Herbert Clark Hoover (1874–1964), was a mining engineer, author, Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s, and the thirty-first President of the United States (1929–1933). While quite popular throughout the 1920s, his responses to the Great Depression badly damaged his credibility, and he lost his bid for re-election in 1932 to Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Herbert Hoover's defeat in 1932 had helped drag down the whole of the Republican Party at the national level, leaving them as the minority party for over a decade. While the Party had been making gains starting in the early 1940s, it wasn't until 1947, with the Truman Administration's inability to defeat the German Freedom Front, in spite of the defeat of Germany proper, that the Republicans were able to regain the majority.
Herbert Hoover was the thirty-first President of the United States from 1933 to 1937, the first Democrat president in 12 years. His was an accidental presidency: he was the running mate for Calvin Coolidge, but Coolidge died before the inauguration, leaving Hoover to assume the office.
Born in Iowa, Hoover was raised in California. Growing up in the period of U.S. history characterized by "Remembrance", Hoover served two years as a conscript before the turn of the century. Hoover had demonstrated an aptitude for science from a young age. During the Great War, and the U.S. fight against the Confederate States, Hoover served as a major in the army corps of engineers.
Hoover was nominated as vice presidential candidate by the Democrats in 1932. Despite the prosperity of the country under Socialist President Upton Sinclair after the Great War, the fortunes of the country had fallen dramatically under Sinclair's successor, Hosea Blackford. The bull-market that had characterized most of the 1920s had finally crashed in 1929. Blackford was unable to deal satisfactorily with the resulting depression. In 1932, the United States found itself in the Pacific War against Japan. While the war was largely a stalemate on the ocean, Japan ran a successful air-raid on the city of Los Angeles on the very day Blackford was in-town for a rally.
Thus, when Hoover was nominated to run with presidential candidate Calvin Coolidge, the Democrats were in the strongest position they had been in for over a decade. Coolidge defeated Blackford handily. However, Coolidge died while still president-elect, leaving Hoover, an unknown quantity, to be sworn in as president.
Despite some of the initial optimism expressed by the voters, Hoover quickly proved a disappointment. His complete contempt for "paternalism" in the federal government rendered him just as ill-equipped to handle the economic depression as Blackford had been. He made this opinion known when Colonel Abner Dowling, the then-military governor of Utah, proposed a make-work plan for the state. Hoover flatly refused, despite the fact that the jobless rate in Utah was further exacerbating that already-precarious situation. This stance led the voters to return the Socialists to Congress in 1934.
Hoover's handling of foreign affairs also frustrated many of his supporters in the military. While he continued the policy of rearmament begun by Blackford, the Pacific War ended inconclusively in 1934. After Jake Featherston and the Freedom Party came to power in the C.S., Hoover proved indecisive in his dealings with the United States' long-time enemy. When Featherston pressed for permission to arm more troops to suppress black uprisings, Hoover (after a period of vacillation) acquiesced, justifying his decision by citing his concerns about "radical" elements among the black Confederate community, and naively concluding that Featherston would not use the increased military against the U.S.
While Hoover did stand strong against Featherston on the rebellious states of Kentucky and Houston, which the U.S. had taken from the C.S. following the Great War, it was too little, too late. Growing dissatisfaction with Hoover led to the election of Al Smith to the presidency in 1936.
One of Hoover's last official duties included acting as pallbearer at Hosea Blackford's funeral.