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A political leader of the twentieth century, who was president from 1929 to 1933. Hoover became famous for his direction of relief work in Europe after World War I. He had been president only a few months when the Great Depression began (see stock market Crash of 1929, stock market, and Hoovervilles). A Republican, he was reluctant to use the power of the federal government against the Depression. Hoover tried to persuade voters that private enterprise could turn the economy around, but he lost the election of 1932 to Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the late 1940s, he was head of a commission to make the federal government more efficient.