Hoover, Herbert (Clark)

Hoover, Herbert (Clark)

biographical name

(born Aug. 10, 1874, West Branch, Iowa, U.S.—died Oct. 20, 1964, New York, N.Y.) 31st president of the U.S. (1929–33). After graduating from Stanford University (1895), he became a mining engineer, administering engineering projects on four continents (1895–1913). He then headed Allied relief operations in England and Belgium. As U.S. national food administrator during World War I, he instituted programs that furnished food to the Allies and to famine-stricken areas of Europe. Appointed U.S. secretary of commerce (1921–27), he reorganized the department, creating divisions to regulate broadcasting and aviation. He oversaw commissions to build Boulder (later Hoover) Dam and the St. Lawrence Seaway. In 1928, as the Republican presidential candidate, he soundly defeated Alfred E. Smith. His hopes for a “New Day” program were quickly overwhelmed by the Great Depression. In response, he called business leaders to the White House to urge them not to lay off workers or cut wages, and he urged state and local governments to join private charities in caring for destitute Americans. Believing that a dole would sap the will of Americans to provide for themselves, he adamantly opposed direct federal relief payments to individuals, though in 1932 he finally allowed relief to farmers through the Reconstruction Finance Corp. After his electoral defeat in 1932 by Franklin D. Roosevelt, he regularly spoke out against what he considered the radicalism of the New Deal and Roosevelt's attempts to involve the U.S. in countering German and Japanese aggression. After World War II he participated in famine-relief work in Europe and was appointed head of the Hoover Commission.

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