J. Edgar Hoover

Politician

1895 – 1972

49

Who was J. Edgar Hoover?

John Edgar Hoover was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States. Appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation—predecessor to the FBI—in 1924, he was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director until his death in 1972 at age 77. Hoover is credited with building the FBI into a larger crime-fighting agency, and with instituting a number of modernizations to police technology, such as a centralized fingerprint file and forensic laboratories.

Late in life and after his death Hoover became a controversial figure, as evidence of his secretive actions became known. His critics have accused him of exceeding the jurisdiction of the FBI. He used the FBI to harass political dissenters and activists, to amass secret files on political leaders, and to collect evidence using illegal methods. Hoover consequently amassed a great deal of power and was in a position to intimidate and threaten sitting Presidents. According to President Harry S Truman, Hoover transformed the FBI into his private secret police force; Truman stated that "we want no Gestapo or secret police. FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail. J. Edgar Hoover would give his right eye to take over, and all congressmen and senators are afraid of him".

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Born
Jan 1, 1895
Washington, D.C.
Also known as
  • John Edgar Hoover
  • Mr. Hoover
  • The Director
Parents
Siblings
Religion
  • Presbyterianism
Ethnicity
  • German American
Nationality
  • United States of America
Profession
Education
  • Law degree, George Washington University
    Law
    ( - 1916)
  • Master of Laws, George Washington University
    Law
    (1916 - 1917)
Employment
  • United States Department of Justice
    (1917 - 1972/05/02)
Lived in
  • Washington, D.C.
Died
May 2, 1972
Washington, D.C.
Resting place
Congressional Cemetery

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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