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Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) was a self-made millionaire in the mining industry, a very successful Secretary of Commerce from 1921-28, and a very unsuccessful president of the U.S. from 1929 to 1933. His term saw the onset of the Great Depression, which began with the stock market crash just a few months after he took office. Today, Hoover's name is most associated with the shanty towns—"Hoovervilles"—erected during the Depression by the nation's unemployed and homeless.

In the early 1930s, President Hoover attempted to address the housing crisis that resulted from the Great Depression, but with limited success. Hoover managed to pass legislation that aimed at helping working-class Americans secure home loans, but few families qualified for aid. Still, Hoover claimed that he saw homeownership as the foundation of a solid economic and social system.

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