William Howard Taft (1909-1913)

William Howard TaftIn a many-faceted career, Taft (September 15, 1857 - March 8, 1930) was an American politician, the twenty-seventh President of the United States, the tenth Chief Justice of the United States, a leader of the progressive conservative wing of the Republican Party in the early 20th century, a pioneer in international arbitration and staunch advocate of world peace verging on pacifism, and scion of a leading political family, the Tafts, in Ohio. He also served as the Solicitor General of the United States, a federal judge, Governor-General of the Philippines, and Secretary of War before being nominated for President in the 1908 Republican National Convention with the backing of his predecessor and close friend Theodore Roosevelt.

His presidency was characterized by trust-busting, strengthening the Interstate Commerce Commission, expanding the civil service, establishing a better postal system, and promoting world peace. Roosevelt broke with Taft in 1911, charging Taft was too reactionary. Taft and the conservatives were alarmed at Roosevelt's attacks on the judiciary, and took control of the party machinery. Taft defeated Roosevelt for the Republican nomination in a bruising battle in 1912 that forced Roosevelt out of the GOP and left Taft's people in charge for decades. William Howard Taft remains the only U.S. President to finish third in a bid for reelection to a second consecutive term. During World War I he helped set national labor policy that reduced strikes and generated union support for the national cause. In 1921, he became Chief Justice. As President and Chief Justice he helped make the federal courts, especially the Supreme Court, much more powerful in shaping national policy.¹

Quotes

"Anti-Semitism is a noxious weed that should be cut out. It has no place in America."

"Failure to accord credit to anyone for what he may have done is a great weakness in any man."

"I do not believe in the divinity of Christ, and there are many other of the postulates of the orthodox creed to which I cannot subscribe."

"No tendency is quite so strong in human nature as the desire to lay down rules of conduct for other people."

"I have come to the conclusion that the major part of the work of a President is to increase the gate receipts of expositions and fairs and bring tourists to town."

Noteworthy Sites

¹ William Howard Taft - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Books on William Howard Taft
Biography of William Howard Taft
Essays on William Howard Taft and His Administration
POTUS -- William Howard Taft

 


 
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