Friday, August 13, 2004

The Life of Herbert Hoover

The Life of Herbert Hoover This is a short academic biography by William Cooke. It includes references.

From the site:

There are certain lies being told about Herbert Hoover. When people hear his name, they think of insensitivity and bad leadership. While running for President in 1992, Bill Clinton compared then President George Bush to Herbert Hoover. Mr. Hoover's life and presidency have been lost in the halls of historical fiction and political name calling. This essay does not take that negative view of Herbert Hoover. Hoover was the scapegoat for the Great Depression and all that was wrong with America. In the book, The Herbert Hoover Story, by Eugene Lyons, a similar feeling is expressed. On page 1 the author writes, "A Fantastic Hoover Myth, factually false and humanly unjust, has been industriously promoted during many years by hordes of official and volunteer propagandists and is still very much in circulation. It presents our thirty-first President as a heartless ogre, inept and callous and reactionary, who 'caused' a depression, then 'did nothing' to mitigate its horrors."{1} However, this was not the real Hoover. Hoover was a humanitarian all of his life and always did his best to help people. Later in his life he became a great elder statesman who always put his faith in the American people. Hoover was a kind and generous man and in this time, when the Republicans are being charged with wanting to starve children and kill old people, they would be wise to resurrect the memory of one of its most compassionate and able leaders, Herbert Hoover.

Herbert Clark Hoover was born on August 10, 1874, in the Cedar County, Iowa, to Jesse and Hulda Hoover. His parents, along with most of the community, were Quakers and he was raised in that religious tradition. His family was poor. His father was a blacksmith and they lived in a small house. However, through hard work his father was able to move the family into a much bigger house soon after his birth. He learned early in his life the importance of self- reliance and hard work. In 1880 his father, Jesse, died and four years later his mother passed on. At age 11 he went west to Oregon to live with his Uncle, John Minthorn. From there he was able to attend Stanford University. At Stanford, his friends convinced him to run for the office of Treasurer. He won and managed to wipe out the student government debt of $2000. He refused to accept payment for his work and even wrote a student constitution.

After he graduated from Stanford, at age 20, he worked in a California mine. In 1897, he was hired by a London Firm called Bewick-Moring and was sent to Australia to search for gold. While in Australia he earned the trust of his friends because of his leadership. At age 22, he was sent by his firm to China to build port facilities and develop coal mines. Because of anti-Western revolts, he was trapped in China, along with his wife and other westerners, in the middle of the conflict. However, he eventually got out. Hoover had made a fortune by this time though his hard work. He was also very honest. In 1907 after a partner at his firm stolen a half million dollars from the firm he insisted on paying it all back out of his own pocket. In 1908 he left the firm to start his own consulting firm employing 175,000 workers all over the world. He also became a member of Stanford's Board of Trustees. In the book This Man Hoover, the author writes "The Story of Hoover is essentially the story of America."{2} The author is right. Herbert Hoover showed in his early life his willingness to work hard, take risks, and most importantly to be honest.

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