Friday, December 26, 2008

HERBERT HOOVER, 31ST PRESIDENT - Herbert Hoover was inaugurated as President on March 4, 1929. His was the first inauguration to be recorded by a talking newsreel. Soon after becoming President, the country experienced a collapse of the stock market and entered into the Great Depression. For this reason, he is often associated with the Great Depression. In fact, however, as Secretary of Commerce under Calvin Coolidge, Hoover had warned of the financial market excesses that led to the Stock Market Collapse and the Great Depression. He also was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, humanitarian in our nation's history. Having used his mining engineering education to make himself a multi-millionaire at a young age, during World War I he spearheaded and personally financed much of the Belgium relief effort for civilians displaced by the war. He was also an organizational genius so that, even after his presidency, future presidents sought him out for his advice and help. Unfortunately, he was not a great public communicator with the result that with the beginning of the Great Depression he was unable to provide the public, morale leadership that the nation's needed at the time.