Herbert Hoover (1874–1964), a Stanford-educated mining engineer, spearheaded relief and reconstruction efforts following World War I and proved an effective secretary of commerce (19211929) under Harding and Coolidge. He easily won the Republican presidential nomination in 1928, and defeated Democratic candidate Alfred E. Smith in the election. His administration, however, was marred by the stock market crash of October 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression. In 1932, when some 15,000 ex-servicemen (“the Bonus Marchers”) descended on Washington, the President sent out troops to remove them from federal property. When Hoover ran for reelection in 1932, he was overwhelmingly defeated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Between 1947 and 1949, the former president headed the Hoover Commission, empowered by Congress to study the executive branch of government. Many of its recommendations were adopted, including the establishment of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. He headed a second commission (19531955) under Eisenhower, making recommendations on policy as well as organization.

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