Tuesday, August 5, 2008

#31 - Herbert Hoover, 1929-1933

They say that events that take place during one's presidency will usually shape the man. In the case of Herbert Hoover, he really got the shaft. Hoover took office in March 1929 just seven months before the stock market crash and the onset of the Great Depression.

Hoover had graduated from Stanford University in California as a mining engineer. He married his college girlfriend, Lou Henry and they left the United States for China. While there, the Hoovers were caught up in the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. From China, the Hoovers went to Europe, where Germany soon declared war on France, marking the beginning of the First World War. The Hoovers spent the early days of the conflict helping to get Americans out of Europe and then working to feed Belgium, which had been overrun by the Germans. Once the United States entered the war, President Wilson appointed Hoover to head the Food Administration, which spent the days following the First World War, feeding those in need throughout Europe.

When he returned to the United States, Hoover served as Commerce Secretary for Presidents Harding and Coolidge and became the Republican presidential nominee in 1928. As President he spent his term trying to combat the Depression, but the crisis only deepened and Hoover quickly became the scapegoat. Hoover's presidency was further tarnished by his championing of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act and his sending Douglas MacArthur to remove the Bonus Army from Washington DC, where they had come to protest. He was badly defeated in 1932 by Franklin Roosevelt. In 1947, he was appointed by President Truman to head a commission to reorganize the Executive Branch. He was appointed to a similar position by President Eisenhower in 1953. Hoover lived for another thirty years, with the specter of the Depression forever hanging over him. When he died in 1964 at the age of ninety, he was the oldest surviving president, a record he held until Ronald Reagan passed him.

The Facts
  • born August 10, 1874 in West Branch, Iowa
  • died October 20, 1964 in New York, New York (age 90)
  • married to Lou Henry Hoover
  • party: Republican
The Election of 1928
The Election of 1932
  • Franklin Roosevelt / John Nance Garner - 22,821,277 (57.4%) / 472 EVs
  • Herbert Hoover / Charles Curtis - 15,761,254 (39.7%) / 59 EVs
  • Hoover is the first President to be born west of the Mississippi River.
  • The Star Spangled Banner was adopted as the national anthem during his presidency.
  • Hoover did not accept a salary as President.
  • Hoover outlived his wife, Lou, by twenty years. At the time of his death, he was the last member of both the Harding and Coolidge administrations.
  • Hoover had the longest retirement of any president.
  • His state funeral in 1964 was the last in a series of three that took place in a twelve-month period, following the funerals of John F. Kennedy and Douglas MacArthur.


Lana Gramlich said...

I had to do a 5 page report on the Hoove back in elementary school. It was very tedious & in retrospect, juvenile level books don't tell you NUTHIN'! (Maybe that's why it was so tedious...)

Brave Astronaut said...

Lana - don't you wonder how we got anything done in school without the Internet?