10 Key Facts About Herbert Hoover

President & First Lady Hoover
President Herbert Hoover & First Lady Lou Henry Hoover. Getty Images/Archive Photos/PhotoQuest

Herbert Hoover was the thirty-first president of the United States. He was born on August 11, 1874, in West Branch, Iowa. Here are ten key facts to know about Herbert Hoover, who he was as a person and his tenure as president.

of 10

First Quaker President

Hoover was the son of a blacksmith, Jesse Clark Hoover, and a Quaker minister, Huldah Minthorn Hoover. Both his parents were dead by the time he was nine. He was separated from his siblings and lived with relatives where he continued to be raised in the Quaker faith. 

of 10

Married Lou Henry Hoover

Even though Hoover never graduated from high school, he attended Stanford University where he met his future wife, Lou Henry. She was a well respected first lady. She was also very involved with the Girl Scouts. 

of 10

Escaped the Boxer Rebellion

Hoover moved with his wife of one day to China to work as a mining engineer in 1899. They were there when the Boxer Rebellion broke out. Westerners were targeted by the Boxers. They were trapped for some before being able to escape on a German boat. The Hoovers learned to speak Chinese while there and often spoke it in the White House when they didn't want to be overheard.

of 10

Led War Relief Efforts in World War I

Hoover was well known as an effective organizer and administrator. During the First World War, he played a key part in organizing war relief efforts. He was the head of the American Relief Committee who helped 120,000 Americans who were trapped in Europe. He ​later headed the Commission of Relief of Belgium. In addition, he led the American Food Administration and the American Relief Administration. 

of 10

Secretary of Commerce for Two Presidencies

Hoover served as the Secretary of Commerce from 1921 to 1928 under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge. He integrated the department as a partner of businesses. 

of 10

Easily Won the Election of 1928

Herbert Hoover ran as a Republican with Charles Curtis in the election of 1928. They easily beat Alfred Smith, the first Catholic to run for the office. He received 444 out of 531 electoral votes. 

of 10

President During the Beginning of the Great Depression

Only seven months after becoming president, America experienced the first major drop in the stock market on what became known as Black Thursday, October 24, 1929. Black Tuesday soon followed on October 29, 1929, and the Great Depression had officially begun. The depression was devastating around the world. In America, unemployment rose to 25 percent. Hoover felt that helping businesses would have the effect of helping those hurt the most. However, this was too little, too late and the depression continued to grow. 

of 10

Saw the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Devastate International Trade

Congress passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff in 1930 that was aimed at protecting American farmers from foreign competition. However, other nations around the world did not take this lying down and quickly countered with their own tariffs. 

of 10

Dealt With the Bonus Marchers

Under President Calvin Coolidge, veterans had been awarded bonus insurance. It was to be paid out in 20 years. However, with the Great Depression, approximately 15,000 veterans marched on Washington, D.C. in 1932 demanding immediate payout. Congress did not respond and the 'Bonus Marchers' created shantytowns. Hoover sent General Douglas MacArthur to force the veterans to move. They ended up using tanks and tear gas to get them to leave. 

of 10

Had Important Administrative Duties After the Presidency

Hoover easily lost reelection to Franklin D. Roosevelt due to the effects of the Great Depression. He came out of retirement in 1946 to help coordinate the food supply to stop famines around the world. In addition, he was chosen to be chairman of the Hoover Commission (1947-1949) which was tasked with organizing the executive branch of government. 

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Kelly, Martin. "10 Key Facts About Herbert Hoover." ThoughtCo, Jul. 29, 2021, thoughtco.com/key-facts-about-herbert-hoover-104701. Kelly, Martin. (2021, July 29). 10 Key Facts About Herbert Hoover. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/key-facts-about-herbert-hoover-104701 Kelly, Martin. "10 Key Facts About Herbert Hoover." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/key-facts-about-herbert-hoover-104701 (accessed February 5, 2023).