The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover: The Cabinet and the Presidency, 1920-1933

The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover: The Cabinet and the Presidency, 1920-1933

The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover: The Cabinet and the Presidency, 1920-1933

The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover: The Cabinet and the Presidency, 1920-1933

Excerpt

Four of the thirty-two Presidents of the United States have ventured into the field of autobiography. They were John Quincy Adams, Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, and Calvin Coolidge. The diaries of James K. Polk also possibly belong in this category. Voluminous state papers and correspondence of all Presidents have been published, but they cannot be considered as autobiographical in the usual sense.

Every autobiography has a major justification. It presents the participation of an individual among forces and events which, if recorded, contribute pieces of mosaic to the historian. From these pieces he creates great murals of human experience -- with the hope that they will illuminate the way of human progress.

I returned in 1919 from several years abroad (including most of the years of World War I) steeped with two ideas: first, that through three hundred years America had developed something new in a way of life of a people, which transcended all others of history; and second, that out of the boiling social and economic caldron of Europe, with its hates and fears, rose miasmic infections which might greatly harm or even destroy what seemed to me to be the hope of the world. Therefore, soon after my return I began public speaking, writing articles for magazines, and even published a small book of diagnosis and warnings.

After some hesitation I came to believe that through public service I could contribute something to ward off the evils; something to the reconstruction of the United States from the damage of the war; something to advance the reforms which discoveries in science, invention, and new ideas had imposed. And I believed that I could contribute to . . .

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