William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft, Bain bw photo portrait, 1908.jpg

In office
March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913
Vice President James S. Sherman (1909–1912)
None (1912–1913)
Preceded by Theodore Roosevelt
Succeeded by Woodrow Wilson

In office
July 11, 1921 – February 3, 1930
Nominated by Warren G. Harding
Preceded by Edward Douglass White
Succeeded by Charles Evans Hughes

In office
September 29, 1906 – October 13, 1906
Preceded by Tomás Estrada Palma
President of Cuba
Succeeded by Charles Edward Magoon

In office
February 1, 1904 – June 30, 1908
President Theodore Roosevelt
Preceded by Elihu Root
Succeeded by Luke Edward Wright

In office
July 4, 1901 – December 23, 1903
Preceded by Arthur MacArthur, Jr.
(U.S. Military Governor)
Succeeded by Luke Edward Wright

In office
February 1890 – March 1892
President Benjamin Harrison
Preceded by Orlow W. Chapman
Succeeded by Charles H. Aldrich

Born September 15, 1857
Cincinnati, Ohio
Died March 8, 1930 (aged 72)
Washington, D.C.
Resting place Arlington National Cemetery
Section 30, Lot S-14, Grid Y/Z-39.5
Political party Republican
Spouse Helen Herron Taft
Children Robert Taft
Helen Taft Manning
Charles Phelps Taft II
Alma mater Yale University
University of Cincinnati
Occupation Lawyer, Jurist
Religion Unitarian
Signature William Howard Taft Signature

William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857 – March 8, 1930) was the 27th President of the United States and later the 10th Chief Justice of the United States.

Born in 1857 in Cincinnati, Ohio, into the powerful Taft family, Taft graduated from Yale College Phi Beta Kappa in 1878,[1] and from Cincinnati Law School in 1880. Then he worked in a number of local legal positions until being appointed an Ohio Superior Court judge in 1887. In 1890 Taft was appointed Solicitor General of the United States and in 1891 a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In 1900, President William McKinley appointed Taft Governor-General of the Philippines. In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt, then a political ally of Taft, appointed Taft Secretary of War to groom Taft as his successor to the presidency.

Riding a wave of popular support of President (and fellow Republican) Theodore Roosevelt, Taft won an easy victory in his 1908 bid for the presidency.

In his first and only term, President Taft's domestic agenda emphasized trust-busting, civil service reform, strengthening the Interstate Commerce Commission, improving the performance of the postal service, and passage of the Sixteenth Amendment. Abroad, Taft sought to further the economic development of undeveloped nations in Latin America and Asia through the method he termed "Dollar Diplomacy." However, Taft often alienated his own key constituencies, and was overwhelmingly defeated in his bid for a second term in the presidential election of 1912.

After leaving office, Taft spent his time in academia, arbitration, and the search for world peace through his self-founded League to Enforce Peace. In 1921, after the First World War, President Warren G. Harding appointed Taft Chief Justice of the United States. Taft served in this capacity until his death in 1930.

Weighing over 300 pounds on average, Taft was physically the heaviest American president ever elected.[2] Taft was 6' 0" tall[3], making his BMI at least about 40.7. Taft is also, to date, the last U.S. president to have facial hair while in office.[2]

Early lifeEdit

Taft was born on September 15, 1857, near Cincinnati, Ohio.[4] His mother, Louisa Torrey, was a graduate of Mount Holyoke College. His father, Alphonso Taft, came to Cincinnati in 1839 to open a law practice.[5] Alphonso Taft was a prominent Republican and served as Secretary of War under President Ulysses S. Grant.

Taft was brought up in the Unitarian church and remained a faithful Unitarian his entire life (later in life he once remarked, "I do not believe in the divinity of Christ, and there are many other of the postulates of the orthodox creed to which I can not subscribe."[6]). At age 18, he met his future wife, Helen Herron, in Cincinnati; she and Taft courted while he was away at college.

The William Howard Taft National Historic Site is the Taft boyhood home. The house in which he was born has been restored to its original appearance. It includes four period rooms reflecting family life during Taft's boyhood, and second-floor exhibits highlighting Taft's life.[7]


Taft attended Woodward High School[8] and, like most of his family, attended Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut.[9] At Yale, he was a member of the Linonian Society, a literary and debating society; Skull and Bones, the secret society co-founded by his father in 1832; the Beta chapter of the Psi Upsilon fraternity, and was made an honorary member of the Acacia Fraternity.[10] Later in life he was also inducted into the Omicron-Omicron chapter of the secret society of Theta Nu Epsilon, after delivering the commencement address to the class of 1910 at Ohio Northern University. He was given the nickname "Big Lub" because of his size, but his college friends knew him by the nickname "Old Bill".[11] Taft received jibes about his weight throughout his life: as Governor-General of the Philippines, Taft once sent a telegram to Washington, D.C. that read, "Went on a horse ride today; feeling good;" Secretary of War Elihu Root replied, "How's the horse?"[12] In 1878, Taft graduated from Yale, ranking second in his class out of 121.[11] After college, he attended Cincinnati Law School, graduating with a Bachelor of Laws in 1880. While in law school, he worked on the area newspaper The Cincinnati Commercial.[11]


Legal careerEdit

After admission to the Ohio bar, Taft was appointed Assistant Prosecutor of Hamilton County, Ohio[13], based in Cincinnati. In 1882, he was appointed local Collector of Internal Revenue.[14] Taft married his longtime sweetheart, Helen Herron, in Cincinnati in 1886.[13] In 1887, he was appointed a judge of the Ohio Superior Court.[13] In 1890, President Benjamin Harrison appointed him Solicitor General of the United States.[13] Taft then began serving on the newly created United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 1891.[13] Taft was confirmed by the Senate on March 17, 1892, and received his commission that same day.[15] In about 1893, Taft decided in favor of one or more patents for processing aluminium belonging to the Pittsburg Reduction Company, today known as Alcoa, who settled with the other party in 1903 and became for a short while the only aluminum producer in the U.S.[16] Another of Taft's opinions was Addyston Pipe and Steel Company v. United States (1898). Along with his judgeship, between 1896 and 1900 Taft also served as the first dean and a professor of constitutional law at the University of Cincinnati.[17]

Political careerEdit


Taft with Secretary of War Elihu Root in 1904.

In 1900, President William McKinley appointed Taft chairman of a commission to organize a civilian government in the Philippines which had been ceded to the United States by Spain following the Spanish–American War and the 1898 Treaty of Paris.[13] Although Taft had been opposed to the annexation of the islands, and had told McKinley his real ambition was to become a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, he reluctantly accepted the appointment.[18]

From 1901 to 1903, Taft served as the first civilian Governor-General of the Philippines, a position in which he was very popular with both Americans and Filipinos.[18] In 1902, Taft visited Rome to negotiate with Pope Leo XIII for the purchase of Philippine lands owned by the Roman Catholic Church. Taft then persuaded Congress to appropriate over $7 million to purchase these lands, which he sold to Filipinos on easy terms.[18] In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt offered Taft the seat on the Supreme Court to which he had for so long aspired, but he reluctantly declined since he viewed the Filipinos as not yet being capable of governing themselves and because of his popularity among them.[18]

Secretary of War (1904–1908)Edit

Taft Addressing First Philippine Assembly 1907

William Howard Taft addressing the audience at the Philippine Assembly in the Manila Grand Opera House.

In 1904, Roosevelt appointed Taft as Secretary of War.[13] Roosevelt made the basic policy decisions regarding military affairs, using Taft as a well-traveled spokesman who campaigned for Roosevelt's reelection in 1904.

Taft met with the Emperor of Japan who alerted him of the probability of war with Russia. In 1905, Taft met with Japanese Prime Minister Katsura Tarō. At that meeting, the two signed a secret diplomatic memorandum now called the Taft-Katsura Agreement.

In 1906, President Roosevelt sent troops to restore order in Cuba during the revolt led by General Enrique Loynaz del Castillo, and Taft temporarily became the Civil Governor of Cuba, personally negotiating with Castillo for a peaceful end to the revolt. In 1907, Taft helped supervise the beginning of construction on the Panama Canal.

Taft had repeatedly told Roosevelt he wanted to be Chief Justice, not President (and not an associate justice), but there was no vacancy and Roosevelt had other plans. He gave Taft more responsibilities along with the Philippines and the Panama Canal. For a while, Taft was Acting Secretary of State. When Roosevelt was away, Taft was, in effect, the Acting President. While Taft was Secretary of War, he authorized the confinement of a military thief to Fort Leavenworth's United States Disciplinary Barracks;[citation needed] this thief was serial killer Carl Panzram, who burglarized Taft's New Haven, Connecticut home in 1920 and stole a pistol with which he committed several murders.

Presidential election of 1908Edit

1908 Electoral Map

Electoral votes by state, 1908.

</div> After serving for nearly two full terms, the popular Theodore Roosevelt refused to run in the election of 1908. Roosevelt certified Taft as a genuine "progressive" in 1908, and pushed through the nomination of his Secretary of War for the presidency. At age 51, and after a legal and political career of more than 20 years, Taft ran in an election for the first time. His opponent was William Jennings Bryan, who had run for president twice before, in 1896 and in 1900 against William McKinley. During the campaign, Taft undercut Bryan's liberal support by accepting some of his reformist ideas, and Roosevelt's progressive policies blurred the distinctions between the parties. Bryan, on the other hand, ran a vigorous campaign against the nation's business elite. In the end, Taft won by a comfortable margin, giving Bryan his worst loss in three presidential campaigns.

Presidency, 1909–1913Edit

Taft fought for the prosecution of trusts (eventually issuing 80 lawsuits),[19] further strengthened the Interstate Commerce Commission, established a postal savings bank and a parcel post system, and expanded the civil service. He supported the 16th Amendment, which allowed for a federal income tax, and the 17th Amendment, mandating the direct election of senators by the people, replacing the previous system whereby they were selected by state legislatures.

Taft did not enjoy the easy relationship with the press that Roosevelt had, choosing not to offer himself for interviews or photo opportunities as often as the previous president had done.[20] When a reporter informed him he was no Teddy Roosevelt, Taft replied that his goal was to "try to accomplish just as much without any noise".[20]

Domestic policiesEdit

TaftOfficial Portrait

Official White House portrait of William Howard Taft in the Blue Room, 1911, oil on canvas by Anders Zorn (1860–1920), White House Collection.

Taft considered himself a "progressive" because of his deep belief in "The Law" as the scientific device that should be used by judges to solve society's problems. Taft proved a less adroit politician than Roosevelt and seemed to lack the energy and personal magnetism of his mentor, not to mention the publicity devices, the dedicated supporters, and the broad base of public support that made Roosevelt so formidable. When Roosevelt realized that lowering the tariff would risk severe tensions inside the Republican Party, pitting producers (manufacturers and farmers) against department stores and consumers, he stopped talking about the issue. Taft ignored the risks and tackled the tariff boldly, on the one hand encouraging reformers to fight for lower rates, then on the other hand cutting deals with conservative leaders that kept overall rates high. The resulting Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act of 1909 was too high for most reformers, but instead of blaming this on Senator Nelson W. Aldrich and big business, Taft took credit, calling it the best bill to come from the Republican Party. Again, he had managed to alienate all sides.

Unlike Roosevelt, Taft never attacked business or businessmen in his rhetoric. However, he was attentive to the law, so he launched 80 antitrust suits, including one against the country's largest corporation, U.S. Steel, for an acquisition that Roosevelt personally had approved. As a result, Taft lost the support of antitrust reformers (who disliked his conservative rhetoric), of big business (which disliked his actions), and of Roosevelt, who felt humiliated by his protégé.

Progressives within the Republican party began to agitate against Taft. Senator Robert LaFollette of Wisconsin created the National Progressive Republican League to replace Taft at the national level; his campaign crashed after a disastrous speech. Most of LaFollette's supporters went over to Roosevelt, leaving LaFollette embittered and alone. More trouble came when Taft fired Gifford Pinchot, a leading conservationist and close ally of Roosevelt. Pinchot alleged that Taft's Secretary of Interior Richard Achilles Ballinger was in league with big timber interests. Conservationists sided with Pinchot, and Taft alienated yet another vocal constituency with the Pinchot-Ballinger Affair..

Foreign policyEdit

Taft actively pursued what he termed "Dollar Diplomacy" to further the economic development of less-developed nations of Latin America and Asia through American investment in their infrastructures.

Throughout the early part of his presidency, he had difficulties with Nicaragua. When the United States shifted its interests to Panama to build a canal, Nicaraguan President José Santos Zelaya negotiated with Germany and Japan in an unsuccessful effort to have a canal constructed in his country. The Zelaya administration had growing friction with the United States government, which started giving aid to his Conservative opponents in Nicaragua. In 1907, U.S. warships seized several of Nicaragua's seaports. In early December, United States Marines landed on Nicaragua's Caribbean Sea coast. On December 17, 1909, Zelaya resigned and left for exile in Mexico. The U.S.-sponsored conservative regime of Adolfo Díaz was installed in his place. Military invasions with marine landings took place in 1910 and 1912, and the Marines stayed in Nicaragua through 1925.

One of Taft's main goals while President was to further the idea of world peace. Given his judicial sensibilities, he believed that international arbitration was the best means to effect the end of war on Earth. As a result, he championed several reciprocity and arbitration treaties. In 1910, he persuaded congressional Democrats to support a reciprocity, or free trade, treaty with Canada, but the Liberal Canadian government of Sir Wilfrid Laurier that negotiated the treaty was turned out of office in 1911 and the treaty collapsed (a US-Canada reciprocity treaty would not come into effect until 1988). In 1910 and 1911, however, Taft secured the ratification of arbitration treaties that he had successfully negotiated with Britain and France, and thereafter was known as one of the foremost advocates of world peace and arbitration.


President William Howard Taft.

16th AmendmentEdit

To solve an impasse during the 1909 tariff debate, Taft proposed income taxes for corporations and a constitutional amendment to remove the apportionment requirement for taxes on incomes from property (taxes on dividends, interest, and rents), on June 16, 1909.[21] His proposed tax on corporate net income was 1% on net profits over $5,000. It was designated an excise on the privilege of doing business as a corporation whose stockholders enjoyed the privilege of limited liability, and not a tax on incomes as such. In 1911, the Supreme Court, in Flint v. Stone Tracy Co., upheld the tax. Receipts grew from $21 million in the fiscal year 1910 to $34.8 million in 1912.

In July 1909, a proposed amendment to remove the apportionment requirement was passed unanimously in the Senate and by a vote of 318 to 14 in the House. It was quickly ratified by the states, and on February 3, 1913, it became a part of the Constitution as the Sixteenth Amendment, just as Taft was leaving office.

Civil RightsEdit

Taft was reluctant to use federal authority to enforce the 15th amendment to the U.S. Constitution that allowed African Americans the right to vote. As a result, Jim Crow laws that prevented African Americans from voting were enforced by state governments. Lynching by Whites was severely inflicted on African Americans throughout the country at the time, however, Taft did nothing to prohibit the practice. Taft publically endorsed that African Americans were inferior to Whites.[22]

Re-election campaignEdit

For Auld Lang Syne - Leonard Raven-Hill

Taft and Roosevelt were bitter enemies in the 1912 election

On his return from Europe, Roosevelt broke with Taft in one of the most dramatic political feuds of the 20th century. To the surprise of observers who thought Roosevelt had unstoppable momentum, Taft outmaneuvered Roosevelt and Senator Robert M. La Follette, Sr., seized control of the GOP, and forced both out of the party. The main issue in 1911–12 was independence of the judiciary, which Roosevelt denounced. Most lawyers in the GOP supported Taft, including many of Roosevelt's key supporters like Elihu Root, Henry L. Stimson, and Roosevelt's own son-in-law, Nicholas Longworth. In lining up delegates for the 1912 nomination, Taft outmaneuvered Roosevelt, who had started much too late, and kept control of the Republican party.

1912 was the first year that some delegates were determined through primary elections, which were seen as a way to take power away from party bosses and put it into the hands of the people. Out of the 14 Republican primaries held, Roosevelt won nine, while Taft won only three. (Robert LaFollette won the other 2.) Nevertheless, Taft had the delegates, and won the nomination at the Republican nominating convention in Chicago.

1912 Electoral Map

Electoral votes by state, 1912.

Because he had not secured the Republican nomination, Roosevelt was forced to create the Progressive Party (or "Bull Moose") ticket, splitting the Republican vote in the 1912 election. Woodrow Wilson, the Democrat, was elected, although many historians argue that Wilson would have won anyway, because the Republican factions would not support each other. Taft won the mere eight electoral votes of Utah and Vermont, making his the single worst defeat in American history for an incumbent President seeking reelection; he finished not even second, but third, behind both Wilson and Roosevelt.

In spite of his failure to be re-elected, however, Taft achieved what he felt were his main goals as President: keeping permanent control of the party and keeping the courts sacrosanct until they were next threatened. It also should be noted that while the strife during the election of 1912 devastated the once very close friendship between Taft and Theodore Roosevelt, the two eventually did reconcile not long before Roosevelt's death in 1919.[23]

Administration and cabinetEdit

PresidentWilliam Howard Taft1909–1913
Vice PresidentJames S. Sherman1909–1912
Secretary of StatePhilander C. Knox1909–1913
Secretary of WarJacob M. Dickinson1909–1911
Henry L. Stimson1911–1913
Attorney GeneralGeorge W. Wickersham1909–1913
Secretary of the NavyGeorge von L. Meyer1909–1913
Secretary of the InteriorRichard A. Ballinger1909–1911
Walter L. Fisher1911–1913

Roosevelt handing responsibility to Taft in 1909.

Judicial appointmentsEdit

Supreme CourtEdit

During his presidency, Taft appointed the following Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States:

Lurton had served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit with Taft, and Taft's attorney general said that at 66 he was too old to become a Supreme Court justice, but Taft had always admired Lurton. According to the Complete Book of U.S. Presidents (2001 edition), Taft later said that "the chief pleasure of my administration" was the appointment of Lurton.
Even though Hughes resigned in 1916 to run in the presidential election that year, he became Taft's successor as Chief Justice.
Already on the Court as an associate justice since 1894, White was the first Chief Justice to be elevated from an associate justiceship since President George Washington appointed John Rutledge to Chief Justice in 1795. Taft succeeded White as Chief Justice in 1921.

Taft's six appointments to the Court rank (in number) third only to those of George Washington (who appointed the entire Court - but a smaller panel - as the first President), and of Franklin D. Roosevelt (who was president for just over twelve years); as well, Taft's appointment of five new justices tied the number appointed by both Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln. Four of Taft's appointees were relatively young, aged 48, 51, 53, and 54.

The appointments of Edward Douglass White and Charles Evans Hughes also are notable because Taft essentially appointed both his predecessor and successor Chief Justices, respectively. Hughes initially was appointed an Associate Justice, but later resigned to run for the Republican Party's presidential candidate in the 1916 election, which he would lose. President Herbert Hoover renominated Hughes to the Supreme Court as Chief Justice following Taft's retirement.

Other courtsEdit

Main article: William Howard Taft judicial appointments

Besides his Supreme Court appointments, Taft appointed thirteen judges to the United States Courts of Appeals, and 38 judges to the United States district courts. Taft also appointed judges to various specialty courts, including the first five appointees each to the to the United States Commerce Court and the United States Court of Customs Appeals. The Commerce Court was abolished in 1913; Taft was thus the only President to appoint judges to that body.

States admitted to the UnionEdit

  • New Mexico: January 6, 1912
  • Arizona: February 14, 1912. Taft had opposed the admission of Arizona owing to what he viewed as defects in its judicial system.


NG1917 Charles Phelps Taft II

Taft says goodbye to his son, Charles Phelps Taft II as he leaves for World War I.

Upon leaving the White House in 1913, Taft was appointed the Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and Legal History at Yale Law School.[9] Upon his appointment, the Yale Chapter of the Acacia Fraternity made him an honorary member. At the same time, Taft was elected president of the American Bar Association. He spent much of his time writing newspaper articles and books, most notably his series on American legal philosophy. He was a vigorous opponent of prohibition in the United States, predicting the undesirable situation that the Eighteenth Amendment and prohibition would create.[24] He also continued to advocate world peace through international arbitration, urging nations to enter into arbitration treaties with each other and promoting the idea of a League of Nations even before the First World War began.

When World War I did break out in Europe in 1914, however, Taft founded the League to Enforce Peace. He was a co-chairman of the powerful National War Labor Board between 1917 and 1918. Although he continually advocated peace, he strongly favored conscription once the United States entered the War, pleading publicly that the United States not fight a "finicky" war. He feared the war would be long, but was for fighting it out to a finish, given what he viewed as "Germany's brutality."

Chief Justice, 1921-1930Edit


On June 30, 1921, following the death of Chief Justice Edward Douglass White, President Warren G. Harding nominated Taft to take his place, thereby fulfilling Taft's lifelong ambition to become Chief Justice of the United States. There was little opposition to the nomination, and the Senate approved him 60-4 in a secret session on the day of his nomination, but the roll call of the vote has never been made public.[25] Taft received his commission immediately and readily took up the position, serving until 1930. As such, he became the only President to serve as Chief Justice, and thus is also the only former President to swear in subsequent Presidents, giving the oath of office to both Calvin Coolidge (in 1925) and Herbert Hoover (in 1929).

Taft remains the only person to have led both the Executive and Judicial branches of the United States government. He considered his time as Chief Justice to be the highest point of his career; allegedly, he once remarked "I do not remember that I was ever President".[26]


Chief Justice Taft with President Warren G. Harding and former Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln, around 1922


In 1922, Taft traveled to Great Britain to study the procedural structure of the English courts and to learn how they dropped such a large number of cases quickly. During the trip, King George V and Queen Mary received Taft and his wife as state visitors.

With what he had learned in England, Taft advocated passage of the Judiciary Act of 1925 (often called the "Judges Bill"), which shifts the Supreme Court's appellate jurisdiction to be exercisable principally on review upon litigants' petitioning to be granted an appeal. The Court then has the power to accept or deny an appeal. Thereby, the Supreme Court is empowered to give preference to cases of national importance, and it allows the Court to work more efficiently (see also writ of certiorari).

Besides giving the Supreme Court more control over its docket, supporting new legislation, and organizing the Judicial Conference, Taft gave the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice general supervisory power over the scattered and disorganized federal courts.

The legislation also brought the courts of the District of Columbia and of the Territories into the Federal system, uniting the courts for the first time as an independent third branch of government (contrary to the British model) under the administrative supervision of the Chief Justice of the United States. Taft was also the first Justice to employ two full-time law clerks to assist him.

In 1929, Taft successfully argued for the construction of the United States Supreme Court building, reasoning that the Supreme Court needed to distance itself from Congress as a separate branch of the government. Until then, the Court had heard cases in Old Senate Chamber of the Capitol. The Justices had no private chambers, and their conferences were held in a room in the basement. Unfortunately, Chief Justice Taft did not live to see the building's completion in 1935.


See also: List of United States Supreme Court cases by the Taft Court

While Chief Justice, Taft wrote the opinion for the Court in 256 cases out of the Court's ever-growing caseload. His philosophy of constitutional interpretation was essentially historical contextualism. Some of his more notable opinions include:

1925 U.S. Supreme Court Justices

The U.S. Supreme Court in 1925. Taft is seated in the bottom row, middle.

Medical conditionEdit

Evidence from eyewitnesses, and from Taft himself, strongly suggests that during his presidency he had severe obstructive sleep apnea as a result of his obesity. Within a year of leaving the presidency, Taft lost approximately 80 pounds (32 kg). His somnolence problem resolved and, less obviously, his systolic blood pressure dropped 40–50 mmHg (from 210 mmHg). Undoubtedly, this weight loss extended his life.[28] Soon after his weight loss he had a revival of interest in the outdoors; this led him to explore Alaska.[29] Beginning in 1920, Taft used a cane; this was a gift from Professor of Geology W.S. Foster, and was made of 250,000-year-old wood.[30]

Death and legacyEdit

Headstone of William H. Taft

Cenotaph to Taft at Arlington National Cemetery

Taft retired as Chief Justice on February 3, 1930, because of ill health. He was succeeded by Charles Evans Hughes whom he had appointed to the Court while president.

Five weeks following his retirement, Taft died, on March 8, 1930. Three days later, on March 11, he became the first president to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[31] His grave marker was sculpted by James Earle Fraser out of Stony Creek granite.[31] Taft is one of two presidents buried at Arlington National Cemetery, the other being John F. Kennedy, and he is one of four Chief Justices buried at Arlington, the others being Earl Warren, Warren E. Burger, and William Rehnquist. Since he had also served as President, Taft was the only Chief Justice to have had a state funeral.

In 1938, a third generation of the Taft family entered the national political stage with the election of the former President's oldest son Robert A. Taft I to the United States Senate representing Ohio; he continued in office as a senator until his death in 1953. President Taft's other son, Charles Phelps Taft II, served as the mayor of Cincinnati from 1955 to 1957.

Two more generations of the Taft family later entered politics. The President's grandson, Robert Taft, Jr., served a term as a Senator from Ohio from 1971 to 1977, and the President's great-grandson, Robert A. Taft II, served as the Governor of Ohio from 1999 to 2007. William Howard Taft III was the U.S. ambassador to Ireland from 1953 to 1957.

William Howard Taft IV, currently in private law practice, was the general counsel in the former United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in the 1970s, was the Deputy Secretary of Defense under Caspar Weinberger and Frank Carlucci in the 1980s, and acted as the United States Secretary of Defense during its vacancy from January to March 1989. In addition, he was a high-level official in the United States Department of State from 2000 to 2006.

President Taft's enduring legacy includes many things named after him. Some of these are the courthouse of the Ohio Court of Appeals for the First District in Cincinnati, Ohio; streets in Cincinnati, Ohio, Arlington, Virginia and Manila, Philippines; a law school in Santa Ana, California,[32]; and high schools in San Antonio, Texas, Woodland Hills, Chicago, and The Bronx. Taft, Eastern Samar, a town in the Philippines was named after him. After a fire burned much of the town of Moron, California, in the 1920s, it was renamed Taft, California, in his honor.


William Taft video montage

Collection of video clips of the president

See alsoEdit


  1. U.S. Presidents Who Are Phi Beta Kappa Members, Phi Beta Kappa website, accessed Oct 4, 2009
  2. 2.0 2.1 "U.S. Presidential Inaugurations Through the Years". Telegraph Media Group. 2009. Retrieved on 2009-03-20. 
  4. Blassingame, Wyatt (2001). The Look-It-Up Book of Presidents. New York,: Random House. pp. 92. ISBN 0-679-80358-0. 
  5. "Alphonso Taft,". 
  6. "Papers of William Howard Taft, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C." (PDF). 
  7. William Howard Taft Home, National Park Service.
  8. "William H. Taft". Ohio History Central. 2005-07-01. Retrieved on 2009-03-20. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "William Howard Taft". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Retrieved on 2009-03-21. 
  10. Acacia Fraternity. "Acacia Fraternity: Notable Acacians". Retrieved on 2008-10-30. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 "ArlingtonCemetery.Net citing New York Times. "Obituary: Taft Gained Peaks in Unusual Career." March 9, 1930.". 
  12. O'Brien, Cormac; Monica Suteski (2004). Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents. Philadelphia, PA: Quirk Productions. pp. 155. ISBN 1-931686-57-2.'s+the+horse. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 "William Howard Taft". National Park Service. 2004-01-22. Retrieved on 2009-03-20. 
  14. Herz, Walter (1999). "William Howard Taft". Unitarian Universalist Historical Society. Retrieved on 2009-03-22. 
  15. "William Howard Taft (1857-1930)". U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Retrieved on 2009-03-22. 
  16. "Against the Cowles Company, Decision in the Aluminium Patent Infringement Case (article preview)". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). January 15, 1893. Retrieved on 2007-10-28.  and Rosenbaum, David Ira (1998). Market Dominance: How Firms Gain, Hold, or Lose It and the Impact on Economic Performance. Praeger Publishers via Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 56. ISBN 0-2759-5604-0. Retrieved on 2007-11-03. 
  17. Cincinnati Law School: 2006 William Howard Taft Lecture on Constitutional LawScript error
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 "William Howard Taft". University of Virginia. 2008. Retrieved on 2009-03-23. 
  19. Biography of William Howard Taft at The White House.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Rouse, Robert (March 15, 2006). "Happy Anniversary to the first scheduled presidential press conference - 93 years young!". American Chronicle. 
  21. "President Taft speech of June 16, 1909". 
  22. [1]|Tsahai Tafari
  23. Chace, James. 1912: Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft and Debs — The Election that Changed the Country (2004)
  24. Burton, Baker, Taft, Time Magazine (October 15, 1928).
  25. Report on Supreme Court nominees 1789-2005, Congressional Research Service, page 41.
  26. "Painter, Judge Mark. From Revolution to Reconstruction William Howard Taft biography.". 
  27. Peter Hack, "The Roads Less Traveled: Post Conviction Relief Alternatives and the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996", 30 American Journal of Criminal Law, p. 171 (Georgetown: Spring 2003)
  28. "William Howard Taft and Sleep Apnea". 
  29. "Gislason Erick, A Brief History of Alaska Statehood (1867-1959).". 
  30. The Edmonton Journal, July 10, 1920.
  31. 31.0 31.1 "Biography of William Howard Taft, President of the United States and Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court". Historical Information. THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY. Retrieved on 2007-01-04.  William Howard Taft memorial at Find a Grave.
  32. Taft University system, William Howard Taft University and Taft Law School (Witkin School of Law).


Primary sources
  • Butt, Archie. Taft and Roosevelt: The Intimate Letters of Archie Butt (1930)
  • Taft, William Howard
    • Liberty Under Law Yale University Press, 1922.
    • Popular Government Yale University Press, 1913.
    • Present Day Problems
    • The Anti-Trust Act and the Supreme Court Harper and Row, 1914.
    • The Collected Works of William Howard Taft. Edited by David H. Burton. Ohio University Press, 2001–. 6 of 8 volumes have appeared.
    • The President and His Powers. Columbia University Press, 1924.
  • Taft, Mrs. William Howard, Recollections of Full Years (1914)

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Secondary sources
  • Abraham, Henry J. (1992). Justices and Presidents: A Political History of Appointments to the Supreme Court. 3d. ed.. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-506557-3. 
  • Anderson, Donald F. William Howard Taft: A Conservative's Conception of the Presidency (1973)
  • Anderson, Judith Icke. William Howard Taft: An Intimate History (1981).
  • Anthony, Carl Sferrazza. Nellie Taft : The Unconventional First Lady of the Ragtime Era (2005)
  • Bromley, Michael L. William Howard Taft and the First Motoring Presidency (2003)
  • Burton, David H. Taft, Holmes, and the 1920s Court: An Appraisal (1998)
  • Burton, David H., Taft, Roosevelt, and the Limits of Friendship (2005)
  • Burton, David H. William Howard Taft, Confident Peacemaker (2005)
  • Chace, James. 1912: Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft and Debs — The Election that Changed the Country (2004)
  • Coletta, Paolo Enrico. The Presidency of William Howard Taft (1973), standard survey
  • Conner Valerie. The National War Labor Board' '(1983)
  • Cushman, Clare (2001). The Supreme Court Justices: Illustrated Biographies,1789-1995 (2nd ed.). (Supreme Court Historical Society, Congressional Quarterly Books). ISBN 1568021267; ISBN 9781568021263.. 
  • Duffy, Herbert S. William Howard Taft (1930).
  • Frank, John P.; Leon Friedman and Fred L. Israel, editors (1995). The Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major Opinions. Chelsea House Publishers. ISBN 0791013774; ISBN 978-0791013779. 
  • Hall, Kermit L., ed. (1992). The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195058356; ISBN 9780195058352.. 
  • Hechler, Kenneth S. Insurgency: Personalities and Politics of the Taft Era 1940.
  • Michael J. Korzi, Our chief magistrate and his powers: a reconsideration of William Howard Taft's "Whig" theory of presidential leadership (2003)
  • Manners, William. TR and Will: A Friendship that Split the Republican Party 1969.
  • Martin, Fenton S.; Goehlert, Robert U. (1990). The U.S. Supreme Court: A Bibliography. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Books. ISBN 0871875543. 
  • Minger Ralph E. William Howard Taft and United States Diplomacy: The Apprenticeship Years. 1900–1908 (1975)
  • Mowry George E. The Era of Theodore Roosevelt (1958)
  • Pringle, Henry F. The Life and Times of William Howard Taft: A Biography 2 vol (1939); Pulitzer prize; the standard biography
  • Renstrom, Peter G. The Taft Court: Justices, Rulings and Legacy ABC-CLIO, 2003
  • Scholes, Walter V. and Marie V. Scholes. The Foreign Policies of the Taft Administration 1970.
  • Solvick, Stanley D. (01 Dec 1963). "William Howard Taft and the Payne-Aldrich Tariff". Mississippi Valley Historical Review 50 (3): 424–442. doi:10.2307/1902605. ISSN 0161391X. 
  • Sternberg, Jonathan (2008). "Deciding Not to Decide: The Judiciary Act of 1925 and the Discretionary Court". Journal of Supreme Court History 33 (1): 1–16. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5818.2008.00176.x. 
  • Urofsky, Melvin I. (1994). The Supreme Court Justices: A Biographical Dictionary. New York: Garland Publishing. pp. 590. ISBN 0815311761; ISBN 978-0815311768.. 
  • Wilensky, Norman N. Conservatives in the Progressive Era: The Taft Republicans of 1912 (1965).

Wills, Chuck. 

External linksEdit

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