History Podcasts

Herbert Hoover - History

Herbert Hoover - History

Herbert Hoover

Elected with the mandate to continue the general economic prosperity, Hoover immidiately faced the Great Stock Market Crash, followed by the beginning of the Depression. His policies to cope with these events proved ineffectual.ls. Elected 1928


The Early Years

Herbert Hoover was born in West Branch, Iowa. Hoover almost died at the age of two from croup. When young Hoover was six, his father died. His mother died when he was nine and from that time on, he lived with various relatives. He ended up living with his uncle, a doctor in Oregon.

Hoover received a basic education in public schools but never graduated high school. He developed an interest in engineering, and applied in 1891 to Stanford. At 17, he was the youngest member of the freshman class. Upon graduating from Stanford, Hoover decided to be a mining engineer.

From 1896 to 1914, Hoover worked as a mining engineer. He spent various periods of time working in Australia and China. He made a great deal of money in one of the Australian mines and even started his own mining consulting firm. By 1914 he was thought to have holdings of $4 million.

During World War I, Hoover gained an international reputation heading relief work in Europe. In 1919, he founded the Hoover Institute on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford.

From 1921 to 1928, Hoover served as the Secretary of Commerce. In an Administration that was noted for its inaction, Hoover was a surprisingly activist Secretary of Treasury. He expanded the Bureau of Standards, and increased the data collected by the Census Bureau. He authorized the Bureau of Fisheries to improve the stock of the nation's fisheries. Hoover undertook the regulation of the nations airwaves, and established the Aeronautics Board to encourage the development of commercial aviation. He was a major supporter of the construction of what was later known as the Hoover Dam, and supported the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Accomplishments in Office

Hoover, who had been a great American success story until his Presidency, was elected on his promise of continued prosperity for America. Unfortunately, almost immediately upon his arrival in office, Hoover was faced with the stock market crash that begat the Great Depression. The crash soon resulted in large-scale bank failures which, in turn, resulted in business collapse on a scale unprecedented in history. Before long, there were 13 million unemployed Americans. Hoover was torn between two conflicting instincts, and two opposing sets of advice. On the one hand, his individualist tendencies, and his belief in the business system, tended to make him opposed to large-scale government relief. On the other hand, his genuine compassion for those in trouble made him want to do something to relieve the mass poverty. Finally, and to little avail, he picked a middle road that included limited loans and other forms of assistance. The country slid deeper into a depression.

The First Family

Father: Jesse Clarke Hoover
Mother: Huldah Minthorn
Wife: Lou Henry
Sons: Herbert Jr., Alan

Major Events

Stock Market Crash

The Cabinet

Secretary of State: Henry Stimson
Secretaries of Treasury: Andrew Mellon, Ogdon Mills
Secretaries of War: James Good, Patrick Hurley
Attorney General: William Mitchell
Secretary of Navy: Charles Francis Adams
Postmaster General: Walter Brown
Secretary of Interior: Ray Wilbur
Secretary of Agriculture: Arthur Hyde
Secretaries of Commerce: Robert Lamont, Roy Chapin
Secretaries of Labor: James Davis William Doak

Military

None

Did You Know?

First President to be born in Iowa.

Last whose term ended on March 3rd.

First President to have a phone on his desk.

Lived 31 years after jis presidency--the longest of any President.


Herbert Hoover: Impact and Legacy

For many years, both scholars and the American public held Hoover in extremely low esteem, blaming him for the Great Depression and criticizing his efforts to solve the crisis. Beginning in the 1970s, however, Hoover's reputation began to recover. Historians pointed out that Hoover's embrace of voluntarism, his faith in social science expertise, and his encouragement of cooperation between and among different segments of the American economic order was rooted not in heartless and reactionary conservatism but in the progressive social thought of his time. Hoover hewed to these approaches during his presidency, especially with commissions like the White House Conference on Health and the Protection of Children and the President's Committee on Recent Social Trends.

Even as the nation spiraled into the Great Depression, Hoover's faith in voluntarism and cooperation remained steadfast, leading to innovative and unprecedented government-inspired efforts such as the President's Emergency Committee on Employment, the President's Organization for Unemployment Relief, and the National Credit Corporation. Hoover also consistently lobbied state and local governments—and the U.S. Congress—to increase public works spending. At the same time, historians now acknowledge that Hoover sometimes abandoned voluntarism in favor of government interventions into the nation's economic affairs in the hope of ending the Depression with efforts like the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and the Emergency Relief Construction Act. Finally, many historians, with the benefit of hindsight, argue that Hoover in reality could have done little to solve the Depression. They correctly assert that American entry into World War II—and not Roosevelt's New Deal—lifted the United States out of its economic doldrums.

Nonetheless, many scholars still criticize Hoover's refusal to authorize large-scale relief programs that might have alleviated suffering and hunger, his unwillingness to use significant federal spending to stimulate the economy, and his general failure to recognize the all-encompassing nature of the Great Depression. Quite simply, Hoover seemed never to have grasped the grave threat that the economic crisis represented to the nation—and that solutions to the Depression might have required abandoning some of his deeply held beliefs.

Hoover compounded these missteps, each of which had political implications, with inept political maneuvering. Hoover proved unable to handle Congress, the press, and the public—or difficult situations like the Bonus Army—in ways that built confidence in his leadership. It should also be noted that Hoover's questionable political judgment and leadership was not brought on by the "Great Crash." In the early months of his presidency, Hoover displayed little political acumen during debates about agricultural and tariff policies. The Great Depression, though, brought these political failures, as well as Hoover's ideological and policy limitations, into sharp relief, exaggerating their effects and paving the way for Franklin Roosevelt's victory in the 1932 presidential election. What emerges, then, for Hoover is a mixed and perhaps still damning verdict, but one that takes a more accurate measure of the President, his policies, and his politics.


Herbert Hoover - History

Herbert Hoover, "Rugged Individualism" Campaign Speech
Digital History ID 1334

Author: Herbert Hoover
Date:1928

Annotation: In 1928, the Republican party nominated Herbert Hoover, a world famous mining engineer and Secretary of Commerce under Harding and Coolidge, for the presidency. In this speech, which closed his successful presidential campaign, Hoover, a self-made millionaire, expressed his view that the American system was based on "rugged individualism" and "self-reliance." Government, which had assumed unprecedented economic powers during World War I, should, in his view, shrink back to its prewar size and avoid intervening with business.

During the early days of the Great Depression, Hoover launched the largest public works projects up until his time. But he continued to believe that problems of poverty and unemployment were best left to "voluntary organization and community service." He feared that federal relief programs would undermine individual character by making recipients dependent on the government. He did not recognize that the sheer size of the nation's economic problems had made the concept of "rugged individualism" meaningless.


Document: I intend. to discuss some of those more fundamental principles upon which I believe the government of the United States should be conducted.

During one hundred and fifty years we have builded up a form of self government and a social system which is peculiarly our own. It differs essentially from all others in the world. It is the American system. It is founded upon the conception that only through ordered liberty, freedom and equal opportunity to the individual will his initiative and enterprise spur on the march of progress. And in our insistence upon equality of opportunity has our system advanced beyond all the world.

During [World War I] we necessarily turned to the government to solve every difficult economic problem. The government having absorbed every energy of our people for war, there was no other solution. For the preservation of the state the Federal Government became a centralized despotism which undertook unprecedented responsibilities, assumed autocratic powers, and took over the business of citizens. To a large degree, we regimented our whole people temporally into a socialistic state. However justified in war time, if continued in peace-time it would destroy not only our American system but with it our progress and freedom as well.

When the war closed, the most vital of issues both in our own country and around the world was whether government should continue their wartime ownership and operation of many [instruments] of production and distribution. We were challenged with a. choice between the American system of rugged individualism and a European philosophy of diametrically opposed doctrines ­ doctrines of paternalism and state socialism. The acceptance of these ideas would have meant the destruction of self-government through centralization. [and] the undermining of the individual initiative and enterprise through which our people have grown to unparalleled greatness.

The Republican Party [in the years after the war] resolutely turned its face away from these ideas and war practices. When the Republican Party came into full power it went at once resolutely back to our fundamental conception of the state and the rights and responsibility of the individual. Thereby it restored confidence and hope in the American people, it freed and stimulated enterprise, it restored the government to a position as an umpire instead of a player in the economic game. For these reasons the American people have gone forward in progress.

There is [in this election]. submitted to the American people a question of fundamental principle. That is: shall we depart from the principles of our American political and economic system, upon which we have advanced beyond all the rest of the world.

I would like to state to you the effect that. [an interference] of government in business would have upon our system of self-government and our economic system. That effect would reach to the daily life of every man and woman. It would impair the very basis of liberty and freedom.

Let us first see the effect on self-government. When the Federal Government undertakes to go into commercial business it must at once set up the organization and administration of that business, and it immediately finds itself in a labyrinth. Commercial business requires a concentration of responsibility. Our government to succeed in business would need to become in effect a despotism. There at once begins the destruction of self-government.

It is a false liberalism that interprets itself into the government operation of commercial business. Every step of bureaucratizing of the business of our country poisons the very roots of liberalism ­ that is political equality, free speech, free assembly, free press and equality of opportunity. It is not the road to more liberty, but to less liberty. Liberalism should not be striving to spread bureaucracy but striving to set bounds to it.

Liberalism is a force truly of the spirit, a force proceeding from the deep realization that economic freedom cannot be sacrificed if political freedom is to be preserved. [An expansion of the governmentís role in the business world] would cramp and cripple the mental and spiritual energies of our people. It would extinguish equality and opportunity. It would dry up the spirit of liberty and progress. For a hundred and fifty years liberalism has found its true spirit in the American system, not in the European systems.

I do not wish to be misunderstood. I am defining general policy. I have already stated that where the government is engaged in public works for purposes of flood control, of navigation, of irrigation, of scientific research or national defense. it will at times necessarily produce power or commodities as a by-product.

Nor do I wish to be misinterpreted as believing that the United States is a free-for-all and devil-take-the-hindmost. The very essence of equality of opportunity and of American individualism is that there shall be no domination by any group or [monopoly] in this republic. It is no system of laissez faire.

I have witnessed not only at home but abroad the many failures of government in business. I have seen its tyrannies, its injustices, its destructions of self-government, its undermining of the very instincts which carry our people forward to progress. I have witnessed the lack of advance, the lowered standards of living, the depressed spirits of people working under such a system.

And what has been the result of the American system? Our country has become the land of opportunity to those born without inheritance, not merely because of the wealth of its resources and industry but because of this freedom of initiative and enterprise. Russia has natural resources equal to ours. But she has not had the blessings of one hundred and fifty years of our form of government and our social system.

By adherence to the principles of decentralized self-government, ordered liberty, equal opportunity, and freedom to the individual, our American experiment in human welfare has yielded a degree of well-being unparalleled in the world. It has come nearer to the abolition of poverty, to the abolition of fear of want, than humanity has ever reached before. Progress of the past seven years is proof of it.

The greatness of America has grown out of a political and social system and a method of [a lack of governmental] control of economic forces distinctly its own ­ our American system ­ which has carried this great experiment in human welfare farther than ever before in history. And I again repeat that the departure from our American system. will jeopardize the very liberty and freedom of our people, and will destroy equality of opportunity not only to ourselves, but to our children.


Post-Presidency and Death

In the ensuing years, Hoover continually attacked government programs such as FDR’s New Deal in books he wrote, such as The Challenge to Liberty (1934) and the eight-volume Addresses Upon the American Road (1936�). He also delivered speeches on the matter, including 𠇊gainst the Proposed New Deal” (1932) and “The New Deal and European Collectivism” (1936). 

Hoover opposed American entry into World War II (until Pearl Harbor was attacked) and condemned American involvement in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He was working on another book when he died in New York City in 1964, at age 90.

The 31st president has been the subject of several biographies, including a multi-volume work by historian George H. Nash. In 2017, journalist Kenneth Whyte introduced a new profile to the collection, Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times, which explored the former president&aposs lengthy record of public service and the events that shaped his personality and decision-making.


Herbert Hoover's Legacy

Herbert Hoover is the only U.S. president, so far, born in Iowa. The son of Quaker parents in West Branch, Iowa, Hoover moved to Oregon as a youth to be raised in his uncle's family following the death of both of his parents. He attended Stanford University, studied geology and became a successful and wealthy mining engineer in operations all over the globe.

Commission for Relief in Belgium

Hoover was in London when World War I broke out. He headed a committee that distributed aid and helped Americans stranded in Great Britain return to the United States. His more significant assignment was heading the distribution of food to starving Belgians. Belgium had been invaded and occupied by the German army at the start of the war, and supplies of food were cut off. Under an arrangement between the warring powers, Germany and Britain allowed food to be imported to the Belgian people if it was distributed by a neutral power, the United States. Hoover headed up that effort through the Commission for Relief in Belgium. Distribution was later extended to needy populations in northern France suffering from the extended trench warfare. Hoover worked tirelessly and effectively to secure the food and then negotiate its delivery with government and military officials in the early years of a long war.

When the United States entered the fighting in 1917, Hoover returned to the United States to head the U.S Food Administration. In a highly-publicized campaign, he persuaded American households to reduce their consumption of meat and grains to provide more food for the armed forces and U.S. allies. His reputation as a strong and effective administrator grew. At the end of the war, the U.S. Food Administration transitioned into the American Relief Administration to feed an estimated 400 millions of Europeans facing the possibility of starvation. Once again, his work staved off disaster and Herbert Hoover became a revered figure throughout Europe. In 1921, President Warren G. Harding appointed him to be secretary of commerce, a position he approached with his characteristic energy and enthusiasm. More than any of his predecessors in the position, Hoover promoted cooperation among American businesses to increase efficiency and eliminate waste. He also promoted the development of the radio and the automobile industry.

Herbert Hoover's Presidency

In 1928, Hoover was elected president of the United States in a landslide against New York Governor Al Smith. Throughout the 1920s, the manufacturing and business sectors of the economy prospered, although the agriculture sector did not. The Republican Party took credit for the good times and predicted continued prosperity. But that was not to be. After only six months of Hoover's term, the New York stock market crashed in 1929, the first step toward the nation's worst economic crisis. Banks failed and factories closed, throwing millions out of work. Farm prices, already low, dropped even lower, below the cost to produce them. Hoover's approach favored cooperation and voluntary efforts more than government regulation, but the need exceeded what voluntary agencies could provide. Families struggled, and many blamed Hoover. Camps of the homeless sprung up around the country and they were called Hoovervilles. When they covered themselves in newspapers to keep warm at night, the newspapers were called Hoover blankets. In farm states like Iowa, where farmers were losing their farms when they could not pay their taxes or loans, there were even some armed uprisings against authorities. Hoover recommended several programs trying to promote recovery, but they seemed inadequate to the extent of the challenge, and the public turned against one who had formerly been held in high esteem.

In 1932, Hoover lost his re-election bid to Franklin D. Roosevelt, who ushered in massive federal programs to combat the Great Depression. Hoover and the Republicans had cut taxes and government spending to try to keep the budget in balance, but Roosevelt greatly expanded government programs to put more money into the economy. Hoover strongly condemned programs that put the government in debt and opposed many of Roosevelt's New Deal efforts. He went into retirement after nearly two decades of active service in humanitarian and executive service and authored several books on government and political affairs. After World War II, Hoover again accepted an invitation to contribute his considerable executive expertise. President Harry Truman asked Hoover to chair a commission to look at possible areas of reorganization of the massive federal government after its rapid expansion during the war. President Dwight D. Eisenhower also asked Hoover for his advice in managing the growing bureaucracy.

At first, historians tended to judge Hoover harshly for what they considered an inadequate federal response to the challenges of the Great Depression. However, some of the programs Hoover proposed were reconsidered as providing the foundation for an expanded government role. Hoover's achievement as a humanitarian re-emerged. At the Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, there are many examples of gifts that European children sent to him in gratitude for the role he played in providing food when they faced starvation. Hoover, as president, will continue to be controversial, but Hoover's reputation as a humanitarian will always be strong.


Herbert Hoover, The Historian

Editor&rsquos Note: Herbert T. Hoover, longtime South Dakota historian and professor of history at the University of South Dakota, died on March 21 at age 89. This story, written by fellow South Dakota historian Jon Lauck, appeared in our November/December 2007 issue.

In the spring of 1973, newspapers across the country carried reports from the Pine Ridge Reservation in western South Dakota, from the village whose name recalled a tragic episode in our nation&rsquos history: Wounded Knee. More than 200 activists, led by members of the American Indian Movement, occupied the town and held law enforcement officials at bay. South Dakotans had watched from the sidelines as riots convulsed America&rsquos big cities during the 1960s. Wounded Knee brought those troubles home.

Herbert T. Hoover taught for four decades at the University of South Dakota and became one of the state's premier historians. He provided an introduction and five chapters to A New South Dakota History, published in 2005.

Few people outside the law enforcement perimeter could relate to those inside as well as Herbert T. Hoover, a professor of history at the University of South Dakota. He learned of the planned occupation beforehand, while participating in a sweat lodge ceremony at St. Francis, and lent both monetary and ceremonial support to the effort. Once the occupation commenced, he was invited into the village, where he participated with tribal leaders in traditional ceremonies.

Later, when AIM leader Russell Means was on trial in Sioux Falls, Means announced he might go down to Vermillion and take over the University of South Dakota. His threat was a joke, apparently, but in the wake of Wounded Knee, and given South Dakota&rsquos racially tense atmosphere at the time, people took him at his word. Police and highway patrol officers took up positions around the town.

Because of Hoover&rsquos experience and credibility with AIM, USD President Richard Bowen called upon him to help manage the situation. When Hoover went to find his history department colleague, Joe Cash, at the USD Oral History Center, he discovered just how seriously the other professor took Means&rsquo words: Cash had a pearl-handled revolver on the desk in front of him.

&ldquoThey will never get the oral history collection,&rdquo Cash said grimly.

Hoover&rsquos response was, &ldquoGet real, man.&rdquo

No one ever did try to occupy the USD campus, but Herbert Hoover&rsquos involvement underscores the role he&rsquos played in some of the most significant, highly-charged episodes in Indian affairs of recent memory. He has been rightly recognized for his many years of work chronicling Indian history, but he&rsquos lived it as well.

In 2006, after more than four decades teaching South Dakota history, Herbert T. Hoover retired from the USD history department. All those who care about the history of South Dakota should know Hoover&rsquos story. He is part of an elite group of historians who have delved deeply into our state&rsquos past their work, hopefully, will help us better understand South Dakota&rsquos present and future.

What is most immediately striking about Herbert Hoover is his name, particularly for those who lived through the Dirty Thirties, the most traumatic decade in South Dakota&rsquos history. When Hoover&rsquos parents named him in 1930, Herbert Hoover was still a Midwestern hero, a small-town Iowa boy who became president. They weren&rsquot alone: the Hoover Library in West Branch, Iowa, has 13 folders of letters from Americans who wrote to President Hoover and proudly announced they had named their sons after him.

Hoover&rsquos middle name is Theodore, after Theodore Roosevelt. With such namesakes his passion for American history was virtually guaranteed. After the Great Crash of the American economy in the 1930s, and the staining of President Hoover&rsquos reputation, our Herbert Hoover wisely chose to go by the name &ldquoTeddy&rdquo until the animus against President Hoover passed.

Hoover was raised on a farm in Wabasha County, Minnesota, which is also the home of Eugene McCarthy. Hoover&rsquos mother, a school teacher, instilled a love of books in her young son. He attended Plainview High School, then went on to the University of Minnesota. After his studies were interrupted by service in the Marine Corps during the Korean War, Hoover returned to UM as a more serious student and completed the requirements for a degree in chemistry. Hoover preferred history, however, and quickly abandoned the &ldquodull&rdquo life of being a pharmacist. He enrolled at New Mexico State University and in 1961, earned a master&rsquos in history.

In graduate school, Hoover turned to the history of the American West. That wasn&rsquot a cutting-edge field at mid-century, but by the 1970s Western history was booming. After finishing his master&rsquos thesis, he moved on to the Ph.D. program at the University of Oklahoma, which was known for its study of American Indian history. His Ph.D. advisor was Eugene Hollon, who was himself a student of Walter Prescott Webb. (Students of the history of this part of the United States will recognize Webb as the author of The Great Plains, a seminal tract published in 1931 that is still in print.)

While at Oklahoma, Hoover came to know another famous South Dakota historian, Gilbert Fite, who was beginning his career in the University of Oklahoma&rsquos history department. (Fite&rsquos first book, Prairie Statesman, a biography of South Dakota governor Peter Norbeck, was recently reissued by South Dakota State Historical Society Press.) Fite helped set Hoover on his path to a lifetime of teaching South Dakota history. In 1967, long-time USD historian Herbert Schell was reaching mandatory retirement age. Fite, who had studied under Schell as an undergraduate at USD, recommended Hoover to the university.

As the years went by, Hoover&rsquos courses at USD increasingly focused on American Indian history, one of the most explosive areas of historical research in recent decades. Hoover&rsquos great interest in the history of the Sioux was complemented by the large body of work generated by other historians. Hoover once noted that, &ldquono other province in the United States ever attracted greater attention,&rdquo than that claimed by the Sioux. In the recently released A New History of South Dakota, to which he contributed the introduction and five chapters, Hoover wrote that the Sioux have garnered more international attention than any other tribe, in part due to their famous resistance to white encroachment. &ldquoYou couldn&rsquot push the Sioux around,&rdquo Hoover says. &ldquoThey never lost a battle against the U.S. Army.&rdquo

Hoover&rsquos interest in the Sioux stems in part from his own Indian heritage. His father was part Ioway, the tribe which gave the state its name. &ldquoI was always the dark guy in the school picture,&rdquo says Hoover. &ldquoEvery time I got in trouble they would say it was that Indian blood.&rdquo He endured much less than other Indians because of his heritage, says Hoover, and in later years it was &ldquoa marvelous asset&rdquo in his professional development.

Hoover helped spur scholarly interest in Indian history with his published writings and research work in archives and library stacks. These professional interests also positioned him to appreciate what he terms the &ldquoIndian renaissance&rdquo of roughly 1965-85, when traditional spiritual ceremonies and cultural practices that had been driven underground were revived on the reservations.

Hoover&rsquos interests and academic position made for a unique opportunity. Several of the movement&rsquos leaders asked if he would host traditional ceremonies on his farm near Vermillion, which would give Indians in the east and whites alike a chance to learn about and participate in them. Hoover built a sweat lodge and environment for the sacramental use of peyote on his farm. &ldquoI had to be careful of the peyote church, because the FBI was creeping around,&rdquo he recalls.

As a lodge keeper, Hoover came to know many medicine men, &ldquowho wanted to educate the people of South Dakota about the fact that they weren&rsquot a bunch of heathens, or pagans.&rdquo Indian leaders, including members of the American Indian Movement, also took part in the ceremonies. Hoover&rsquos involvement with AIM and his research on American Indians unfolded against the backdrop of growing Indian activism in both the nation and South Dakota, creating a unique fusion of academic standing, experience with traditional Native culture, and first-hand knowledge of a burgeoning social movement. &ldquoThat farm made things out of my career that I could not have made any other way,&rdquo Hoover says.

Hoover&rsquos experience and years of study have made it possible for him to begin work on his next book, a history of the American Indian renaissance. Many of Hoover&rsquos photographs from the days on his farm and the period of the Indian renaissance are currently being placed at the Center for Western Studies, on the Augustana University campus in Sioux Falls.

Hoover also became involved in a famous murder trial during his early years at USD. In the late 1960s Baxter Berry, a West River rancher and the son of former governor Tom Berry, shot and killed an Indian who was trespassing on his ranch. Berry was acquitted of murder charges but ended up suing NBC News for defamation for the story they ran about the shooting. When Hoover testified for NBC, he was accosted on the steps of the courthouse in Pierre by one of his university students who sympathized with Berry.

While at USD, Hoover also began writing for encyclopedias, and, with the aid of a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, he began collecting oral histories of Indians on all of South Dakota&rsquos reservations. Hoover interviewed over 750 people and deposited many of the interviews in an archive at USD. With the help of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, Hoover also completed a study of Indian-white relations in Sioux Country. For South Dakota&rsquos centennial, Hoover organized a book of essays entitled South Dakota Leaders, which chronicled the lives of prominent South Dakotans.

In one of his greatest accomplishments, Hoover collected two bibliographies of publications about South Dakota, one of which was completely dedicated to the history of the Sioux. After countless days &ldquoin dusty archives and libraries across the United States and Canada,&rdquo Hoover compiled and annotated a list of 4,614 sources relating to South Dakota history.

That experience caused Hoover to realize there is no &ldquostate in the history of the West that has received as much attention from legitimate scholars.&rdquo With good reason, he says. South Dakota has been favored with what he deems exaggerated diversity, a mix of races and nationalities that few other states can match. Compared to South Dakota, the history of neighboring states &ldquois really dull.&rdquo

Hoover thinks that the production of books about South Dakota could have been larger, however. USD&rsquos master&rsquos degree program in history should be complemented by an equivalent program at South Dakota State University, he says. He also believes the state is limited by the lack of a Ph.D. program in history, one which could promote historical research on South Dakota. Even so, Hoover opposes the creation of such a program without a substantial increase in the size of the history departments at the state universities, additional funding or the merger of the state&rsquos largest universities.

Hoover is not afraid to break with conventional wisdom and ruffle feathers. Despite his great respect for Indian culture, he believes that Indians are as much to blame as whites for any remaining racial enmity between the two groups. On another matter, he thinks tribal governments desperately need a civil service system because, &ldquoevery time there is a turnover in the presidency or tribal council, everybody gets fired,&rdquo causing political instability on Indian reservations.

Hoover also believes that the disappearance of &ldquolegitimate medicine men&rdquo has created a vacuum of spiritual leadership in Indian Country. The political and spiritual problems on the reservations today represent a step backward from the revival years of the 1970s. &ldquoThe renaissance gave Indians a chance,&rdquo says Hoover, &ldquobut they are losing it.&rdquo In his next book, he hopes to explain what went wrong.

After many years in the trenches of South Dakota history, Hoover joins the pantheon of the state&rsquos great historians, which includes Doane and Will Robinson, George Kingsbury, Herbert Schell, Howard Lamar, Gilbert Fite, Lynwood Oyos, Gary Olson and John Miller. Never afraid to speak his mind, Hoover plans to continue his writing regimen and his contributions to South Dakota&rsquos historical corpus. His coming history of the Indian renaissance will not pull any punches, he promises. He will not spare Indian leaders the failures he&rsquos seen in Indian country during recent years.

Yet Hoover is unafraid. &ldquoI mean, who&rsquos going to knock off a 77-year-old man who wears glasses?&rdquo


Contents

Lou Henry was born in Waterloo, Iowa, to Florence Ida (née Weed) and Charles Delano Henry, who was a banker by trade. [1] [2] Lou grew up something of a tomboy, first in Waterloo, and later in the California towns of Whittier and Monterey. [1] Charles Henry took his daughter on camping trips in the hills, which was her greatest pleasure in her early teens. [1] Lou became a fine horsewoman. She hunted and preserved specimens with the skill of a taxidermist. And she developed an enthusiasm for rocks, minerals, and mining. [1]

Lou began her postsecondary schooling at the Los Angeles Normal School (now the University of California, Los Angeles). She then transferred to San Jose Normal School (now San Jose State University), from which she obtained a teaching credential in 1893. She next went on to Stanford University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in geology. It was there that she met her future husband, Herbert Hoover, who was then a senior. She was the school’s only female geology major at the time, and received her B.A. in geology in 1898. [3]

Before Herbert Hoover graduated from Stanford in June 1895, he and Lou made a decision to delay wedding plans while she continued her education and he pursued an engineering career in Australia. In 1898, the year Lou graduated from Stanford, Hoover cabled her a marriage proposal, which she promptly accepted by return wire.

Herbert and Lou were both 24 years old when they married on February 10, 1899, at her parents’ home in Monterey, California. Although she had been raised Episcopalian, Lou decided to become a Quaker. [4] But because there was no Quaker Meeting in Monterey, they were married in a civil ceremony performed by Father Ramon Mestres, a Roman Catholic priest of the Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo.

China Edit

The day after their marriage, the Hoovers sailed from San Francisco for Shanghai, China, where they spent four days in the Astor House Hotel. [5] The newlyweds soon settled into their first home, a large house in Tianjin. They lived in China from April 1899 until August 1900. [6] Hoover's job required extensive travel throughout remote and dangerous areas, which they did together. [7] Mrs. Hoover was present with her husband during the Boxer Rebellion.

Mrs. Hoover studied Mandarin Chinese while living in China. Her Chinese name was 'Hoo Loo' (古鹿 Pinyin: Gǔ Lù【胡潞,Hú Lù】) derived from the sound of her name in English. In the White House, at times, she would speak to her husband in it to foil eavesdroppers. [3] To date, she is the only First Lady to speak an Asian language.

Mrs. Hoover was also well versed in Latin she collaborated with her husband in translating Agricola's De Re Metallica, a 16th-century encyclopedia of mining and metallurgy. The Hoover translation was published in 1912, and remains in print today as the standard English translation. During World War I, she assisted her husband in providing relief for Belgian refugees. For her work she was decorated in 1919 by King Albert I of Belgium. She was also involved with the American Women's War Relief Fund, which provided ambulances, funded two hospitals and provided economic opportunities for women during WWI. [8] [9]

Radio broadcasts Edit

Mrs. Hoover distinguished herself by becoming the first First Lady to broadcast on a regular and nationwide basis. Although she did not have her own radio program, she participated as a guest speaker on a number of occasions between 1929 and 1933, often advocating for volunteerism, or discussing the work of the Girl Scouts. Radio critics praised her for having an excellent radio voice and for speaking with confidence. [10]

Presidential traditions Edit

As First Lady, she discontinued the New Year's Day reception, the annual open house observance begun by Abigail Adams in 1801.

She played a critical role in designing and overseeing the construction of a rustic presidential retreat at Rapidan Camp in Madison County, Virginia. It was a precursor of the current presidential retreat, Camp David.

  • Herbert Charles Hoover (1903–1969) – engineer, diplomat. Born in London, by age two, he had been around the world twice with his globetrotting parents. He graduated from Stanford University in 1925 and began working as an aircraft engineer. He taught briefly, from 1928 to 1929, at Harvard Business School. Eventually, he turned to geophysical engineering, founding the United Geophysical Company in 1935 to develop new electronic instruments to discover oil. He served as mediator during the 1953–1954 oil dispute between Britain and Iran. He was appointed Under Secretary of State for Middle Eastern affairs 1954–1957 by President Eisenhower. He died in Pasadena, California.
  • Allan Henry Hoover (1907–1993) – mining engineer and financier. Born in London, he graduated in economics from Stanford University in 1929 and earned a master's degree from the Harvard Business School in 1931. He went into banking and operated a ranch in California for a time, but eventually he, too, became a mining engineer. A private man, he shunned publicity throughout his career. He died in Portola Valley, California.

Lou Henry Hoover died of a heart attack in New York City on January 7, 1944. She was found dead in her bedroom by her husband, who came to kiss her good night. She was originally buried in Palo Alto, California. Her husband was devastated by her death and never considered remarrying. [11] Following Herbert Hoover's death in 1964, she was reinterred next to the former president at West Branch, Iowa.

Girl Scouts Edit

She served as the national president of the Girl Scouts of the USA from 1922 to 1925 while Hoover served in the cabinet of Presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge. She served as president again after leaving the White House, from 1935 to 1937. [12]

Camp Lou Henry Hoover in Middleville, New Jersey, is named for her and run by the Heart of New Jersey Council of the Girl Scouts. [13] She funded the construction of the first Girl Scout house in Palo Alto, California. The oldest Girl Scout house in continuous use, it is now called Lou Henry Hoover Girl Scout House. [14]

Stanford University Edit

Lou Henry was an avidly athletic young woman, and by her senior year at the university, she was a member of the Basket Ball Committee, Vice President of the Women's Athletic Association and an active member of the Archery Club.

The Lou Henry Hoover House, which she designed and where the Hoovers lived, on a hill in the Stanford University campus is now the official residence of the President of Stanford University. It is designated a National Historic Landmark.


Herbert Hoover - History

When President Herbert Hoover took office, the unemployment rate was 4.4 percent. When he left office, it was 23.6 percent.

Hoover’s efforts in providing relief during and after World War I saved millions of Europeans, including Germans and Russians, from starvation and made him an international hero. Yet little more than a decade later, many of his own countrymen regarded him as a heartless brute who would provide federal aid for banks but not for hungry Americans.

Hoover was a proponent of "rugged individualism." But he also said, "The trouble with capitalism is capitalists they're too damn greedy."

Born into a hardworking Quaker family in Iowa, Hoover was orphaned before he was ten years old and was sent west to live with relatives. He was admitted to the first class at Stanford University, mainly because the new institution needed students. He rose quickly from mine worker to engineer and entrepreneur. He was worth $4 million by the age of 40, and then devoted himself to public service. He was elected president at the age of 54.

In the speech that closed his successful 1928 presidential campaign, Hoover, a self-made millionaire, expressed his view that the American system was based on "rugged individualism" and "self-reliance." Government, which had assumed unprecedented economic powers during World War I, should, in his view, shrink back to its prewar size and avoid intervening with business.

During the early days of the Great Depression, Hoover launched the largest public works projects. Yet, he continued to believe that problems of poverty and unemployment were best left to "voluntary organization and community service." He feared that federal relief programs would undermine individual character by making recipients dependent on the government. He did not recognize that the sheer size of the nation's economic problems had made the concept of "rugged individualism" meaningless.

The president appealed to industry to keep wages high in order to maintain consumer purchasing power. Nevertheless, while businesses did maintain wages for skilled workers, it cut hours and wages for unskilled workers and installed restrictive hiring practices that made it more difficult for under qualified younger and older workers to get a job. By April 1, 1933, U.S. Steel did not have a single full-time employee.

Many Republicans believed that a protective tariff would rescue the economy by keeping out foreign goods. The Smoot-Hawley tariff, signed by Hoover in 1930, raised rates but provoked retaliation from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, and other traditional trading partners. The United States found it much more difficult to export its products overseas.

Hoover persuaded local and state governments to sharply increase public works spending. However, the practical effect was to exhaust state and local financial reserves, which led government, by 1933, to slash unemployment relief programs and to impose sales taxes to cover their deficits.

Hoover quickly developed a reputation as uncaring. He cut unemployment figures that reached his desk, eliminating those he thought were only temporarily jobless and not seriously looking for work. In June 1930, a delegation came to see him to request a federal public works program. Hoover responded to them by saying, "Gentlemen, you have come sixty days too late. The Depression is over." He insisted that "nobody is actually starving" and that "the hoboes. are better fed than they have ever been." He claimed that the vendors selling apples on street corners had "left their jobs for the more profitable one of selling apples."

By 1932, comedians told the story of Hoover asking the treasury secretary for a nickel so he could call a friend. Mellon replies, "Here, take a dime and call all your friends."

Hoover was a stubborn man who found it difficult to respond to the problems posed by the Depression. "There are some principles that cannot be compromised," Hoover remarked in 1936. "Either we shall have a society based upon ordered liberty and the initiative of the individual, or we shall have a planned society that means dictation no matter what you call it. There is no half-way ground." He was convinced that the economy would fix itself.

Only toward the end of his term in office did he recognize that the Depression called for unprecedented governmental action. In 1932, he created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) to help save the banking and railroad systems. Loans offered under the program funded public works projects and the first federally-supported housing projects. Originally intended to combat the Depression, the RFC lasted 21 years and was authorized to finance public works projects, provide loans to farmers and victims of natural disasters, and assist school districts. When it was abolished in 1953, it had dispersed $40.6 billion. Its functions were taken over by the Small Business Administration, the Commodity Credit Corporation, and other housing, community development, and agricultural assistance programs.

Herbert Hoover was not an insensitive man. He was the first president since Theodore Roosevelt to invite African American dinner guests to the White House. He said that the use of atomic bombs against Japan "revolts my soul." He played a key role in launching the United Nation's Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and CARE. Despite his staunch anti-communism stand, he opposed U.S. involvement in Korea and Vietnam.

Nevertheless, his reputation was forever clouded by the Depression. A dam that was to carry Hoover's name was rechristened Boulder Dam. Washington's airfield, which was to be named for Hoover, was renamed National Airport.


Herbert Hoover on the Great Depression and New Deal, 1931–1933

The stock market crashed on Thursday, October 24, 1929, less than eight months into Herbert Hoover&rsquos presidency. Most experts, including Hoover, thought the crash was part of a passing recession. By July 1931, when the President wrote this letter to a friend, Governor Louis Emmerson of Illinois, it had become clear that excessive speculation and a worldwide economic slowdown had plunged America into the midst of a Great Depression. While Hoover wrote to Emmerson that "considerable continuance of destitution over the winter" and perhaps longer was unavoidable, he was trying to "get machinery of the country into . . . action." Since the crash, Hoover had worked ceaselessly trying to fix the economy. He founded government agencies, encouraged labor harmony, supported local aid for public works, fostered cooperation between government and business in order to stabilize prices, and struggled to balance the budget. His work focused on indirect relief from individual states and the private sector, as reflected in this letter&rsquos emphasis on "support[ing] each state committee more effectively" and volunteerism&mdash"appeal[ing] for funds" from outside the government.

As the Depression became worse, however, calls grew for increased federal intervention and spending. But Hoover refused to involve the federal government in forcing fixed prices, controlling businesses, or manipulating the value of the currency, all of which he felt were steps towards socialism. He was inclined to give indirect aid to banks or local public works projects, but he refused to use federal money for direct aid to citizens, believing the dole would weaken public morale. Instead, he focused on volunteerism to raise money. Hoover&rsquos opponents painted him as uncaring toward the common citizen, even though he was in fact a philanthropist and a progressive before becoming president. During his reelection campaign, Hoover tried to convince Americans that the measures they were calling for might seem to help in the short term, but would be ruinous in the long run. He asserted that he cared for common Americans too much to destroy the country&rsquos foundations with deficits and socialist institutions. He was soundly defeated by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932.

Roosevelt promised Americans a "New Deal" when he took office, and during his first "Hundred Days" as president, he signed a number of groundbreaking new laws. Roosevelt&rsquos aides later admitted that most New Deal agencies were closely modeled on those that Hoover had attempted, but Roosevelt&rsquos plans differed in financing and scope. New Deal bills supported direct federal aid, tightened government control over many industries, and eschewed volunteerism in favor of deficit spending, all in the hopes of jump starting both consumer confidence and the economy.

In a letter to a friend written seven months after he left office, Hoover expressed his fears about the flurry of New Deal legislation. Hoover saw the country already "going sour on the New Deal." He believed revolution inevitable "unless there is a halt" to the fundamental changes in government and the deficit spending. Roosevelt&rsquos reforms had led Americans to "cast off all moorings," and Hoover predicted that the United States would veer dangerously "to the &lsquoleft,&rsquo" followed by a reaction leading to "some American interpretation of Hitler or Mussolini." In 1934, after two years out of the public eye, Hoover made these same thoughts public in an article titled "The Challenge to Liberty."

Hoover was correct when he predicted that the role of American government would fundamentally change because of the New Deal.

A full transcript is available for Hoover&rsquos letter to Louis Emmerson.

TRANSCRIPT

Herbert Hoover to Louis L. Emmerson, July 10, 1931

Hon. Louis L. Emmerson
Governor of Illinois
Springfield, Ill.

My dear Governor Emmerson:

No matter what improvement there may be in our economic situation during the fall, we shall unquestionably have considerable continuance of destitution over the winter. I am wondering if it would not be advisable for us to get the machinery of the country into earlier action than last year in order that there may be provision for funds substantially made before the winter arrives.

Your organization last winter was one of the most admirable in the whole country and I had some thought that if all organizations were to begin their appeals for funds some time in October and run them over Thanksgiving we could make it more or less a national question and thereby support each state committee more effectively.

This, however, is just thinking aloud on the general situation and I would like your views.

I wish again to express my appreciation for the fine courtesies we received at the hands of Mrs. Emmerson and yourself and with kind regards to you both, I am

Yours faithfully,
Herbert Hoover

A full transcript is available for Hoover&rsquos letter to Bruce Barton.

TRANSCRIPT

Herbert Hoover to Bruce Barton, October 3, 1933

I have compiled with your momentous wish. Your friend does not need to send an exchange. A smoking President receives enough pipes to last a life time. Likewise fishing tackle. It is the only endowment he gets, except a troubled soul.

It seems useless to discuss the situation. The country is going sour on the New Deal, despite the heroic efforts of the Press. unless there is a halt, the real question will be that, having cast off all moorings, will we swing to the "right" or to the "left". I fear first the "left" and then when the great middle class (80% of America) realizes its ruin, it will drive into some American interpretation of Hitler or Mussolini.

There is no trouble finding a large occupation in California doing nothing and conducting a detached observatory of national trends.