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Rogan's Recollections

(And Occasional Historical Observations)

Herbert Hoover and Civility in Politics

(Original Signed Photograph of President Hoover from the Collection of James Rogan)

The 1928 presidential campaign was no different than any other campaign where slurs and mud are flung from both sides. That race pitted Republican Herbert Hoover against Alfred E. Smith. The minions of both campaigns fired baseless charges back and forth as happens in politics. Accusations against Smith (the first Catholic major party nominee) included his supposed secret plan to build a tunnel from Washington to the Vatican so he could take his orders from the Pope; against Hoover was heard the false claim that he was secretly a British citizen planning on taking his orders from King George V.


Despite all this, how refreshing it is to read what Hoover later said about the man he defeated for the presidency:


"Governor Alfred E Smith, the Democratic candidate, was a natural born gentleman. Both of us had come up from the grass roots or the pavements, and from boyhood had learned the elements of sportsmanship. During the campaign he said no word and engaged in no action that did not comport with the highest levels. I paid a natural tribute to him when speaking in New York during the campaign, and he did so to me when speaking in California. In after years, when I was often associated with him in public matters, we mutually agreed that we had one deep satisfaction from the battle. No word had been spoken or misrepresentation made by either of us which prevented sincere friendship the day after the election." -- The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover 1920-1933: The Cabinet and the Presidency (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1952), 198.

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