Herbert Hoover, as Individual and Type


STUDENTS of prehistoric man, limited in their material for study by the difficulties of persistence through a few hundred thousand years of the bodies, or parts of bodies, of our Glacial Era forbears, are compelled to give large consideration to the make-up of the lower jaw of these early men, because jaws seem to persist where arms and legs and ribs do not. The testimony of the lower jaw, coupled with that of the brain-case, — for the top of the head is also fortunately resistant to the ravages of time, — is the basis of many of our conjectures as to the physical nature of our prehistoric ancestors and their probable mentality, disposition, and family life.

We take these jaw-based conjectures seriously, even calling them scientific knowledge, because we have built up a fairly reliable science of anthropologic correlations on a basis of the comparative study of the various physical parts, mental endowments, and temperamental peculiarities of many different kinds of men — and anthropoids, or near-men — of the present time. A skull, or a jaw, or even only a tooth or two, seem to be all that the anthropologist requires for a very interesting disquisition on the physical, mental, and moral make-up of an otherwise entirely absent and long passed dinosaur, cave-bear, or extra-early gentleman of France. The anthropologist has learned to be confident that, with such a given type of skull, or shape of jaw, or form of tooth, a great many other things inevitably go.

That correlations among other parts of organisms are real, there is no question. I once followed Luther Burbank about — both of us on hands and knees— in a small bed of hybrid plum seedlings, while he indicated what particular seedlings were almost certainly going to produce especially worthwhile new kinds of plums, just because they already showed certain particular varying kinds of stems and leaves, although these plant babies had not as yet, to my eyes, even begun to dream of producing plums at all. But Mr. Burbank knows plant-correlations, and makes winning bets on them.

So, when one sees a photographic reproduction of Herbert Hoover’s face and head, and notes the marked type of brain-case and lower jaw presented by it, one can confidently make a beginning in understanding this newly arisen American personality, who tells us so insistently what and what not to eat, and so incisively why and why not.

But, unfortunately, most of us, not being trained students of anthropologic correlations, have got to stop and be content with this beginning. We may add to it some understanding by cogitating things that we have heard about him, press anecdotes of doubtful authenticity that we have read, and descriptions of him that we have heard from the few who have seen him. But to most of us he is, and will long remain, as a personality, just a myth, or at most a man whose likeness reveals an encouraging brain-case and jaw. And this despite a real desire to know more. For to how many people in Belgium, England, and America has something starting from this man come as a reality, a reality of help, a reality of authority, but come only from a hidden centre, as a searching radius stretched out to them and touching their most intimate affairs and feelings! Few persons know Mr. Hoover by sight or hearing, fewer still by hand-clasp, or eye to eye. To all but these few he is almost mythical as a human being, however real he may be as an official name and quoted oracle.

The few who do know him personally, as human being, man of marked traits, unpretentious but most impressive manner, and curiously potent appeal and attractiveness, — curiously, because not produced in any usual and familiar way, least of all in any intended way, — the few who have this personal knowledge of him enjoy a most interesting and suggestive experience. He becomes a friend and an object of study at the same moment; he discovers himself to be at once a thoroughly individualized man and yet a most revealing type of a class, His most personal and special characteristics do not prevent him from being a generalized and most representative and illuminating example of a certain kind of man, increasing in numbers and importance in every civilized land, but appearing especially rapidly and well-developed in America.

That Hoover has lived a third of his life in London makes neither him nor the essential features of that life anything but simon-pure American; his home, his office, His family, and himself, were as vividly American throughout those days in London City and the West End as they are to-day in Washington. So he represents his type as an American example of it, with all the national characteristics obvious, but never so exaggerated as to obscure the more fundamental type characters.

A study of Hoover’s personality, then, not only has the recommendation of satisfying natural curiosity concerning a swiftly risen world-figure, but it should also reveal to us something of the character of our political and social evolution; for any knowledge of the characteristics of the class to which we are turning more and more for our national leaders, will enable us to obtain some indication and understanding as to whither and how we are moving along the path of changing social organization.


The biographical details of Herbert Hoover’s earlier years will not go far in explaining to us his present personality. Born in 1874 on an Iowa farm, of Quaker father and mother, he received through them that native endowment of potentialities which come, variously, to each of us by the processes of heredity; processes still mysterious despite all the wealth of detail of mechanism and method which modern, post-Mendelian study of heredity has revealed. We do know something of why a man’s eyes are blue, if they are blue instead of brown, as another man’s eyes are; and something of why he is mentally defective from birth, if he is, while another is so mentally sound.

But despite the cheerful confidence of those too optimistic specialists who say that the secret of inheritance is now known, and that, being given a full knowledge of one’s ancestors and collaterals to the number of several dozen, they will prophesy the physical and mental make-up of one’s next child, the fact is that they cannot. They cannot, if for no other reason than that human births are too few per family to give them the advantage of the working of the Mendelian mathematical formulæ on which their prophesying is based. Besides, they can rarely have that full knowledge of ancestry which they need. Mr. Hoover does not know, nor do I, the full history of his ancestors and collaterals, and the mere knowledge of the make-up of one’s parents and of a few grandand great-grandparents, is never sufficient to explain why any one’s inherited characteristics are just what they are.

The influence of one’s environment is sometimes more nearly determinable. But there is one great difficulty about that, too, and that is, that to understand fully the effect of environmental influence requires a pretty good understanding of the native qualities of the material upon which the environment acts. The reaction of differently formed human beings is never exactly the same even when the environmental action on them is nearly identical. ‘ You can’t,’ as David Starr Jordan is wont to say, to explain some failures of college endeavor, ‘put a thousand-dollar education into a fifty-dollar boy.’

Herbert Hoover’s early environment was affected by the death of both parents while he was a child and his being handed over to the sympathetic care of various aunts and uncles, all of the Quaker faith and training. This condition must have placed in his own hands earlier than is usual with most of us, a certain personal share in the determination of his own environment. For example, when the time for his preparation for college came, he found himself on the Pacific coast under the care of a Quaker uncle, who had naturally planned that this preparation should lead him into a Quaker college. But already the youth had decided that his higher education should be obtained in a modern scientific university. This was a decision determined partly by the lack of control of the environment itself, but more probably by the assertion of an inherited quality which made strongly for self-determination of behavior. He went, therefore, to Portland, and, supporting himself by his own exertions, was able in a couple of years to fit himself for his ‘modern scientific university.’ He entered Stanford University with the first opening of its doors in the fall of 1891, and thus entered on a characteristically pioneering career with Stanford’s pioneer class of 1895. During his four years at the university he again supported himself by his own exertions.

Now, without doubt, these six years of earning his own way as a youth of fifteen to twenty-one years were an environmental influence which had its real effect, and one probably recognizable and of much importance to-day in its results. He learned early something enduring about values in human life; about things that count and things that are superficial. And he learned something of his own capacities, and to have confidence in them. One of his present outstanding characteristics is confidence, although a confidence never weakened by conceit.

His major work in the university was in the department of geology and mining, under the supervision of a sturdy, direct, natural teacher and investigator, John Casper Branner, a scholar of practical mind, intent on truth and essentials. This association was good environment for the rapidly developing young man, already inclined by native instinct and boy’s experience to be intent on the same things.

Dr. Branner’s advice to the students graduating from his department—to be miners for a while before being ‘mining engineers ’ — was followed quite literally by Hoover, who went into a Sierran mining-camp and was there miner and shift-boss, and perhaps other things, before he turned again to mining engineering as helper in the office, in San Francisco, of Louis Janin, the bestknown mining engineer in the West.

He was soon out of the office, however, and again in the mines of California, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, and Arizona, where he stayed until he received an offer from an engineering firm to go to West Australia. Here, in 1897, after only two years of mining engineering apprenticeship since graduation, he was an arrived and successful mining engineer in the position of manager of one of the most famous of Australian mines. There can be no doubt that native capacity was as largely responsible for this swift achievement as good training and other environment.

In another year (1898) he was manager of two other great Australian mines, and in one year more he was director of mines for the Chinese Empire. This gave him a chance to go through some highly spiced adventures in Tientsin during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900.

Crossing with him from Thamesmouth to Flushing in the summer of 1915, on one of the small Dutch boats which were allowed by Germans and Allies to maintain a precarious crossChannel connection between the Continent and England, I heard from him as we walked the narrow decks, with a constant eye out for casual floating mines or careless submarines, many stories of his experiences in Australia and China. I do not remember many of the incidents, but I remember clearly the general impression made on me by all of them together. It was, that the chief actor in them was a man of level head, clear vision, entire fearlessness, and great resourcefulness and directness of action.

Since then I have had the opportunity, given by close association, to see him think and act under circumstances of continuous serious importance. I would use the same words now to express my present actual knowledge of his qualities which I have just used to express my impression of them gained on the uneasy little Dutch boat.

After the Chinese experiences he became a junior partner in a London mining firm, at that time (1902) perhaps the greatest in the world. During this partnership, which lasted until 1908, Hoover had the experience of meeting the task, largely because of his own attitude in the matter and through his own exertions, of making good to the firm’s clients the defalcation by the firm’s financial member of about a million dollars. In 1908 he had restored the sum, sold his interest in the firm, and was a man free and wholly competent to go it alone successfully in the world’s arena of mining business. And ever since then he has gone it alone, and successfully.

It is beyond the province of this sketch to recite any of the details of his impressively successful handling of large mining affairs in Russia, Burma, Central America, Mexico, and elsewhere. He has been successful in making money for his associates and for himself out of many undertakings; but, more importantly, he has been successful in making good mines out of what in other men’s hands had been bad ones. That, indeed, has been his special work in mining: not promoting mines and selling mining shares to an easy public, but making the earth yield its treasures even when it seemed most reluctant to release them. He has made his money in mining out of the ground, not out of the pockets of investors.


And then in August, 1914, came the War, and came also Hoover’s ready relinquishment of mining and moneymaking, and his undertaking to care for the feeding of a nation suddenly deprived of the capacity of feeding itself.

This undertaking promised to make large demands on all the qualities we have attributed to the subject of our analysis. It also required another — or perhaps it is not so much another quality as it is one including most of the others, and something more and larger than any of them. I would call it the creative imagination. Ribot’s famous essay of many years ago pointed out clearly how mistaken we are in the limitations with which we commonly use the term ‘ creative imagination.’ By it we mean usually something peculiar to artists and poets, and hence foreign to men of business and politics and statecraft. If such men show originality of constructive thought and achievement we call it that, and not creative imagination. But when they conceive and do things originally and constructively, they are really revealing their possession of the same quality which poets and artists — real ones — possess. Only with them it is expressed differently. Herbert Hoover is a rather unpoetic-looking brother to the poets; he is an artist using colors not named in the solar spectrum; he is a man of creative imagination.

Also, it goes without saying that to drop money-making and mining, to begin money-losing and hard, wearing struggle in the tremendous task of Belgian relief, revealed, in the victim of our vivisection, qualities of heart and humanity which we have not before in this paper ascribed to him, although they have long been familiar to his friends.

The work of feeding the people of Belgium and occupied France has been much more difficult than is popularly imagined. And the greatest difficulties have not been those which might, at first glance, seem to be the probable chief ones, namely, difficulties on the material side in obtaining the great sums of money necessary, and in purchasing and transporting and handling the enormous food-quantities involved. But they have been of a more intangible sort, difficulties connected with the belligerent governments, difficulties about the necessary agreements and guaranties indispensable to the inauguration and maintenance of the work. The material problems have been serious enough, in all conscience, but the immaterial ones have been more serious. There has been necessary all through the course of the undertaking much more than the ‘engineering efficiency,’ so widely noted and praised in connection with it; there has been continuously necessary a high degree of diplomatic achievement.

Diplomacy popularly connotes methods of indirection, elements of concealment, the strategy of twilight hours. But Herbert Hoover’s diplomatic achievement in connection with Belgian relief has been by methods just the opposite of the ones noted. He has won by directness and playing with the cards face up on the table. He has been something more than honest in his methods: he has been obviously honest. His forthrightness of plan, proposal, and action has carried him to swift success, where other methods would have failed — and time was always of the essence in the relief work. He has come to diplomacy untrained as a diplomat; just trained and by nature made to be forcefully common-sensible, sure of his ground, and honestly and confidently direct in the presentation of his needs. So foreign offices and war departments and secret services and all the other groups of people involved, whether American, English, French, German, or Belgian, have been won to permit and aid him in his great undertaking.

The humanitarian character of the undertaking itself, and the readily demonstrated necessity of it, might seem to be sufficient to insure success in the diplomatic and inter-governmental engagements necessary for it. But that is far from being the case. There has been no relief, in the large and complete way of Belgian relief, in Poland or Serbia or Armenia, or wherever else it was equally needed. No, humanitarianism alone is not sufficient in times of war—at least, in this war, with such a completely militarized and dehumanized element in it as the German War Machine — to guarantee unaided the success of humane intentions and generous offers. It required keen understanding, highly intelligent planning, and forceful and persistent effort, to do good effectively in the Belgian centre of the terrible human struggle that is this War.


From the feeding of Belgium to the administration of the food of America was, under the circumstances, the natural and inevitable step. It was the character of the war which made feeding Belgium necessary; it was its magnitude which made control of the food of the last great nation to enter it also necessary. And it was the success of the manager of the very large and very difficult Belgian undertaking which promised the ultimate success— if success were at all possible to anybody — of the manager of the larger and more difficult American undertaking.

Herbert Hoover entered on his new task in public service with no illusions as to its extraordinary difficulties. He said, grimly, immediately after promising President Wilson that he would undertake it, that he would probably get hung up on the first barbed-wire entanglements. He did not really mean this, for he would not have undertaken it at all unless he had been confident that he would last longer than that. But he had seen one German food-dictator after another drop out, was seeing Lord Rhondda succeed Lord Devonport as food-controller in England, and was soon to see M. Violette make way for a new French minister of provisionment, and this one for still another; and his remark expressed concisely the fate that faced any too sanguine foodmanager. Managing the army or navy or the shipyards gives you excellent chances for trouble with soldiers or sailors or labor unions, but managing food gives you the supreme opportunity for trouble with everybody.

Hoover knew this when he left London for Washington; and he knows it even better now that he has had a few months of food-administration. But he knows something else, too, which he also undoubtedly knew, or at least believed, when he began these months. And that is that the administering of the food of the American public in a great emergency by calling upon the loyal and patriotic coöperation of the food-producers and food-handlers and food-consumers of America, in a word, of the whole American people, is not all trouble — it is partly a high experience of the revelation of the thing which makes democracy possible and democratic government successful — the response of the great mass to the call for loyalty and sacrifice. And that response, no less than the response of trouble, has been a result of the undertaking of American food-control. It takes but a few to provide the response which means trouble; but it takes a great many to give the response which means even the beginnings of success in a great national endeavor. Yet those beginnings of success are already certainly apparent in the work of American food-administration.

This reliance upon the fundamental feeling, understanding, and loyalty of the mass of the people has been characteristic of Hoover in his work both in Belgian relief and American foodadministration. He is a democrat by birth and training. He does not merely believe in democracy — he relies on democracy. And yet he indulges in no blind and debilitating sentiment about the equality of all men. He knows that men are far from equal in capacity and character; they are unequal from birth, from conception. Nor can any identity of training or opportunity make them equal. It can help them to approach common understanding and common preferences, and can help remove adventitious inequality. But fundamental inequality is a condition of human, aye, of all animal and plant-existence. No two individuals in all the world through all time are or have been exactly alike; nor will there ever be such two. Not even ‘identical twins’ are identical, though they arise from the accidentally separated halves of the same egg.

Herbert Hoover, therefore, knows that he is different from the men about him, and knows that these differences are of a kind that make him a leader, and hence a controller, of other men. And he accepts leadership because he honestly believes that success in organization and communal achievement demands the placing of authority in central hands. Centralization of authority and responsibility; decentralization of operations — this is the system on which Belgian relief was successfully administered, and on which American food-administration is being based.

But the necessity of leadership and authority in democracy carries with it the necessity of a selection of leaders on a basis of essentials alone. Capacity, conviction, courage, and devotion — these are the bases for selecting the heads of enterprises and governments; not politics, favor, or opportunism. And the selection should be generally recognized as made fairly, and, in cases where outstanding and accepted figures make it possible, inevitably. It is not undemocratic to choose or accept leaders, and to delegate authority. It is, indeed, essentially democratic procedure, and absolutely necessary for the successful persistence of democratic organization. Hoover, as convinced believer in centralized authority and as actual personal exemplar of such authority, and Hoover as true democrat, are not two inconsistent figures. Neither is President Wilson, to take another near-by example of the same condition.

What may be called the more special traits of Herbert Hoover are in perfect line with the general ones so far outlined. One man is as good as another to him until he reveals himself less good. He saves time by cutting out frills, both business and social. He enjoys company, but wants it to mean something. He has little small talk, but plenty of significant talk. He prefers arranging matters by conference and agreement to using the big stick, but he does not hesitate to club when necessary. His directness of mental approach to any subject is expressed in his whole manner: his immediate attack in conversation on the essence of the matter, his few words, his quick decisions. He makes these decisions easily because he has a clear general policy to guide him.

I recall being asked by him to come to breakfast one morning at Stanford University, to talk over the matter of the faculty salary-standards. Mr. Hoover is now a trustee of the university that graduated him. His first question to the several of us who were there was: What is the figure below which a professor of a given grade (assistant professor, associate, or full professor) cannot maintain himself here on a basis which will not lower his efficiency in his work or his dignity in the community? We finally agreed on a figure. ‘Well,’ said Hoover, ‘that must be the minimum salary of the grade.’

He saves time. He reads surprisingly much for a man so continually heavily laden with affairs, and so given to days and nights of concentration on their problems. But he does his reading in bed. Even in those many difficult and always uncertain trips across the North Sea, from England to Holland, on his enforced movements between London and Brussels, he always had his little electric torch, or even stub of a candle, to fasten to his bunk for a little reading before going to sleep. He saves trouble, as well as time, by wearing in all seasons, and for years, one after another, business suits of the same model and cloth, which he simply orders when needed, two or three at a time, as one would order another half-dozen of collars of one’s favorite style and regular size.

He knows what he wants to do, and goes straight forward toward doing it; but if difficulty too great intervenes, he withdraws for a fresh start and tries another path. I always think of him as outside of a circle in the centre of which is his goal. He strikes the circle at one spot; if he can get through, well and good. If not, he draws away, moves a little around the circumference, and strikes again. This resourcefulness and fertility of method are conspicuous and invaluable characteristics. If there is only one way, he fights to the extreme along that way. But almost always he sees that there are other ways, and he readily tries one after another of them.

In all the Belgian relief diplomacy he recognized discreetly the official position of military officers, ministers, ambassadors, cabinet secretaries, premiers. He was patient of form where form was obligatory. But in realities he dealt with each as man to man. He presumes reasonableness in his antagonist and depends on reason and understanding for his strength in discussion. He does not understand personal attack and vindictiveness. He has sufered unduly by lack of comprehension of the manner and methods of various attacks which have been made on him and his work.

He has an amazing capacity for lucid exposition. His successful argument with Lloyd George, who began a conference on the relief-work strongly opposed to it on grounds of its alleged military disadvantage to the Allies, and closed it by a complete acceptance of the principle, leaving to his cabinet secretaries and Mr. Hoover to arrange details, is a conspicuous example of his way of getting what he wants, on a basis of good grounds, confidence in his position, and effective setting out of his arguments. It is also a good example of the way he likes to ‘do business.’ The higher the authority and more able the man who has to be convinced, the more confident is Hoover of the outcome of the meeting.

He also has an emotional side. It is a side less apparent, though not less strong, than the purely reasoning one, or the one of forcefulness and authority. I shall not embarrass him by telling stories known only to a few intimates. But one incident may be described. In Belgium he avoided the soup-lines and the children’s canteens as much as possible; he kept himself to the Brussels office, and had his meetings with the heads of the great national and provincial committees. But one day my wife persuaded him to take an hour from the central office to visit a canteen for sub-normal children.

‘ He stood silently,’she writes, ‘as the sixteen hundred and sixty-two little boys and girls came crowding in, slipping into their places at the long narrow tables that cut across the great dining-rooms; and, when I looked at him, his eyes had filled with tears. He watched Madame and her husband, a physician, going from one child to another, examining their throats, or their eyes, taking them out to the little clinic for weighing, carrying the youngest in their arms, comforting a sorrowing mother whose little Marie had just died—while all the time the dozen white-uniformed young women hurried up and down the long rows, ladling the potato-stew and the rice dessert.

‘ I turned toward Mr. Hoover, and he spoke these true words: “ The Women of Belgium have become the Mother of Belgium. In this room is the Relief of Belgium.” ’


It has been for long our custom to commit the affairs of government to the hands of men whom we call statesmen or politicians. Sometimes the men of this class are indicated as belonging to it by a certain training, but too often only by a certain inclination. This inclination does not always coincide with special competence; in fact, it has so often been associated with incompetence that the name politician, even that of statesman, usually leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

It is unnecessary to try to point out in detail how this condition has come to exist. If we look to Great Britain we may find some explanation. There, government has been, even more than with us, a function of a class. But it has been a class possessing more elements of presumable special fitness and training than with us. Government service in Great Britain has been associated with birth, with inherited means, with a ‘gentleman’s education’ at Oxford or Cambridge, and with a certain civil-service apprenticeship which at least gave a degree of acquaintanceship with the general form of government organization and with traditionally approved method.

We of America, daughter of England, have undoubtedly taken over from the mother country the idea of government service committed to a special class; but we have not taken with it the idea of birth, means, or special education, either in university or civil service, as necessary prerequisites for admission to this class. And we have probably not suffered very much by not doing so, for Great Britain, in her present great emergency, in this modern trial by fire of her governmental form of organization and method, is rapidly casting her traditions aside — just as we are. A new element of society has been called for, and has conspicuously entered both British and American governments. It is being more quickly and largely used in Washington than in London, because tradition’s hold on us is weaker and more easily broken. But we have no more conspicuous illustrations of this element in our government service than England’s Geddes and Rhondda.

This new element, introduced to assist and strengthen and speed up government, is that of the business man, or, to be exact, of a certain type of business man. It is to the men and methods of business, successful business, that the world has turned in its stress and great need. Washington to-day is a strange sight. Where, of old, Senators of the Prince Albert coat, the large soft hat, and the heavy gold chain, and Congressmen of a basic bucolicness with a translucent veneer of the approved ‘ Meet Mr. Smith ’ type of geniality and cosmopolitanism, were the characteristic landfalls in any ‘seeing Washington’ experience, now the megaphone is kept busy asking you to note the passing, with vigorous step or in swift motor, of numerous less picturesque-looking men in sack suits, who are Mr. Jones and Mr. Brown and Mr. Robinson and Mr. Black, the heads of the National Red Cross, and War Industries Board, and Shipping Board, and Food Administration; and, at the same time, partner of J. P. Morgan, and president of this or that great railway system, and great merchant, and great inventor and manufacturer, and great mining engineer. And so on, with successive representatives of the successful business man introduced to your astonished ears and eyes here in Washington — not New York!

There are also, in less number, to be sure, than the partners of Mr. Morgan, but still numerous enough to be noticeable, certain men of yet another class who have been brought abundantly to Washington. You will meet them often in the offices of the business men — more often, perhaps, than you will meet senators and congressmen and other traditional Washingtonians in these plain offices, more abundantly furnished with telephones and stenographers and straight-backed chairs than with rugs, deep leather rockers and other temptations to reminiscential social converse. These other men are named to you as Professor X and Doctor Z. They are men of long study of this or that specialized branch of natural or political science. The governing business men associate these experts, on leave from their universities, with them as advisers and helpers. They do not ask them for aid in organization or administration, but they ask them for special information, and to study this or that special problem on the basis of the fundamental scientific facts and methods with which they are already soundly familiar.

There is much importance for the present, and significance for the future, in this calling on the proved business men and experts of the country to share in the administrative responsibility in this time of the nation’s stress. It is a new phase of our cult of efficiency. And it is a splendid new illustration of the resources of democratic government. The response of the business men, that is, of the right type of business men, has been immediate and whole-hearted. They have dropped private affairs and money-making at the very moment when their undivided personal attention to these matters may mean more in the way of gain, or of minimizing loss, than ever before in their lives, perhaps; They come as volunteers, regardless of titles, of position, or popular recognition, to do their part in public service, to help make our government more effective in time of great emergency, to help save it in a crisis. And when the crisis is past, they will be willing, and will prefer, to go back to their private affairs.

But they will not all be allowed to do this, and others, later, will be called for. Because Washington and the country are learning something. We are taking a new step in the organization of our national administration. By a small angle, but definitely, we are changing the direction of our national evolution. It is going to be possible for our government to have always at its disposal, hereafter, the aid of men of a type new, with some notable exceptions, in public service, although as old in human society as human society itself. For the country is finding a new use for this type, and the type is finding in public service a new opportunity and aim and satisfaction.

On the other hand, as a consequence of the new experience, we are going, without any reciting of ‘ whereases ’ and ‘ resolveds,’ or any formulation of rules or regulations, to release ourselves to some extent from government by talkers, wire-pullers, and favorite sons. The test in business organization is capacity, and so it is in government. And our government is now put, for the first time in a long period, rigidly to the test. Managing our government for the rest of our generation — we can see so far, at least, plainly— is going to be a stressful undertaking of big business, expert administration, and willing and self-sacrificing national loyalty. Strong policies more than politics, active doing more than spellbinding, and resourcefulness more than tradition, are going to be characteristic of it. Hence we shall need the Hoovers and Hurleys, the Davisons and Baruchs, the Willards and Rosenwalds, and others like them, in governmental and national affairs for a long time to come.

And I much doubt, indeed, whether we shall ever again try to get on without them.

This is what I mean when I speak of Herbert Hoover as ‘type.’ He represents typically a class we are discovering in a new light; men of affairs willing to be men of public service, not for salary or glory or named position, but for the satisfaction of doing something for country and humanity. It seems hard to reconcile our carefully cultivated ideas of ‘big business’ with our ideas of public service. But we have before our eyes the material evidence that some big-business men can be willing and generous and honest public servants. Washington these days is not only a strange sight — it is an inspiring sight.