairs
  • Claus Bernet (2009). "Hoover, Herbert". In Bautz, Traugott. Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German) 30. Nordhausen: Bautz. cols. 644–653.  
  • Barber, William J. From New Era to New Deal: Herbert Hoover, the Economists, and American Economic Policy, 1921–1933. (1985)
  • Barry, John M. Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America (1998), Hoover played a major role
  • Britten, Thomas A. "Hoover and the Indians: the Case for Continuity in Federal Indian Policy, 1900–1933" Historian 1999 61(3): 518–538. ISSN 0018-2370
  • Calder, James D. The Origins and Development of Federal Crime Control Policy: Herbert Hoover's Initiatives Praeger, 1993
  • Carcasson, Martin. "Herbert Hoover and the Presidential Campaign of 1932: the Failure of Apologia" Presidential Studies Quarterly 1998 28(2): 349–365
  • Clements, Kendrick A. Hoover, Conservation, and Consumerism: Engineering the Good Life. University Press of Kansas, 2000
  • DeConde, Alexander. Herbert Hoover's Latin American Policy. (1951)
  • Dodge, Mark M., ed. Herbert Hoover and the Historians. (1989)
  • Doenecke, Justus D. "Anti-Interventionism of Herbert Hoover". Journal of Libertarian Studies, (Summer 1987), 8(2): 311–340
  • Fausold, Martin L. The Presidency of Herbert C. Hoover. (1985) standard scholarly overview
  • Fausold Martin L. and George Mazuzan, eds. The Hoover Presidency: A Reappraisal (1974)
  • Ferrell, Robert H. American Diplomacy in the Great Depression: Hoover–Stimson Foreign Policy, 1929–1933. (1957)
  • Goodman, Mark and Gring, Mark. "The Ideological Fight over Creation of the Federal Radio Commission in 1927" Journalism History 2000 26(3): 117–124
  • Hamilton, David E. From New Day to New Deal: American Farm Policy from Hoover to Roosevelt, 1928–1933. (1991)
  • Hart, David M. (1998), Herbert Hoover's Last Laugh: the Enduring Significance of the 'Associative State' in the United States 10 (4), Journal of Policy History, pp. 419–444 
  • Hawley, Ellis. "Herbert Hoover, the Commerce Secretariat, and the Vision of an 'Associative State', 1921–1928". Journal of American History, (June 1974) 61(1): 116–140
  • Houck, Davis W. "Rhetoric as Currency: Herbert Hoover and the 1929 Stock Market Crash" Rhetoric & Public Affairs 2000 3(2): 155–181. ISSN 1094-8392
  • Hutchison, Janet. "Building for Babbitt: the State and the Suburban Home Ideal" Journal of Policy History 1997 9(2): 184–210
  • Lichtman, Allan J. Prejudice and the Old Politics: The Presidential Election of 1928 (1979)
  • Lisio, Donald J. The President and Protest: Hoover, MacArthur, and the Bonus Riot, 2d ed. (1994)
  • Lisio, Donald J. Hoover, Blacks, and Lily-whites: A Study of Southern Strategies (1985)
  • Malin, James C. The United States after the World War. 1930. extensive coverage of Hoover's Commerce Dept. policies
  • Olson, James S. Herbert Hoover and the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, 1931–1933 (1977)
  • Robinson, Edgar Eugene and Vaughn Davis Bornet. Herbert Hoover: President of the United States. (1976)
  • Romasco, Albert U. The Poverty of Abundance: Hoover, the Nation, the Depression (1965)
  • Schwarz, Jordan A. The Interregnum of Despair: Hoover, Congress, and the Depression. (1970). Hostile to Hoover
  • Sibley, Katherine A.S., ed. A Companion to Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover (2014); 616pp; essays by scholars stressing historiography
  • Stoff, Michael B. "Herbert Hoover: 1929–1933". The American Presidency: The Authoritative Reference. New York, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company (2004), 332–343
  • Sobel, Robert Herbert Hoover and the Onset of the Great Depression 1929–1930 (1975)
  • Tracey, Kathleen. Herbert Hoover–A Bibliography: His Writings and Addresses. (1977)
  • Wilbur, Ray Lyman, and Arthur Mastick Hyde. The Hoover Policies. (1937). In depth description of his administration by two cabinet members
  • Wueschner, Silvano A. Charting Twentieth-Century Monetary Policy: Herbert Hoover and Benjamin Strong, 1917–1927. Greenwood, 1999

Scholarly studies

  • Best, Gary Dean. The Politics of American Individualism: Herbert Hoover in Transition, 1918–1921 (1975)
  • Best, Gary Dean. The Life of Herbert Hoover: Keeper of the Torch, 1933-1964. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
  • Bornet, Vaughn Davis, "An Uncommon President" in Herbert Hoover Reassessed (1981), pp. 71–88.
  • Burner, David (1996), Herbert Hoover: A Public Life, Easton Press .
  • Clements, Kendrick A. The Life of Herbert Hoover: Imperfect Visionary, 1918–1928 (2010).
  • Gelfand, Lawrence E. ed. Herbert Hoover: The Great War and Its Aftermath, 1914–1923 (1979)
  • Hatfield, Mark. ed. Herbert Hoover Reassessed (2002)
  • Hawley, Ellis. Herbert Hoover as Secretary of Commerce: Studies in New Era Thought and Practice (1981).
  • Hawley, Ellis (1989), Herbert Hoover and the Historians .
  • Hoff-Wilson, Joan. Herbert Hoover: Forgotten Progressive. (1975). short biography
  • Jeansonne, Glen. The Life of Herbert Hoover: Fighting Quaker, 1928–1933. Palgrave Macmillan; 2012.
  • Leuchtenburg, William E. Herbert Hoover. (2009).
  • Lloyd, Craig. Aggressive Introvert: A Study of Herbert Hoover and Public Relations Management, 1912–1932 (1973.
  • Nash, George H. The Life of Herbert Hoover: The Engineer 1874–1914 (1983).
  • ———— (1988), The Humanitarian, 1914–1917, The Life of Herbert Hoover 2 .
  • ———— (1996), Master of Emergencies, 1917–1918, The Life of Herbert Hoover 3 .
  • Nash, Lee, ed. Understanding Herbert Hoover: Ten Perspectives (1987)
  • Smith, Gene. The Shattered Dream: Herbert Hoover and the Great Depression (1970)
  • Smith, Richard Norton. An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover, (1987).
  • Walch, Timothy. ed. Uncommon Americans: The Lives and Legacies of Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover Praeger, 2003.
  • Wert, Hal Elliott. Hoover, The Fishing President: Portrait of the Private Man and his Life Outdoors (2005).


Further reading

  1. ^ Burner, pp. 72–137.
  2. ^ "Salary", Hoover, Archive 
  3. ^ Burner, pp. 245–283.
  4. ^ Burner, p. 4.
  5. ^ Burner, p. 6.
  6. ^ Burner, p. 7.
  7. ^ Burner, p. 9.
  8. ^ Burner, p. 10.
  9. ^ Burner, p. 12.
  10. ^ a b "Chronology", Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, Archives, retrieved November 30, 2006 
  11. ^ Burner, p. 16.
  12. ^ a b Revsine, David 'Dave', "One-sided numbers dominate Saturday's rivalry games", ESPN (Go), retrieved November 30, 2006 
  13. ^ "Hoover Online". US NARA. Retrieved October 6, 2008. 
  14. ^ Burner, p. 17.
  15. ^ Burner, p. 20.
  16. ^ Burner, p. 24–26.
  17. ^ "Cue Heritage Trail" (PDF). Western AustraliaHeritage Trails Network.  
  18. ^ "Historic pictures", Leonora Gwalia Historical Museum . His former house in Gwalia is now a historical tourist attraction, and as of 2004, a bed and breakfast inn. Hoover is profiled as a mining pioneer in the Kalgoorlie Miners Hall of Fame, although his biography fails to mention his subsequent role as U.S. President.
  19. ^ "Herbert Hoover, the graduate: Have Stanford degree, will travel". Hoover Institution. June 15, 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  20. ^ "What did the President do in Western Australia?", FAQ, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum 
  21. ^ a b c Gwalia Historic Site, AU 
  22. ^ "Hoover's Gold" (PDF). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2005. Retrieved June 17, 2010. 
  23. ^ a b Fairweather, DF, "Lyster, Fleury James (Jim) (1872–1948)", Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, retrieved February 19, 2012 
  24. ^ Nash, George H, "Hoover, Herbert Clark (1874–1964)", Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, retrieved February 18, 2012 
  25. ^ Nash, George H. The Life of Herbert Hoover, vol. 1 The Engineer, 1874–1914; pp. 292–3
  26. ^ Burner, p. 32.
  27. ^ 31st President, Herbert Clark Hoover. (1964-10-20). Retrieved on 2013-07-14.
  28. ^ King, David (2009), Herbert Hoover,  
  29. ^ Burner, p. 34.
  30. ^ Hoover, Herbert C. (1952). The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover Years of Adventure 1874–1920. London: Hollis & Carter. p. 53
  31. ^ Burner, p. 37.
  32. ^ Nash, George H. The Life of Herbert Hoover, vol. 1 The Engineer, 1874–1914; p. 224
  33. ^ Burner, p. 38.
  34. ^ Nash, George H. The Life of Herbert Hoover, vol. 1, The Engineer, 1874–1914; p. 283
  35. ^ Walter Liggett, The Rise of Herbert Hoover (New York, 1932)
  36. ^ Mr Winston Churchill: speeches in 1906 (Hansard). Retrieved on 2013-07-14.
  37. ^ Geoffrey Blainey, The Rise of Broken Hill p. 51
  38. ^ Burner, David (1984), Herbert Hoover: a Public Life, New York: Atheneum, pp. 24–43
  39. ^ Geoffrey Blainey, The Rush that Never Ended (Melb, 1963) – Froth and Bubble, pp. 267–8
  40. ^ Hoover, Herbert C. (1952). The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover Years of Adventure 1874–1920. London: Hollis & Carter. p. 88
  41. ^ Hoover, Herbert C. (1952). The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover Years of Adventure 1874–1920. London: Hollis & Carter. p. 99
  42. ^ Nash, George H. The Life of Herbert Hoover, vol. 1 The Engineer, 1874–1914; p. 381
  43. ^ Nash, George H. The Life of Herbert Hoover, vol. 1 The Engineer, 1874–1914; p. 502
  44. ^ Burner, p. 43.
  45. ^ Hoover, Herbert C (1909), Principles of Mining (First ed.), London: McGraw-Hill Book Company, retrieved September 25, 2008 
  46. ^ Agricola 1912.
  47. ^ Nash, George H. The Life of Herbert Hoover, vol. 1 The Engineer, 1874–1914 p. 569
  48. ^ Nash, p. 509
  49. ^ Nash, p. 446
  50. ^ Hoover, Herbert C. (1952). The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover Years of Adventure 1874–1920. London: Hollis & Carter. p. 33
  51. ^ Nash, p. 411
  52. ^ "Hoover Biography", SOE, USA: Stanford University 
  53. ^ Rice, Arnold S, ed. (1971), Herbert Hoover, 1874–1964 (chronology-documents-bibliographical aids) 
  54. ^ The Silver City: The Mining History, Line of Load Association, 2002, archived from the original on 2009-07-23, retrieved 2012-02-13 
  55. ^ Rio Tinto Review (PDF), Rio Tinto Group, September 2006, retrieved 2012-02-13 
  56. ^ Herbert Hoover, just another Stanford (blog), Hoover Institution and Archives, June 2011, retrieved 2012-02-20 
  57. ^ Nash, p. 392
  58. ^ Brugioni, Dino A. (March 1990), "The Kyshtym Connection",  
  59. ^ The Philanthropy Hall of Fame, Herbert Hoover
  60. ^ "The Humanitarian Years", The Museum Exhibit Galleries,  
  61. ^ Burner, p. 74.
  62. ^ Burner, p. 79.
  63. ^ Burner, pp. 96–97.
  64. ^ Burner, p. 102.
  65. ^ Burner, p. 101.
  66. ^ Burner, pp. 104–09.
  67. ^ "Food as a Weapon.", Hoover Digest, Hoover Institution 
  68. ^ "How the U.S. saved a starving Soviet Russia: PBS film highlights Stanford scholar's research on the 1921–23 famine". Stanford University. April 4, 2011
  69. ^ Hart 1998.
  70. ^ Hutchison, Janet (1997), "Building for Babbitt: the State and the Suburban Home Ideal", Journal of Policy History 9 (2): 184–210,  
  71. ^ "The Cabinet: Good-Times Charlie". Time. January 30, 1950. Retrieved May 4, 2010. 
  72. ^ Poetry of the people: poems to the.., Google Books, 1996–2006,  
  73. ^
  74. ^ Peter D. Norton, Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City (MIT Press, 2008), pp. 178–197 ISBN 0-262-14100-0
  75. ^ Kosar, Kevin R. (2005). "Disaster Response and the Appointment of a Recovery Czar: The Executive Branch's Response to the Flood of 1927" U.S. Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, pp. 9–10. Washington D.C.
  76. ^ a b "Robert Moton and the Colored Advisory Commission",
  77. ^ "The Duncan Group – Interviews". December 2007. Archived from the original on October 6, 2008. Retrieved June 17, 2010. 
  78. ^ Ferrell, 195
  79. ^ McCoy, 390–391; Wilson, 122–123
  80. ^ Mencken, Henry Louis; George Jean Nathan (1929), The American mercury, p. 404 
  81. ^ Edmund A. Moore, A Catholic runs for President;: The campaign of 1928 by Edmund Arthur Moore (1956)
  82. ^ Allan J. Lichtman (2000), Prejudice and the old politics: the presidential election of 1928, Lexington Books, pp. 74–,  
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See also

Brief synopsis of the Hoover Administration


The historic townsite of Gwalia, Western Australia contains the Sons of Gwalia Museum and the Hoover House Bed and Breakfast, the renovated and restored Mining Engineers residence that was the original residence of Herbert Hoover and where he stayed in subsequent visits to the mine during the first decade of the twentieth century.[144]

George Burroughs Torrey painted a portrait of him.

The Polish capital of Warsaw also has a square named after Hoover alongside the Royal Route leading to the Old Town.[143]

The Belgian city of Leuven named a square in the city center after Hoover, honoring him for his work as chairman of the "Commission for Relief in Belgium" during World War I. The square is near the Central Library of the Catholic University of Leuven, where a bust of the president can be seen.

One line in the All in the Family theme song—an ironic exercise in pre–New Deal nostalgia—says "Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again".

On December 10, 2008, Hoover's great-granddaughter Margaret Hoover and Senate of Puerto Rico President Kenneth McClintock unveiled a life-sized bronze statue of Hoover at Puerto Rico's Territorial Capitol. The statue is one of seven honoring Presidents who have visited the United States territory during their term of office.

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum is located in West Branch, Iowa next to the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. The library is one of thirteen presidential libraries run by the National Archives and Records Administration. The Lou Henry and Herbert Hoover House, built in 1919 in Stanford, California, is now the official residence of the president of Stanford University, and a National Historic Landmark. Hoover's rustic rural presidential retreat, Rapidan Camp (also known as Camp Hoover) in the Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, has been restored and opened to the public. The Hoover Dam is named in his honor, as are numerous elementary, Middle school, and high schools across the United States.

A plaque in Poznan honoring Herbert Hoover.
Hoover Presidential Library

Heritage and memorials

[142] in 1944 as part of a proposed autobiography. This turned into a significant work critiquing the foreign policy of the United States during the period from the 1930s to 1945. Essentially an attack on the statesmanship of [141]Freedom Betrayed Herbert Hoover began his magnum opus


By the time of his death, he had rehabilitated his image.[140] His birthplace in Iowa and an Oregon home where he lived as a child, became National Landmarks during his lifetime. His Rapidan fishing camp in Virginia, which he had donated to the government in 1933, is now a National Historic Landmark within the Shenandoah National Park. Hoover and his wife are buried at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa. Hoover was honored with a state funeral, the last of three in a span of 12 months, coming as it did just after the deaths of President John F. Kennedy and General Douglas MacArthur. Former Chaplain of the Senate Frederick Brown Harris officiated. All three had two things in common: the commanding general of the Military District of Washington during those funerals was Army Major General Philip C. Wehle and the riderless horse was Black Jack, who also served in that role during Lyndon B. Johnson's funeral.

Hoover died following massive Coolidge administration. He also outlived both his successor Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Eleanor Roosevelt who died in 1945 and 1962, respectively. Since the passing of Coolidge on January 5, 1933, Hoover had been the oldest living ex-President, and still holds the record for the longest time being so (31 years, 289 days), having surpassed John Adams' record of 26 years, 202 days over five years earlier. Hoover was the last President to be the only living ex-President until the death of Lyndon B. Johnson in 1973, thus making Richard Nixon the most recent President to be the only living ex-President. Hoover's time as only living President was also the shortest in history, at one day less than two months.

From Coolidge's death in 1933 to Dwight D. Eisenhower's last day of serving the presidency in 1961, Hoover had been the only living Republican former president. In 1960, Hoover appeared at his final Republican National Convention. Since the 1948 convention, he had been feted as the guest of "farewell" ceremonies (the unspoken assumption being that the aging former President might not survive until the next convention). Joking to the delegates, he said, "Apparently, my last three good-byes didn't take." Although he lived to see the 1964 convention, ill health prevented him from attending. The Presidential nominee Barry Goldwater acknowledged Hoover's absence in his acceptance speech. In 1962, Hoover had a malignant intestinal tumor removed. Ten months later he had severe gastrointestinal bleeding and seemed terminally ill and frail, but his mind was clear and he maintained a great deal of correspondence. Although the illness would get worse over time, he refused to be hospitalized.

Final years and death

Despite his advancing years, Hoover continued to work nearly full-time both on writing (among his literary works is The Ordeal of Woodrow Wilson, a bestseller, and the first time one former President had ever written a biography about another), as well as overseeing the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, which housed not only his own professional papers, but also those of a number of other former high ranking governmental and military servants. He also threw himself into fund-raising for the Boys Clubs (now the Boys & Girls Clubs of America), which became his pet charity.

Hoover's official White House portrait painted by Elmer Wesley Greene.

Throughout the Cold War, Hoover, always an opponent of Marxism, became even more outspokenly anti-Communist.[137] However, he vehemently opposed American involvement in the Korean War, saying that "To commit the sparse ground forces of the non-communist nations into a land war against this communist land mass [in Asia] would be a war without victory, a war without a successful political terminal... that would be the graveyard of millions of American boys and the exhaustion of the United States."[138]

In 1947, President Harry S. Truman appointed Hoover to a commission, which elected him chairman, to reorganize the executive departments. This became known as the Hoover Commission. He was appointed chairman of a similar commission by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953. Both found numerous inefficiencies and ways to reduce waste. The government enacted most of the recommendations that the two commissions had made: 71% of the first commission's and 64% of the second commission's.

On Hoover's initiative, a school meals program in the American and British occupation zones of Germany was begun on April 14, 1947. The program served 3,500,000 children aged six through 18. A total of 40,000 tons of American food was provided during the Hooverspeisung (Hoover meals).

There is the illusion that the New Germany left after the pastoral state". It cannot be done unless we exterminate or move 25,000,000 people out of it.[136]

Following World War II, Hoover became friends with President Harry S. Truman. Hoover joked that they were for many years the sole members of the "trade union" of former Presidents (since Calvin Coolidge and Roosevelt were dead already). Because of Hoover's previous experience with Germany at the end of World War I, in 1946 President Truman selected the former president to tour Germany to ascertain the food status of the occupied nation. Hoover toured what was to become West Germany in Hermann Göring's old train coach and produced a number of reports critical of U.S. occupation policy. The economy of Germany had "sunk to the lowest level in a hundred years".[135] He stated in one report:

Herbert Hoover with his son Allan (left) and his grandson Andrew (above), 1950

Post–World War II

When the United States entered the war following the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hoover swept aside all feelings of neutrality and called for total victory. He offered himself to the government in any capacity necessary, but the Roosevelt Administration did not call upon him to serve.

If we go further and join the war and we win, then we have won for Stalin the grip of communism on Russia... Again I say, if we join the war and Stalin wins, we have aided him to impose more communism on Europe and the world. At least we could not with such a bedfellow say to our sons that by making the supreme sacrifice, they are restoring freedom to the world. War alongside Stalin to impose freedom is more than a travesty. It is a tragedy.[134]

During a radio broadcast on June 29, 1941, one week after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Hoover disparaged any "tacit alliance" between the U.S. and the USSR by saying:

When the Germans overran France and then had Britain held in a stalemate, many Americans saw Britain as on the verge of collapse. Nonetheless, Hoover declared that it would be folly for the United States to declare war on Germany and to rush to save the United Kingdom. Rather, he held, it was far wiser for this nation to devote itself to building up its own defenses, and to wash its hands of the mess in Europe. He called for a "Fortress America" concept, in which the United States, protected on the East and on the West by vast oceans patrolled by its Navy and its Air Corps (the USAAF), could adequately repel any attack on the Americas.

Unlike Roosevelt's administration, Hoover was a vocal supporter of providing relief to countries in Nazi-occupied Europe.[131] He was instrumental in creating the Commission for Polish Relief and Finnish Relief Fund.[132][133]

Hoover visited 10 European countries in March 1938, the month of Nazi Germany's Anschluss of Austria, and stated "I do not believe a widespread war is at all probable in the near future. There is a general realization everywhere ... that civilization as we know it cannot survive another great war."[130] Like many, he initially believed that the European Allies would be able to contain Germany, and that Imperial Japan would not attack American interests in the Pacific.

The road to war and World War II

By 1940, Hoover was again being spoken of as the possible nominee of the party in the presidential election. Although he trailed in the polls behind Thomas Dewey, Arthur Vandenberg, and his own former protege, Robert A. Taft, he still had considerable first-ballot delegate strength, and it was believed that if the convention deadlocked between the leading candidates, the party might turn to him as its compromise. However, the convention nominated the utility company president Wendell Willkie, who had supported Roosevelt in 1932 but turned against him after the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority forced him to sell his company. Hoover dutifully supported Willkie, although he despaired that the nominee endorsed a platform that, to Hoover, was little more than the New Deal in all but name.

In 1939, former President Herbert Hoover became the first Honorary Chairman of Tolstoy Foundation in Valley Cottage, New York, served in this capacity until his death in 1964.[129]

Although Hoover's reputation was at its low point, circumstances began to rehabilitate his name and restore him to prominence. Roosevelt overreached on his Supreme Court packing plan, and a further financial recession in 1937 and 1938 tarnished his image of invincibility.

In 1936, Hoover entertained hopes of receiving the Republican presidential nomination again, and thus facing Roosevelt in a rematch. However, although he retained strong support among some delegates, there was never much hope of his being selected. He publicly endorsed the nominee, Kansas Governor Alf Landon. But Hoover might as well have been the nominee, since the Democrats virtually ignored Landon, and they ran against the former President himself, constantly attacking him in speeches and warning that a Landon victory would put Hoover back in the White House as the secret power "behind the throne". Roosevelt won 46 of the 48 states, burying Landon in the Electoral College, and the Republican Party in Congress in another landslide.

Hoover's book, Fishing For Fun – And To Wash Your Soul

The relationship between Hoover and Roosevelt was one of the most severely strained in Presidential history. Hoover had little good to say about his successor. FDR, in turn, supposedly engaged in various petty official acts aimed at his predecessor, ranging from dropping him from the White House birthday greetings message list to having Hoover's name struck from the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, which would officially be known only as Boulder Dam for many years to come.

Although many of his friends and supporters called upon Hoover to speak out against FDR's New Deal and to assume his place as the voice of the "loyal opposition", he refused to do so for many years after leaving the White House, and he largely kept himself out of the public spotlight until late in 1934. However, that did not stop rumors springing up about him, often fanned by Democratic politicians who found the former President to be a convenient scapegoat.

Hoover fishing in his home state of Iowa.

Hoover liked to drive his car, accompanied by his wife or a friend (former Presidents did not get Secret Service protection until the 1960s), and drive on wandering journeys, visiting Western mining camps or small towns where he often went unrecognized, or heading up to the mountains, or deep into the woods, to go fishing in relative solitude. A year before his death, his own fishing days behind him, he published Fishing For Fun—And To Wash Your Soul, the last of more than sixteen books in his lifetime.

Hoover departed from Washington in March 1933 with some bitterness, disappointed both that he had been repudiated by the voters and unappreciated for his best efforts. The Hoovers went first to New York City, where they stayed for a while in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Later that spring, they returned to California to their Stanford residence. Hoover enjoyed returning to the men's clubs that he had long been involved with, including the Bohemian Club, the Pacific-Union Club, and the University Club in San Francisco.[128]

Hoover with Franklin D. Roosevelt, March 4, 1933


Hoover broke party lines to appoint the Democrat Cardozo. He explained that he "was one of the ancient believers that the Supreme Court should have a strong minority of the opposition's party and that all appointments should be made from experienced jurists. When the vacancy came... [Hoover] canvassed all the possible Democratic jurists and immediately concluded that Justice Cardozo was the right man and appointed him."[127]

Supreme Court Appointments by President Herbert Hoover
Position Name Term
Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes 1930–1941
Associate Justice Owen Roberts 1930–1945
Benjamin N. Cardozo 1932–1938

Hoover appointed the following Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States:[126]

Supreme Court appointments

The Hoover Cabinet
Office Name Term
President Herbert Hoover 1929–1933
Vice President Charles Curtis 1929–1933
Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg 1929
Henry L. Stimson 1929–1933
Secretary of Treasury Andrew Mellon 1929–1932
Ogden L. Mills 1932–1933
Secretary of War James W. Good 1929
Patrick J. Hurley 1929–1933
Attorney General William D. Mitchell 1929–1933
Postmaster General Walter F. Brown 1929–1933
Secretary of the Navy Charles F. Adams 1929–1933
Secretary of the Interior Ray L. Wilbur 1929–1933
Secretary of Agriculture Arthur M. Hyde 1929–1933
Secretary of Commerce Robert P. Lamont 1929–1932
Roy D. Chapin 1932–1933
Secretary of Labor James J. Davis 1929–1930
William N. Doak 1930–1933
Hoover's Cabinet

Administration and cabinet

After the election, Hoover requested that Roosevelt retain the Gold standard as the basis of the US currency, and in effect, continue many of the Hoover Administration's economic policies. Roosevelt refused.[125]

Despite the late campaign endeavors, Hoover sustained a large defeat in the election, having procured only 39.7 percent of the popular vote to Roosevelt's 57.4 percent. Hoover's popular vote was reduced by 26 percentage points from his result in the 1928 election. In the electoral college he carried only Pennsylvania, Delaware, and four other Northeastern states to lose 59–472. The Democrats extended their control over the U.S. House and gained control of the U.S. Senate.

President Hoover had become convinced that the Democrats deliberately were destroying the economy of the country and erecting roadblocks against every measure he offered to the Congress to restore balance to the economy ... all for the purpose of winning an election. Just a few weeks before the 1932 election, we were standing near a window in the Oval Office. His cigar was frayed and out, and he was in deep thought and obviously troubled. He turned aside and said that he had accepted a speaking engagement in Des Moines, Iowa, in three days and that the U.S. Secret Service had warned him that it had uncovered evidence of plots by radical elements to assassinate him if he kept it. Turmoil and uncertainty prevailed in the country, but there was absolutely no fear in his expression; to the contrary, there appeared to be an abundance of personal courage. Frankly, my heart went out to him, but I pointed out that fate and destiny played a part in the lives of all presidents and that I felt all possible precautions should be taken to protect him but that he should appear and make one of the greatest speeches of his administration. He smiled and said, "Osro, that's what I have already decided to do. Your concurrence is comforting." ...[124]

Osro Cobb, a leader of the Republican Party in Arkansas who became politically and personally close to Hoover, recalls:

In his campaign trips around the country, Hoover was faced with perhaps the most hostile crowds of any sitting president. Besides having his train and motorcades pelted with eggs and rotten fruit, he was often heckled while speaking, and on several occasions, the Secret Service halted attempts to kill Hoover by disgruntled citizens, including capturing one man nearing Hoover carrying sticks of dynamite, and another already having removed several spikes from the rails in front of the President's train.[123]

Hoover was nominated by the Republicans for a second term. He had originally planned to make only one or two major speeches, and to leave the rest of the campaigning to proxies, but when polls showed the entire Republican ticket facing a resounding defeat at the polls, Hoover agreed to an expanded schedule of public addresses. In his nine major radio addresses Hoover primarily defended his administration and his philosophy. The apologetic approach did not allow Hoover to refute Democratic nominee Franklin Roosevelt's charge that he was personally responsible for the depression.[122]

Although Hoover had come to detest the presidency, he agreed to run again in 1932, not only as a matter of pride, but also because he feared that no other likely Republican candidate would deal with the depression without resorting to what Hoover considered dangerously radical measures.

Hoover addresses a large crowd in his 1932 campaign.

1932 campaign

Thousands of World War I veterans and their families demonstrated and camped out in Washington, DC, during June 1932, calling for immediate payment of a bonus that had been promised by the 1932 election. That led New York governor and Democratic presidential candidate Franklin Roosevelt to declare of Hoover: "There is nothing inside the man but jelly!"

Bonus Army

Franklin D. Roosevelt blasted the Republican incumbent for spending and taxing too much, increasing national debt, raising tariffs and blocking trade, as well as placing millions on the government dole. Roosevelt attacked Hoover for "reckless and extravagant" spending, of thinking "that we ought to center control of everything in Washington as rapidly as possible".[120] Roosevelt's running mate, John Nance Garner, accused the Republican of "leading the country down the path of socialism".[121]

Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover aboard a train in Illinois.

, and this pressure resulted in various reforms. New York Stock Exchange conclude that the check tax was "an important contributing factor to that period's severe monetary contraction". Hoover also encouraged Congress to investigate the [119] To pay for these and other government programs and to make up for revenue lost due to the Depression, in addition to the

National debt as a fraction of GNP up from 20% to 40% under Hoover. From Historical Statistics US (1976)


The final attempt of the Hoover Administration to rescue the economy occurred in 1932 with the passage of the Emergency Relief and Construction Act, which authorized funds for public works programs and the creation of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC). The RFC's initial goal was to provide government-secured loans to financial institutions, railroads and farmers. The RFC had minimal impact at the time, but was adopted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and greatly expanded as part of his New Deal.

Congress, desperate to increase federal revenue, enacted the Revenue Act of 1932, which was the largest peacetime tax increase in history.[118] The Act increased taxes across the board, so that top earners were taxed at 63% on their net income. The 1932 Act also increased the tax on the net income of corporations from 12% to 13.75%.

In the U.S. by 1932 unemployment had reached 24.9%,[116] businesses defaulted on record numbers of loans, and more than 5,000 banks had failed.[117] Hundreds of thousands of Americans found themselves homeless and began congregating in the numerous Hoovervilles (shanty towns) that sprang up in major cities.

In 1931, Hoover issued the Hoover Moratorium, calling for a one-year halt in reparation payments by Germany to France and in the payment of Allied war debts to the United States. The plan was met with much opposition, especially from France, who saw significant losses to Germany during World War I. The Moratorium did little to ease economic declines. As the moratorium neared its expiration the following year, an attempt to find a permanent solution was made at the Lausanne Conference of 1932. A working compromise was never established, and by the start of World War II, reparations payments had stopped completely.[113][114] Hoover in 1931 urged the major banks in the country to form a consortium known as the National Credit Corporation (NCC).[115]

Calls for greater government assistance increased as the U.S. economy continued to decline. He was also a firm believer in balanced budgets (as were most Democrats), and was unwilling to run a budget deficit to fund welfare programs.[111] However, Hoover did pursue many policies in an attempt to pull the country out of depression. In 1929 he authorized the Mexican Repatriation program to help unemployed Mexican citizens return home. The program was largely a forced migration of approximately 500,000 people to Mexico, and continued until 1937. In June 1930, over the objection of many economists, Congress approved and Hoover reluctantly signed into law the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act. The legislation raised tariffs on thousands of imported items. The intent of the Act was to encourage the purchase of American-made products by increasing the cost of imported goods, while raising revenue for the federal government and protecting farmers. However, economic depression had spread worldwide, and Canada, France and other nations retaliated by raising tariffs on imports from the U.S. The result was to contract international trade, and worsen the Depression.[112]

President Hoover with Amelia Earhart in 1932.

Lee Ohanian, from UCLA, argues that Hoover adopted pro-labor policies after the 1929 stock market crash that "accounted for close to two-thirds of the drop in the nation's gross domestic product over the two years that followed, causing what might otherwise have been a bad recession to slip into the Great Depression".[109] This argument is at odds with the more Keynesian view of the causes of the Depression, and has been challenged as revisionist by J. Bradford DeLong of U.C. Berkeley.[110]

Libertarian economist Murray Rothbard argues that Hoover was actually the initiator of what came to be the New Deal. Hoover engaged in many unprecedented public works programs, including an increase in the Federal Buildings program of over $400 million and the establishment of the Division of Public Construction to spur public works planning. Hoover himself granted more subsidies to ship construction through the Federal Shipping Board and asked for a further $175 million appropriation for public works; this was followed in July 1930 with the expenditure of a giant $915 million public works program, including a Hoover Dam on the Colorado River.[104][105] In the spring of 1930, Hoover acquired from Congress an added $100 million to continue the Federal Farm Board lending and purchasing policies. At the end of 1929, the FFB established a national wool cooperative-the National Wool Marketing Corporation (NWMC) made up of 30 state associations. The Board also established an allied National Wool Credit Corporation to handle finances. A total of $31.5 million in loans for wool were made by the FFB, of which $12.5 million were permanently lost; these massive agricultural subsidies were a precedent for the later Agricultural Adjustment Act.[106][107] Hoover also advocated strong labor regulation law, including the enactment of the Bacon-Davis Act, requiring a maximum eight-hour day on construction of public buildings and the payment of at least the "prevailing wage" in the locality, as well as the Norris-LaGuardia Act in 1932. In the Banking sector, Hoover passed The Federal Home Loan Bank Act in July, 1932, establishing 12 district banks ruled by a Federal Home Loan Bank Board in a manner similar to the Federal Reserve System. $125 million capital was subscribed by the Treasury and this was subsequently shifted to the RFC. Hoover was also instrumental in passing the Glass-Steagall Act of 1932, allowing for prime rediscounting at the Federal Reserve, allowing further inflation of credit and bank reserves.[108]

Herbert Hoover in the Oval Office with Ted Joslin. 1932

Although many people at the time and for decades afterwards denounced Hoover for taking a hands-off ("laissez-faire") approach to the Depression,[101] a few historians emphasize how active he actually was. Hoover said he rejected Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon's suggested "leave-it-alone" approach,[102] and called many business leaders to Washington to urge them not to lay off workers or cut wages.[103]

Hoover had long been a proponent of the concept that public-private cooperation was the way to achieve high long-term growth.[99] Hoover feared that too much government intervention would undermine long-term individuality and self-reliance, which he considered essential to the nation's future. Both his ideals and the economy were put to the test with the onset of the Great Depression.[100]

Great Depression

Charles Curtis, the nation's first Native American Vice President, was from the Kaw tribe in Kansas.[97] Hoover's humanitarian and Quaker reputation, along with Curtis as a vice-president, gave special meaning to his Indian policies. His Quaker upbringing influenced his views that Native Americans needed to achieve economic self-sufficiency. As President, he appointed Charles J. Rhoads as commissioner of Indian affairs. Hoover supported Rhoads' commitment to Indian assimilation and sought to minimize the federal role in Indian affairs. His goal was to have Indians acting as individuals (not as tribes) and to assume the responsibilities of citizenship granted with the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924.[98]

First Lady Lou Hoover defied custom and invited the wife of Republican Oscar DePriest, the only African-American member in Congress, to tea at the White House. Booker T. Washington was the previous African-American to have dined at the White House, with Theodore Roosevelt in 1901.[96]

Hoover attempted to appoint John J. Parker of North Carolina to the Supreme Court in 1930 to replace Edward Sanford. The NAACP claimed that Parker had made many court decisions against African-Americans, and they fought the nomination. The NAACP was successful in gaining Senator William Borah's support and the nomination was defeated by two votes (39-41) in the Senate.[95]

Hoover seldom mentioned civil rights while he was President. He believed that African-Americans and other races could improve themselves with education and wanted the races assimilated into white culture.[94]

Civil rights

Hoover mediated between Chile and Peru to solve a conflict on the sovereignty of Arica and Tacna, that in 1883 by the Treaty of Ancón had been awarded to Chile for ten years, to be followed by a plebiscite that had never happened. By the Tacna–Arica compromise at the Treaty of Lima in 1929, Chile kept Arica, and Peru regained Tacna.

Following the release in 1930 of the Clark Memorandum, Hoover began formulating what would become Roosevelt's Good Neighbor policy. He began withdrawing American troops from Nicaragua and Haiti; he also proposed an arms embargo on Latin America and a one-third reduction of the world's naval power, which was called the Hoover Plan. The Roosevelt Corollary ceased being part of U.S. foreign policy. In response to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, he and Secretary of State Henry Stimson outlined the Hoover–Stimson Doctrine which held that the United States would not recognize territories gained by force.[93]

Foreign relations

Hoover with his dog, King Tut.
. Western Hemisphere of several Latin American nations to outline his economic and trade policies to other nations in the goodwill tourOn November 19, 1928, Hoover embarked on a seven-week

Hoover expanded Bureau of Indian Affairs; instituted prison reform; proposed a federal Department of Education (not enacted); advocated $50-per-month pensions for Americans over 65 (not enacted); chaired White House conferences on child health, protection, homebuilding and home-ownership; began construction of the Boulder Dam (later renamed Hoover Dam); and signed the Norris–La Guardia Act that limited judicial intervention in labor disputes.

Hoover entered office with a plan to reform the nation's regulatory system, believing that a federal bureaucracy should have limited regulation over a country's economic system.[90] A self-described progressive and reformer, Hoover saw the presidency as a vehicle for improving the conditions of all Americans by encouraging public-private cooperation—what he termed "volunteerism". Hoover saw volunteerism as preferable to governmental coercion or intervention which he saw as opposed to the American ideals of individualism and self-reliance.[91] Long before he had entered politics, he had denounced laissez-faire thinking.[92]

On poverty, Hoover said that "Given the chance to go forward with the policies of the last eight years, we shall soon with the help of God, be in sight of the day when poverty will be banished from this nation",[88] and promised, "We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land," but within months, the Stock Market Crash of 1929 occurred, and the world's economy spiraled downward into the Great Depression.[89]

Herbert Hoover as the new President of the United States; original drawing for an Oscar Cesare political cartoon, March 17, 1929


White House physician Admiral Joel T. Boone invented the sport Hooverball to keep Hoover fit while in the White House. Hooverball is a combination of volleyball and tennis, played with a 6 lb medicine ball. Hoover and several staff members played it each morning, earning them the nickname Medicine Ball Cabinet.[87]

Lou Henry Hoover was an activist First Lady. She typified the new woman of the post–World War I era: intelligent, robust, and aware of multiple female possibilities.[86]

Hoover held a press conference on his first day in office, promising a "new phase of press relations".[85] He asked the group of journalists to elect a committee to recommend improvements to the White House press conference. Hoover declined to use a spokesman, instead asking reporters to directly quote him and giving them handouts with his statements ahead of time. In his first 120 days in office, he held more regular and frequent press conferences than any other President, before or since. However, he changed his press policies after the 1929 stock market crash, screening reporters and greatly reducing his availability.[85]

Inauguration of Hoover

Presidency (1929–1933)

Historians agree that Hoover's national reputation and the booming economy, combined with deep splits in the Democratic Party over religion and prohibition, guaranteed his landslide victory with 58% of the vote.[83] Hoover's appeal to southern white voters succeeded in cracking the "Solid South", winning the Democratic strongholds of Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Texas and Tennessee; the Deep South continued to support Smith as the Democratic candidate. This was the first time that a Republican candidate for president had carried Texas. This outraged the black leadership, which largely broke from the Republican Party, and began seeking candidates who supported civil rights within the Democratic Party.[84]

Hoover campaigned for efficiency and the Republican record of prosperity against Democrat Alfred E. Smith. Smith likewise was a proponent of efficiency earned as governor of New York. Both candidates were pro-business, and each promised to improve conditions for farmers, reform immigration laws, and maintain America's isolationist foreign policy. Where they differed was on the Volstead Act which outlawed the sale of liquor and beer. Smith was a "wet" who called for its repeal, whereas Hoover gave limited support for prohibition, calling it an "experiment noble in purpose". His use of "experiment" suggested it was not permanent. While Smith won extra support among Catholics in the big cities Smith was the target of intense anti-Catholicism from some Protestant communities, especially as Southern Baptists and German Lutherans.[81] Overall the religious factor worked to the advantage of Hoover, although he took no part in it.[82]

General election

When President Calvin Coolidge announced in 1927 that he would not seek a full term of office in the 1928 presidential election, Hoover became the leading Republican candidate, despite the fact Coolidge was lukewarm on Hoover, often deriding his ambitious and popular Commerce Secretary as "Wonder Boy".[77] Coolidge had been reluctant to choose Hoover as his successor; on one occasion he remarked that "for six years that man has given me unsolicited advice—all of it bad. I was particularly offended by his comment to 'shit or get off the pot'."[78] Even so, Coolidge had no desire to split the party by publicly opposing the popular Commerce Secretary's nomination.[79] The delegates did consider nominating Vice President Charles Dawes to be Hoover's running mate. But Coolidge (who hated Dawes) remarked that this would be "a personal affront" to him, and the convention selected Senator Charles Curtis of Kansas instead.[80] His only real challenger was Frank Orren Lowden. Hoover received much favorable press coverage in the months leading up to the convention. Lowden's campaign manager complained that newspapers were full of "nothing but advertisements for Herbert Hoover and Fletcher's Castoria". Hoover's reputation, experience, and popularity coalesced to give him the nomination on the first ballot, with Senator Charles Curtis named as his running mate.

Republican primaries

Presidential election of 1928

The treatment of African-Americans during the disaster endangered Hoover's reputation as a humanitarian. Local officials brutalized blacks and prevented them from leaving relief camps, aid meant for African-American sharecroppers was often given to the landowners instead, and many times black males were conscripted by locals into forced labor, sometimes at gun point.[75] Knowing the potential ramifications on his presidential aspirations if such knowledge became public, Hoover struck a deal with Robert Russa Moton,[76] the prominent African-American successor to Booker T. Washington as president of the Tuskegee Institute. In exchange for keeping the suffering of African-Americans out of the public eye, Hoover promised unprecedented influence for African-Americans if he was elected president. Moton agreed, and consistent with the accommodationist philosophy of Washington, worked actively[76] to suppress information about mistreatment of blacks from being revealed to the media.

With a grant from the

The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 broke the banks and levees of the lower Mississippi River in early 1927, resulting in flooding of millions of acres and leaving 1.5 million people displaced from their homes. Although such a disaster did not fall under the duties of the Commerce Department, the governors of six states along the Mississippi specifically asked for Herbert Hoover in the emergency. President Calvin Coolidge sent Hoover to mobilize state and local authorities, militia, army engineers, the Coast Guard, and the American Red Cross.

Mississippi flood

As Commerce Secretary, Hoover also hosted two national conferences on street traffic, in 1924 and 1926 (a third convened in 1930, during Hoover's presidency). Collectively the meetings were called the National Conference on Street and Highway Safety. Hoover's chief objective was to address the growing casualty toll of traffic accidents, but the scope grew and soon embraced motor vehicle standards, rules of the road, and urban traffic control. He left the invited interest groups to negotiate agreements among themselves, which were then presented for adoption by states and localities. Because automotive trade associations were the best organized, many of the positions taken by the conferences reflected their interests. The conferences issued a model Uniform Vehicle Code for adoption by the states, and a Model Municipal Traffic Ordinance for adoption by cities. Both were widely influential, promoting greater uniformity between jurisdictions and tending to promote the automobile's priority in city streets.[74]

Traffic conferences

By the end of Hoover's service as Secretary, he had raised the status of the Department of Commerce. This was reflected in its modern headquarters built during the Roosevelt Administration in the 1930s in the Federal Triangle in Washington, D.C.

Although he continued to consider Harding ill-suited to be President, the two men nevertheless became friends. Hoover accompanied Harding on his final trip out West in 1923. It was Hoover who called for a specialist to tend to the ailing Chief Executive, and it was also Hoover who contacted the White House to inform them of the President's death. The Commerce Secretary headed the group of dignitaries accompanying Harding's body back to the capital.

Hoover contributed to major projects for navigation, irrigation of dry lands, electrical power, and flood control. As the new air transport industry developed, Hoover held a conference on aviation to promote codes and regulations. He became President of the American Child Health Organization, and he raised private funds to promote health education in schools and communities.

Hoover's radio conferences played a key role in the early organization, development and regulation of radio broadcasting. Prior to the Radio Act of 1927, the Secretary of Commerce was unable to deny radio licensing or reassign broadcast frequencies. With help from supporters Senator Dill and Representative White, Hoover brought the issue of radio control to the Senate floor. Hoover fought for more power to control the proliferation of licensed radio stations (which in 1927, stood at 732 stations). With help from Dill and White, Hoover promoted the Dill-White Bill which eventually would become the Radio Act of 1927. This act allowed the government to intervene and abolish radio stations that were deemed "non-useful" to the public. Hoover's attempts at regulating radio were not supported by all Congressmen, and he received much opposition from the Senate and from radio station owners. However, Hoover's contributions to regulate radio in its infancy heavily influenced the modern radio system.[73]

Hoover listening to a radio receiver

Radio conferences

It has been suggested that Herbert Hoover was the best Secretary of Commerce in United States history.[71][72] Hoover was the last President to have held a full cabinet position.

His "Own Your Own Home" campaign was a collaboration to promote ownership of single-family dwellings, with groups such as the Better Houses in America movement, the Architects' Small House Service Bureau, and the Home Modernizing Bureau. He worked with bankers and the savings and loan industry to promote the new long-term home mortgage, which dramatically stimulated home construction.[70]

Many of Hoover's efforts as Commerce Secretary centered on eliminating waste and increasing efficiency in business and industry. This included reducing labor losses from trade disputes and seasonal fluctuations, reducing industrial losses from accident and injury, and reducing the amount of crude oil spilled during extraction and shipping. One major achievement was to promote product standardizations. He energetically promoted international trade by opening offices overseas that gave advice and practical help to businessmen. Hoover was especially eager to promote Hollywood films overseas.[69]

As secretary and later as President, Hoover revolutionized relations between business and government. Rejecting the adversarial stance of Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson, he sought to make the Commerce Department a powerful service organization, empowered to forge cooperative voluntary partnerships between government and business. This philosophy is often called "associationalism".

Hoover aimed to change that, envisioning the Commerce Department as the hub of the nation's growth and stability. From Harding he demanded, and received, authority to coordinate economic affairs throughout the government. He created many sub-departments and committees, overseeing and regulating everything from manufacturing statistics, the census and radio, to air travel. In some instances he "seized" control of responsibilities from other Cabinet departments when he deemed that they were not carrying out their responsibilities well. Hoover became one of the most visible men in the country, often overshadowing Presidents Harding and Coolidge. Washington wags referred to Hoover as "the Secretary of Commerce... and Under-Secretary of Everything Else!"

After being elected, Harding rewarded Hoover for his support, offering to appoint him either Secretary of the Interior or Secretary of Commerce. Hoover ultimately chose Commerce. Commerce had existed for just eight years, since the division of the earlier Department of Commerce and Labor. Commerce was considered a minor Cabinet post, with limited and vaguely defined responsibilities.

Hoover with President Harding at a baseball game in 1921.

He placed his name on the ballot in the California state primary election, where he came close to beating popular Senator Hiram Johnson. But having lost in his home state, Hoover was not considered a serious contender at the convention. Even when it deadlocked for several ballots between Illinois Governor Frank Lowden and General Leonard Wood, few delegates seriously considered Hoover as a compromise choice. Although he had personal misgivings about the capability of the nominee, Warren G. Harding, Hoover publicly endorsed him and made two speeches for Harding.

Hoover rejected Democratic overtures in 1920. He had been a registered Republican before the war, though in 1912 he had supported Theodore Roosevelt's "Bull Moose" Progressive Party. Now he declared himself a Republican and a candidate for the Presidency.

Assistants William McCracken (left) & Walter Drake (right) with Secretary Hoover (center)

Secretary of Commerce

Hoover realized that he was in a unique position to collect information about the Great War and its aftermath. In 1919 he established the Hoover War Collection at Stanford University. He donated all the files of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, the U.S. Food Administration, and the American Relief Administration, and pledged $50,000 as an endowment. Scholars were sent to Europe to collect pamphlets, society publications, government documents, newspapers, posters, proclamations, and other ephemeral materials related to the war and the revolutions that followed it. The collection was later renamed the Hoover War Library and is now known as the Hoover Institution.

At war's end, the New York Times named Hoover one of the "Ten Most Important Living Americans". Hoover confronted a world of political possibilities when he returned home in 1919. Democratic Party leaders saw him as a potential Presidential candidate, and President Wilson privately preferred Hoover as his successor. "There could not be a finer one," asserted Franklin D. Roosevelt, then a rising star from New York. Hoover briefly considered becoming a Democrat, but he believed that 1920 would be a Republican year. Also, Hoover confessed that he could not run for a party whose only member in his boyhood home had been the town drunk.

Your help will enter history as a unique, gigantic achievement, worthy of the greatest glory, which will long remain in the memory of millions of Russians whom you have saved from death.[68]

Hoover provided aid to the defeated German nation after the war, as well as relief to famine-stricken Bolshevik-controlled areas of Russia in 1921, despite the opposition of Senator Henry Cabot Lodge and other Republicans. When asked if he was not thus helping Bolshevism, Hoover retorted, "Twenty million people are starving. Whatever their politics, they shall be fed!". The Russian famine of 1921–22 claimed 6 million people.[67] In July 1922, Soviet author Maxim Gorky wrote to Hoover:

After the war, as a member of the American Friends Service Committee, to carry out much of the logistical work in Europe.

Post-war relief

He carefully selected men to assist in the agency leadership – Alonzo Taylor (technical abilities), Robert Taft (political associations), Gifford Pinchot (agricultural influence) and Julius Barnes (business acumen).[65] Hoover established set days for people to avoid eating specified foods and save them for soldiers' rations: meatless Mondays, wheatless Wednesdays, and "when in doubt, eat potatoes". This program helped reduce consumption of foodstuffs needed overseas and avoided rationing at home. It was dubbed "Hooverizing" by government publicists, in spite of Hoover's continual orders that publicity should not mention him by name. The agency employed a system of price controls and licensing requirements for suppliers to maximize production. Despite efforts to prevent it, some companies reaped great profits.[66]

After the United States entered the war in April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson appointed Hoover to head the U.S. Food Administration, which was created under the Lever Food Control Act in 1917. This was a position he actively sought, though he later claimed it was thrust upon him. He was convinced from his Belgian work that centralization of authority was essential to any relief effort; he demanded, and got, great power albeit not as much as he sought.[63] Hoover believed "food will win the war"; and beginning on September 29, this slogan was introduced and put into frequent use.[64]

U.S. Food Administration

For the next two years, Hoover worked 14-hour days from London, administering the distribution of over two million tons of food to nine million war victims. In an early form of shuttle diplomacy, he crossed the North Sea forty times to meet with German authorities and persuade them to allow food shipments, becoming an international hero. The Belgian city of Leuven named a prominent square Hooverplein after him. At its peak, Hoover's American Relief Administration (ARA) fed 10.5 million people daily. Great Britain grew reluctant to support the CRB, preferring instead to emphasize Germany's obligation to supply the relief; Winston Churchill, whom Hoover intensely disliked, led a military faction that considered the Belgian relief effort "a positive military disaster".

When Belgium faced a food crisis after being invaded by Germany in 1914, Hoover undertook an unprecedented relief effort with the Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB).[61] As chairman of the CRB, Hoover worked with the leader of the Belgian Comité National de Secours et d'Alimentation (CNSA), Émile Francqui, to feed the entire nation for the duration of the war. The CRB obtained and imported millions of tons of foodstuffs for the CNSA to distribute, and watched over the CNSA to make sure the German army didn't appropriate the food. The CRB became a veritable independent republic of relief, with its own flag, navy, factories, mills, and railroads. Private donations and government grants (78%) supplied an $11-million-a-month budget.[62]

Hoover liked to say that the difference between dictatorship and democracy was simple: dictators organize from the top down, democracies from the bottom up. [60] "I did not realize it at the moment, but on August 3, 1914, my career was over forever. I was on the slippery road of public life."[59] When

Poster for the American Relief Administration for Belgium directed by Hoover.

Relief in Europe and Belgium

Humanitarian work

After World War II, Hoover's mining work in the Kyshtym area of Russia proved invaluable to American intelligence agencies. They had been unable to find detailed maps of the area, which contained the Soviets' first military plutonium production facility at Mayak, making knowledge of the area vital in the event of war with the Soviet Union. It was determined that Hoover had given extremely detailed maps of the area to Stanford University.[58]

[57] In later years Hoover thought of himself and his associates as "engineering doctors to sick concerns", hence his reputation as the "Doctor of sick mines".[56][55][54][53][52][51] Sixty-six years after opening the mine in 1897, Hoover still had a partial share in the [49] By 1914, Hoover stood eventually to obtain what he later described as "a large fortune from these Russian industries, probably more than is good for anybody".[48] He was once quoted as saying "If a man has not made a million dollars by the time he is forty, he is not worth much".[47] By 1914, Hoover was a wealthy man, with an estimated personal fortune of $4 million.

It is still in print. [46]

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