John E. Hoover

J Edgar Hoover
Portrait of John E. Hoover

33rd President of the United States
January 20, 1961-January 20, 1965

Predecessor Thomas Sullivan
Successor Richard Van Dyke

1st Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Successor Clyde Tolson

National Security Advisor

Predecessor position created
Successor George M. Andrews
Born January 1, 1895
Died May 2, 1972
Spouse Dorothy Lamour Hoover
Political Party National Party
Profession Justice Department officer

John Edgar Hoover (January 1, 1895-May 2, 1972) was the 33rd President of the United States of America, serving from January 20, 1961 to January 20, 1965. Prior to this, he was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1935 to 1950, was the director of the Bureau of Investigation that preceded the FBI from 1924-1935 and was the National Security Advisor for Prescott Bush from 1950 to 1953. Hoover was the last incumbent President elected to a full term to not seek reelection (although Neill Wallace did not seek election in 1980, he was fulfilling the remainder of his predecessor's term).

Hoover exploded onto the national stage in 1958, when he launched his American Liberty Party and in an insurgent campaign defeated incumbent Democratic President Thomas R. Sullivan and Nationalist nominee Daniel White in the 1960 election. However, his Presidency was hobbled due to his poor relationship with borth parties in Congress and his opposition to key planks in both parties' platforms. Hoover's legacy is controversial, and many of the policies enacted during his term as President and, to a greater extent, as FBI Director led to his villification and personal unpopularity. Faced with a second three-way race and facing popular opponents in Massachusetts Governor Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. and Missouri Governor Richard Van Dyke, Hoover chose not to face reelection.

Early Life

FBI Career

Bush administration and First retirement

National Security Advisor

On March 14, 1950, Hoover was abruptly named to be the first National Security Advisor by President Prescott Bush. Hoover, who had made his career at the Department of Justice, was initially reluctant to take the position, but was eventually pressured into the role by Bush, who promised to transfer control of the FBI to Tolson, Hoover's preferred successor, should Hoover move over to the White House. As National Security Advisor, Hoover gained access to information from the NIC and State Department, leading him to conclude that the French threat was greater than the Bush administration had anticipated, which would form the backbone of his later career. Hoover was instrumental in recommending both the incursion in the Boer Republic as well as the initial American intervention in England in 1952. By the end of Bush's term, the National Party had become weary of Hoover's hawkishness and made it clear that he would not return in any capacity in a potential Dewey administration post-1953; Hoover stepped down and retired in 1953 when Bush's second term ended.

Many historians suspect that the move of Hoover to national security advisor was a strategic move by the Bush administration to get him out of the FBI, finding Tolson much more malleable and less likely to compile damning information on them. Bush, aware that directly firing Hoover was an impossibility, instead moved him to a new, less influential role in an effective demotion. Bush biographer George Horton indicates that Hoover's viewpoints corroborated with many officials both in the State and Defense departments, and that the administration prefereed Hoover in a less influential capacity.

1960 Presidential Campaign

Presidency of John Hoover: 1961-1965

Second Retirement and Secretary of Defense


Personal Life

Hoover married actress Dorothy Lamour in 1941 after several years of courtship, and their marriage remained surprisingly stable for the next thirty years despite her often being in California and Hoover remaining in Washington. However, there were often rumors that Hoover's deputy and successor as FBI director, Clyde Tolson, was also his homosexual lover - rumors about Hoover's alleged bisexualism remained even after his death, although many of them subsided during his Presidency out of respect for his office.

When Hoover chose to run for President, Lamour elected to suspend her acting career to help her husband's campaign. The actress was a huge hit on the campaign trail and amongst many National party power brokers, likely helping Hoover's insurgent campaign. As First Lady, Lamour was popular and made many speaking tours in the country, and her colorful comments often clashed with stated administration positions, eventually making her a liability to the administration. Many historians and biographers believe that Lamour was extremely influential in convincing Hoover not to seek a second term.

Hoover had no children with Lamour, leading many to believe he may have been incapable of having children. However, Hoover most often maintained that it was out of preference and that he did not desire having children. In 1980, eight years after his death, a retired Washington D.C. doctor confirmed that he had performed a vasectomy on Hoover in 1952.