Hoover, Herbert C. (1874–1964)

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HOOVER, HERBERT C. (1874–1964)

Born in Iowa and trained as a mining engineer at Stanford University, Herbert Clark Hoover initially became involved in politics as chairman of the Commission for Relief in Belgium and of the United States Food Administration Board during world war i. After the war, President woodrow wilson made Hoover director of European economic relief, and in 1921 President warren g. harding appointed him secretary of commerce.

Hoover was elected President of the United States on the Republican ticket in 1928. Seven months after his inauguration, the stock market collapsed as the depression that had gripped Europe since the end of the war reached America as well. In the face of the economic crisis Hoover clung to his conservative constitutional principles. He advocated private, voluntary action to spur recovery and expanded relief programs at the state level. He resisted federal government intervention until the election year 1932, when he proposed the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.

Hoover's nominations to the Supreme Court were a mixed lot. He appointed former Justice charles evans hughes to be Chief Justice in 1930. His nomination of conservative Judge John J. Parker of North Carolina to be an Associate Justice was narrowly rejected by the Senate, but two other appointments were confirmed: moderate owen j. roberts of Pennsylvania in 1930 and liberal benjamin n. cardozo of New York in 1932.

After franklin d. roosevelt defeated him in the 1932 election, Hoover retired from public office, but remained influential within the Republican party. He was recalled to public service after world war ii to direct food relief programs in Europe, and he served as chairman of two Commissions on the Organization of the Executive Branch. The Hoover Commission Reports of 1949 and 1955 led to greater efficiency in the executive branch, mostly through regrouping of functions and agencies.

Dennis J. Mahoney


Nash, George H. 1983 The Life of Herbert Hoover. Ne w York: Norton.