Bylines in Despair: Herbert Hoover, the Great Depression, and the U.S. News Media

By Louis W. Liebovich | Go to book overview

2
Secretary of Commerce

Only days before Warren Harding's inauguration, reporters learned that Herbert Hoover had accepted the Secretary of Commerce post. He did so reluctantly and only at the urging of Charles Evans Hughes, the party's 1916 standard-bearer and soon-to-be Harding's secretary of state. 1 Newsmen found out that, instead of retiring from public life as he had intended, Hoover planned to return to Washington. For seven years, he attended to everyday details and set aside his presidential ambitions. 2 By accepting the cabinet post, Hoover rejected a $500,000-a-year position with mining company owner Daniel Guggenheim. 3

David Lawrence wrote that the idea of Hoover as president displeased official Washington, but his appointment as Secretary of Commerce was welcomed. His expertise and organization were badly needed in the Commerce Department, which had grown into a confusing welter of loosely connected subagencies. Most newspapers and magazines praised his appointment. 4 The New Republic described Hoover as "easily the most constructive man in public life."5 The New York World had cooled toward Hoover, and the newspaper described his appointment as political maneuvering by Harding. The World concluded:

In political circles which are unfriendly to the Administration there was a good deal of speculation as to the motive which prompted Mr. Harding at a rather

-29-

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Bylines in Despair: Herbert Hoover, the Great Depression, and the U.S. News Media
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Prologue xi
  • Note xv
  • 1 - The Unlikely Road to Success 1
  • Notes 20
  • 2 - Secretary of Commerce 29
  • Notes 50
  • 3 - The Campaign and Aftermath of the 1928 Election 57
  • Notes 76
  • 4 - Lost Opportunities 83
  • Notes 97
  • 5 - The Crash 101
  • Notes 125
  • 6 - Radio, Newsreels, Newspapers, and the Presidency 131
  • Notes 150
  • 7 - The Bonus March 155
  • Notes 177
  • 8 - The Dawn of the Roosevelt Era 183
  • Notes 203
  • Epilogue 209
  • Note 211
  • Selected Bibliography 213
  • Index 217
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