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Herbert Hoover

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Herbert Hoover

Herbert Clark Hoover was born on August 10, 1874. He was the thirty first president of the United States. Hoover's Term for President was from 1929 to 1933. He was a world-wide known mining engineer and humanitarian administrator. * "As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted economic modernization. In the presidential election of 1928, Hoover easily won the Republican Nomination. The nation was prosperous and optimistic; leading to a landslide for Hoover over the Democrat Al Smith, a Catholic whose religion was distrusted by many. Hoover deeply believed in the Efficiency movement (a major component of the Progressive Era), arguing that there were technical solutions to all social and economic problems. That position was challenged by the Great Depression, which began in 1929, the first year of his presidency. He energetically tried to combat the depression with volunteer efforts and government action, none of which produced economic recovery during his term. The consensus among historians is that Hoover's defeat in the 1932 election was caused primarily by failure to end the downward spiral into deep depression, compounded by popular opposition to prohibition, Hoover's lack of charisma in relating to voters, and his poor skills in working with politicians." Herbert Hoover was the son of a blacksmith of a Quaker family in West Branch,

Iowa. His parents both, Jesse Hoover and Hulda Minthorn died when he was at a young age. At age 11, Hoover moved to Newberg, Oregon to live with his Uncle John Minthorn. Shortly after he moved, Hoover attended Friends Pacific Academy where he took up the job as an office boy in his uncle's real estate office in Salem. He did not attend high school, but took night classes and learned typing, bookkeeping, and math. Hoover stated, "My boy hood ambition was to be able to earn my own living, without the help of anybody, anywhere." After building his excellence in these courses, Hoover then entered Stanford University in 1891. He was the first student to attend Stanford, without the hassle of tuition. As he attended Stanford, Hoover was the student manager of both baseball and football teams. In 1895, Hoover graduated from Stanford with a degree in geology, which later made a great impact on his life.

The next twenty years, Hoover spent it as a mining engineer and consultant. He started his career with The United States Geological Survey in Sierra Nevada. The next big step was his trip to Australia in 1897 as an employee of Beswick, Moreing and Company, which was a London Mining engineering consulting firm. Hoover was very intelligent and when problems arose with the finding of zinc in the Broken Hill lead-silver ore. To help this situation Hoover made a method called the froth floatation process to recover zinc. Hoover was also a mining engineer for Prince of Whales Mine around 1900. Hoover was hired in London to a company representative that had various gold mines in Western Australia. Then in 1908 Hoover became an independent mining consultant, which he traveled all around the world until World War I started in August of 1914. "When World War I started in August 1914, he helped return home 120,000 American tourists and businessmen from Europe. Hoover led five hundred volunteers to pass out food, clothing, steamship tickets and cash. *"I did not realize it at the moment, but on August 3, 1914 my career was over forever. I was on the slippery road of public life." The difference between dictatorship and democracy, Hoover liked to say, was simple: dictators organize from the top down, democracies from the bottom up. Belgium faced a food crisis after being invaded by Germany in fall 1914. Hoover undertook an unprecedented relief effort as head of the Committee for Relief in Belgium (CRB). He worked together with Emile Francqui, who led the Belgian National Relief and Food Committee. The CRB became, in effect, an independent republic of relief, with its own flag, navy, factories, mills and railroads. Its $11-million-a-month budget was supplied by voluntary donations and government grants. He spent the next two years working fourteen hours a day from London to distribute over two and half million foodstuffs to nine million war victims. In an early form of shuttle diplomacy, he crossed the North Sea forty times seeking to persuade the enemies in Berlin to allow food to reach the war's victims. Long before the Armistice of 1918, he was an international hero. The Belgian city of Leuven named a prominent square after him. In addition, the Finns added the word hoover, meaning "to help," to their language in honor of his two years of humanitarian work.

After the United States entered the war in April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson appointed Hoover head of the American Food Administration, with headquarters in Washington, D.C. Hoover believed that, "food will win the war." He established days to encourage people to not eat certain foods in order to save them for the soldiers: meatless Mondays, wheat less Wednesdays, and "when in doubt, eat potatoes." These days helped conserve food for the war. He succeeded in cutting consumption of food needed overseas and avoided rationing at home (dubbed "Hooverizing" by government propagandists, although Hoover himself continually - and with little success - gave orders that publicity should not mention him by name, but rather should focus entirely on the Food Administration itself). After the end of the war, Hoover, a member of the Supreme Economic Council and head of the American Relief Administration, organized shipments of food for millions of starving people in Central Europe. To this end, he employed a newly formed Quaker organization, the American Friends Service Committee to carry out much of the logistical work in Europe. Against the opposition of Henry Cabot Lodge and other Senate Republicans, Hoover saw to it that the German people received aid, and he extended aid to famine-stricken Bolshevist Russia in 1921. When a critic inquired if he was not thus helping Bolshevism, Hoover retorted, "Twenty million people are starving. Whatever their politics, they shall be fed!"

At war's end, the New York Times named Hoover one of the Ten Most Important Living Americans.

During this time, Hoover realized that he was in a unique position to collect information about the Great War and its aftermath. Returning home in 1919, Hoover confronted a world of political possibilities. At one point, Democratic Party bosses looked on him as a potential candidate for the presidency. "There could not be a finer one," claimed a young and rising star from New York Named Franklin D. Roosevelt. However,



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