Hoover, Herbert Clark

   31st president of the United States. Born in West Branch, Iowa, Herbert Hoover was orphaned at the age of nine. He grew up with relatives and went on to qualify in geology at Stanford University in 1895. Hoover became a millionaire working as a mining engineer in various western states and in Australia and China between 1895 and 1913. In 1914, he became chair of the American Relief Commission in London and from 1915 to 1919 chair of the Commission for Relief in Belgium. In 1917, Hoover rose to national prominence when Woodrow Wilson appointed him to head the United States Food Administration. He launched a massive national effort to maximize production and minimize private consumption through a program of propaganda that encouraged voluntary controls. Such was his public appeal that both political parties considered him as a potential presidential candidate in 1920, but he declined to run. President Warren Harding appointed Hoover as secretary of commerce in 1921, and he was reappointed by Calvin Coolidge in 1924.
   As secretary of the Department of Commerce, Hoover modernized the department and made it one of the most important federal agencies of its day. Hoover was in many ways progressive in that he hoped to bring about economic and social improvement through programs of education and voluntarism. He chaired the unemployment conference in 1921 to encourage business and local voluntary initiatives to counter the postwar recession. In 1921, he helped persuade United States Steel to accept the eight-hour work day. Hoover also backed the postwar “Own Your Own Homes” campaign and the Better Homes of America organization. He supported children’s concerns and was president of the American Child Health Association from 1923 to 1935. He is generally credited with drawing up the Children’s Bill of Rights in 1923 that was later incorporated in the 19-point Children’s Charter drawn up at the White House Conference on Child Health and Protection in 1930.
   In 1927, Hoover led the mobilization of relief following the Great Mississippi Flood. Again relying on voluntary and charitable relief, he raised $17 million in assistance for the thousands affected and further enhanced his reputation. When Calvin Coolidge declined to stand for reelection in 1928, Hoover won the Republican Party’s nomination and defeated Democrat Alfred E. Smith by a massive margin of 58 percent to 41 percent of the vote, carrying 40 states to Smith’s eight. While awaiting his inauguration, Hoover embarked on a six-week “good will” tour of Latin America and laid some of the foundations for Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Good NeighborPolicy. Upon taking office, Hoover’s activity contrasted with his predecessor’s inertia. He supported labor legislation that resulted in the Norris-La Guardia Antiinjunction Act of 1932, set limits on oil drilling and withdrew all federally held oil lands from further leasing, and ordered all large government rebates on income, estate, and gift taxes to be made public. The new president took action against corrupt patronage practices, supported land conservation, and attempted to win the support of black voters with his “southern strategy.” However, Hoover’s administration fell victim to the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and was quickly overwhelmed by the Great Depression that followed.
   Hoover attempted to address some of the economic problems facing the United States early in his administration. In an effort to deal with the problems of agriculture, he called a special session of Congress that passed his Agricultural Marketing Act in 1929. A second special session was called to revise the 1922 tariff to help farmers. After 14 months of deliberation, the result was the Hawley-Smoot Tariff that in the end proved counterproductive.
   Following the Wall Street Crash, Hoover held a series of conferences at the White House with industrialists, representatives of agriculture, and trade union leaders to try to ensure the maintenance of production, employment, and wage levels by voluntary action. The president called upon state and city officials to increase public works expenditure, and in 1930 he secured federal appropriations of $150 million for river and harbor improvement, new public buildings, and the building of the Boulder Dam (see HOOVER DAM). The federal government spent an unprecedented $700 million on public works, but Hoover insisted that there would be no direct federal relief. Publicly Hoover tried to restore confidence with comments like the forecast in March 1930 that, “the worst effects on unemployment will have passed in the next 60 days.” In May he observed, “we have now passed the worst,” and later remarked, “at least no one has starved.” All of these statements came back to haunt him as the Depression deepened.
   In 1931, Hoover attempted to ease the international economic crisis by declaring a moratorium on the payment of reparations and Allied debts. At home, the earlier President’s Emergency Committee for Unemployment in 1931 became the President’s Organization for Unemployment Relief, but this proved increasingly ineffectual given the lack of resources at state level. More effective were the Federal Home Loan Banks and the passage of the Glass-Steagall Act stabilizing credit and banking passed with Hoover’s support in 1932. Equally significant was his approval of the Emergency and Relief Construction Act in 1932, which appropriated $2 billion for public works and $300 million for direct loans to states for relief purposes. However, he also called for increased taxation to balance the budget and the 1932 Revenue Act, which raised taxes by one-third, further restricting consumption.
   In 1932, Hoover established the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to lend money to banks, industries, and railroads to stimulate the economy, but this had a limited effect and was seen by many Americans as a “rich man’s dole.” As discontent increased across the country, Hoover’s name became synonymous with the Depression. Tramps lived in shanty towns often referred to as “Hoovervilles” and the newspapers they covered themselves with for warmth were “Hoover blankets.” When the Bonus Army was driven out of Washington, D.C., in 1932 Hoover’s popularity plummeted even further. Despite this, an unenthusiastic Republican Party renominated him for the presidency. The outcome of the election in 1932 confirmed the voters’ disapproval. Franklin D. Roosevelt gained 22.8 million votes to Hoover’s 15.7 million, and Hoover won only 59 Electoral College votes from six states.
   After his defeat, Hoover dropped from the public’s view for two or three years. However, from 1935 onward, he was openly critical of the New Deal. He tried to win the Republican nomination in 1940 but lost to Wendell Willkie. Hoover was a critic of U.S. Cold War policies. He opposed the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949 and involvement in the Korean War from 1950 until 1953. However, President Harry S. Truman utilized the former president in several roles. In 1946, he chaired the Famine Emergency Committee, and in 1949 he was appointed chair of the Hoover Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of Government. Many of his recommendations were implemented by Truman’s administration.

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hoover,Herbert Clark — Hoo·ver (ho͞oʹvər), Herbert Clark. 1874 1964. The 31st President of the United States (1929 1933). After the stock market crash of 1929 he was unwilling to finance employment through federal intervention and lost the presidency to Franklin D.… …   Universalium

  • Hoover, Herbert (Clark) — 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… …   Universalium

  • Hoover, Herbert (Clark) — (10 ago. 1874, West Branch, Iowa, EE.UU.–20 oct. 1964, Nueva York, N.Y.). Trigésimo primer presidente de EE.UU. (1929–33). Se tituló en la Universidad de Stanford (1895) y ejerció de ingeniero de minas; administró proyectos de ingeniería en… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Hoover, Herbert Clark — ► (1874 1964) Político estadounidense. Fue presidente por el Partido Republicano en 1928 …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Herbert Clark Hoover — Herbert C. Hoover Hoover hört Radio Herbert Clark Hoover (* 10. August 1874 in West Branch, Iowa; † 20. Oktober 1964 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Herbert Clark Hoover — Herbert Hoover Pour les articles homonymes, voir Hoover. Herbert Hoover …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Hoover, Herbert — ▪ president of United States in full  Herbert Clark Hoover  born August 10, 1874, West Branch, Iowa, U.S. died October 20, 1964, New York, New York       31st president of the United States (1929–33). Hoover s reputation as a humanitarian earned… …   Universalium

  • Herbert Clark Hoover — noun 31st President of the United States; in 1929 the stock market crashed and the economy collapsed and Hoover was defeated for reelection by Franklin Roosevelt (1874 1964) • Syn: ↑Hoover, ↑Herbert Hoover, ↑President Hoover • Instance Hypernyms …   Useful english dictionary

  • Herbert Clark Hoover — (1874 1964) 31st president of the United States (1929 1933) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Herbert C. Hoover — Hoover hört Radio Herbert Clark Hoover (* 10. August 1874 in West Branch, Iowa; † 20. Oktober 1964 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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