Who is Herbert Hoover?

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  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2019
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Herbert Hoover was the thirty-first President of the United States, serving at the beginning of the Great Depression. A world renowned mining engineer and advocate of progress, Herbert Hoover was born of Quaker roots and led many humanitarian efforts during and after World War I. Hoover, a Republican, was elected President in 1928 and served only one term before being defeated for reelection in 1932 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Born in Iowa in 1874 as Herbert Clark Hoover, son of Jesse and Hulva Hoover. Hoover grew up in Oregon and lost both his parents at an early age. By the age of ten, Herbert Hoover was orphaned and went to live with his uncle. Hoover failed to graduate from high school, but later pursued an education at Stanford University where he earned a degree in geology. His studies at Stanford led to a career as a mining engineer and he eventually became a partner in a mining firm, traveling the world.

Herbert Hoover’s political career began in the early 1900s. He served as Secretary of Commerce in 1921 and ran for President, beating Calvin Coolidge who was seeking reelection on the Republican ticket. Hoover won the election of 1928 against Democratic Alfred Smith.


His term began in 1929 when one of his first acts in office was to instruct federal agencies to go after gangsters, like Al Capone, for tax evasion. Herbert Hoover also signed the act that made "The Star Spangled Banner" the United States national anthem. Though Hoover sought reelection in 1932, he was defeated by American voters who were concerned about economic recovery during the Great Depression, which had begun the year Hoover took office.

Herbert Hoover remained active in American politics after his failed reelection. He worked closely with both Presidents Truman and Eisenhower’s administrations. His last official act in service to the United States was as representative to the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels. Herbert Hoover died in 1964 at the age of ninety and is buried in West Branch, Iowa where the Hoover Presidential Library and Museum is located.


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