Who Was Herbert Hoover?

Contributor: Nichole Brooker. Lesson ID: 11350

Herbert Hoover unwittingly lent his name to monuments good (Hoover Dam) and bad (Hoovervilles). He was blamed for the Great Depression despite his personal fortune. Learn more about the 31st prez!


United States

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Herbert Hoover was the first president who was a millionaire. In fact, he donated every penny he made from all of his government jobs to charity.

He was a very well-respected, successful businessman. Sadly, he is credited with pulling the stopper that sent the country's financial situation whirling down the drain!

How could a millionaire cause the financial downfall of a nation?

In this lesson, you will see why Herbert Hoover was blamed for ushering in the era known as the "Great Depression" in American history.

Herbert Hoover was orphaned at the age of nine and was raised by his aunt and uncle. He was extremely poor and failed the entrance exam to Stanford University, but a professor was so impressed with him, he admitted Herbert conditionally.

He lived in the housing meant for the builders during the construction of the college because he had no money for rent. He struggled financially for many years. When he graduated from Stanford with a degree in geology, he traveled the world seeking land where minerals could be mined, and from this, he created quite a financial empire.

It is quite ironic that the sitting president was a millionaire while the country lost over $30 billion in the Great Depression. Since he was a brilliant businessman, you wonder why he couldn't help figure out the country's financial woes.

The Great Depression was a time in U.S. history when the stock market crashed and most people went to the bank to withdraw their money. When this happened, the banks went out of business because they had no money to keep running. This was a major issue for the American people because many lost everything they had.

  • Create a fictional story about Hoover and why his wealth and business sense were not carried over into his presidency. Maybe he wanted all the money for himself, or maybe he liked to see the American people stand in food lines and lose everything while he danced around piles of money.
  • Why do you think he couldn't save the people of the United States from financial ruin during this time in history? Be creative and write a story about his inability to create an economically stable country (maybe aliens took over his body and he couldn't run the country the way he intended). Share your creative story with your teacher or parent.

Writing fiction can be a great way to be creative with history. Historical fiction is a genre (category) of literature that helps create interest in history by creating a story to go with it. You just did something along those lines! Nice work. Now, let's move back to the facts of Herbert Hoover's presidency.

Take note of at least seven facts about Herbert Hoover while you watch Herbert Hoover (American Presidents):

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You will compare your list with the list in the next section. Make sure you got your facts straight; you never know when you may stumble upon a quiz!

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