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AMERICAN HISTORY

31st President: Herbert Clark Hoover
Years in Office: 1929 -- 1933  ( 4 yrs )
Party: Republican
Vice President:  Charles Curtis
First Lady: Lou Henry Hoover
Year Born:  1874
Year Died:  1964  ( 90 yrs old )

Herbert Hoover was born in Iowa and educated at Stanford.  Before he was 30, he had acquired a vast working knowledge of industrial mining, and he became a partner in a major engineering firm in England and organized a national department of mining and railways in China.

    When the First World War broke out, he was appointed chairman of the American Relief Commission in London and proceeded to arrange the return of some 200,000 Americans stranded abroad.  As more and more duties were added,  he eventually controlled dozens of European agencies and was in charge of the continents tortuous transportation system.

    Hoover later led the U.S. Food Administration, and from 1921 to 1929,  he served as secretary of commerce for presidents Harding and Coolidge.  In the face of weak opposition, he won the 1928 Republican nomination and then defeated Al Smith in the election.

    He created the Federal Farm Board to address the needs of agriculture.  But in 1929, the stock market crashed, plunging the country into chaos and setting off the Great Depression.  His limp and ineffective steps to turn the tide led to a crushing defeat in 1932 at the hands of Franklin Roosevelt.