Herbert Hoover served as U.S. president from 1928 to 1932, which was one of the most economically depressed periods in the country's history. Though he cut taxes, invested in public works projects, established the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and signed into law the Smoot-Hawley Act, he failed to end the Depression.
Hoover worked as a humanitarian for most of his life. He served in China during the Boxer Rebellion, helped Americans stranded in Europe when World War I began, led the Commission for Relief in Belgium and headed the country's Food Administration. He led the American Relief Administration and served as secretary of state under Presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge, spearheading projects such as the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Hoover Dam.
In a desperate attempt to raise tax revenues, he signed the Smoot-Hawley Act, which raised taxes on imports. The attempt failed, as foreign nations stopped buying American products at a time when the country needed the sales. When 15,000 veterans marched on Washington in May 1932, he sent in General Douglas MacArthur and the military to forcibly remove them. Many believe President Hoover didn't act fast enough and didn't do enough to help unemployed Americans.
As president, he signed into law the 20th Amendment, which is sometimes called the lame-duck amendment, because it decreased how long an outgoing president remained in office before a new president was sworn in. He lost his re-election bid to Franklin Roosevelt.