Hoover, Herbert

Hoover, Herbert (Clark)

(1874–1964) thirty-first U.S. president; born in West Branch, Iowa. A successful mining engineer, he came to fame heading national and international relief efforts during and after World War I and served Republican administrations as secretary of commerce (1921–28). Having demonstrated remarkable organizational skills, he easily defeated Democrat Al Smith for the presidency in 1928. However, when the stock market crashed in October 1929 and the nation slid into depression, his opposition to governmental activism made him ineffective in managing the disaster and he became increasingly unpopular. In the 1932 election Franklin Delano Roosevelt won by a landslide. After retiring to private life, Hoover reappeared in a series of public appointments, notably coordinating European economic relief programs after World War II and chairing the so-called Hoover Commissions that helped streamline the U.S. government.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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