Herbert Hoover (1874-1964), America’s 31st president, took office in 1929, the year the U.S. economy plummeted into the Great Depression. Although his predecessors’ policies undoubtedly contributed to the crisis, which lasted over a decade, Hoover bore much of the blame in the minds of the American people. As the Depression deepened, Hoover failed to recognize the severity of the situation or leverage the power of the federal government to squarely address it. A successful mining engineer before entering politics, the Iowa-born president was widely viewed as callous and insensitive toward the suffering of millions of desperate Americans. As a result, Hoover was soundly defeated in the 1932 presidential election by Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945).