Herbert Hoover is the 31st President of the United States. Dwelling in a rich background of volunteerism and international work even before he entered politics, Hoover quickly became known as ‘The Great Humanitarian.’
Early Life of Herbert Hoover
Herbert Clark Hoover was born in Iowa on 1874. His father, a Quaker blacksmith, influenced him to study mining engineering at the prestigious Stanford University. While spending his years at the university, he met Lou Henry- the love of his life. They eventually got married and moved to China as Hoover proceeded with his career as the head engineer for a private Chinese firm.
The Boxer Rebellion signaled the start of the Hoovers’ humanitarian involvement. When it gained momentum in 1900, his wife began working in hospitals to assist the sick and casualties of war. Herbert Hoover, on the other hand, became in charge of securing the settlement against attacks. He built barricades and other fortifications.
Hoover as a Diplomat
Recognizing his outstanding international work , then American Consul General sought for his assistance when Germany announced that it was in a state of war against France. The diplomat asked Hoover to facilitate the transfer of stranded tourists back to America. He was able to help 120 000 US Citizens return to America within 42 days. After which, his mission shifted to distributing food rations in Belgium which was then blocked by German armed forces.
When US became involved with the war, Hoover became the head of the Food Administration department. He was actually appointed by President Wilson, seeing his extensive and exemplary contribution in sustaining diplomatic relationships. Hoover succeed in revising the food ration policy which led to the stabilization of food supply within America despite continuously providing rations for armed forces abroad.
After serving the Food Administration, he assumed leadership in American Relief Administration and delivered rations for Central Europe. In 1921, Hoover also provided aid to the famished people of Soviet Union. This stirred a huge controversy in American politics and he was often accused as an accomplice to the survival of the Bolshevik regime. Nonetheless, Hoover responded: “Twenty million people are starving. Whatever their politics, they shall be fed!”
He continued to serve two American Presidents, Harding and Coolidge, as the Secretary of Commerce.
Hoover as a President
In 1928, Hoover became the Republican presidential nominee. Hoover was successfully elected yet faced another impending challenge from the crashing American economy. Feeling the need to rescue the market, his policies sought help from Keynesian principles. He cut taxes in order to encourage spending and stimulate the dragging economy. He also ventured to larger national spending to address unemployment.
1931 was no different. Despite various policies and plans to address the deteriorating financial market such as the reconstruction of the Finance Corporation, no significant improvement happened. The Finance Corporation was envisioned to assist businesses, farmers, and laborers facing bankruptcy or foreclosures.
The Democrats associated the Hoover administration with the looming depression. They accused him of his unfair and unsound policies in the wake of a crisis. On his part, Hoover felt that his political opponents were uncooperative for the sake of political gain. This resulted in his defeat come re-election period in 1932.
Hoover as a Veteran in Public Service
Despite his unpopular loss, Hoover never left politics. He actively voiced out his criticisms against the New Deal and its manifestations of statism. He was also tasked by President Truman to re-organize the executive departments of the American bureaucracy. President Eisenhower asked him to chair the same commission in 1953. Both commissions were successful in recommending new policies and emerging economies.
He also became a celebrated political analyst both in the national and international arena, a columnist, and an author.
On October 20, 1964, at the age of 90, Herbert Hoover passed away in New York.: