William Howard Taft

president of the United States from 1909 to 1913

William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857 – March 8, 1930) was the 27th president of the United States from 1909 to 1913. He was the only president who also served as a Supreme Court chief justice. He was 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) tall and weighed over 350 pounds (160 kg) at the end of his presidency. A well-known myth about Taft is that he got stuck in a bathtub.

William Howard Taft
Portrait c. 1909
27th President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913
Vice PresidentJames S. Sherman
Preceded byTheodore Roosevelt
Succeeded byWoodrow Wilson
10th Chief Justice of the United States
In office
July 11, 1921 – February 3, 1930
Preceded byEdward Douglass White
Succeeded byCharles Evans Hughes
Personal details
Born(1857-09-15)September 15, 1857
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
DiedMarch 8, 1930(1930-03-08) (aged 72)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Helen Herron Taft

Birth & Early Life change

Taft was born on September 15, 1857 in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Alphonso Taft and Louise Torrey. His father, Alphonso, was a pretty notable person who served as the Secretary of War and Attorney General for Ulysses Grant. Despite this, the Tafts were not that rich, living in a small suburb. While the Taft parents tried their best to make their kids successful, young William was not that smart. However, he was a very hard worker. At Yale College, William Howard Taft was a wrestling champion. A secret society in Yale called "Skull and Bones" was co-founded by Taft's father, prompting wrestling superstar William to join the club. George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush were also in this secret society. Even though William used to be not that bright, by 1878 he had graduated second in his college class out of 121 students. He then attended Cincinnati Law School and graduated with a Bachelors' degree in 1880. He later passed the bar exam.[1]

Rise in the Government change

Taft was appointed as Hamilton County's assistant prosecutor in October 1880. When president Chester Arthur appointed Taft as a Collector of Internal Revenue for Ohio's first district in 1882, Taft resigned. He resigned from his Internal Revenue Collector job in 1883. In 1884, Taft campaigned for James Blaine in the 1884 election. In 1887, Taft was suddenly hired to fulfill a vacancy for a position in Cincinnatti's Superior Court, and in 1888 won his first ever public election to serve for another five years. Sometime in 1880 or before, Taft met Helen Herron, who would later be his first lady. She agreed to marry Taft in 1885 after regularly meeting him the year prior. They officially got married on June 19, 1886. They would have three children, with Robert Taft later becoming a notable U.S. Senator. In 1889, a vacancy in the Supreme Court needed to be filled by president Benjamin Harrison. Joseph Foraker, a governor of Ohio, had requested that Harrison nominate Taft for the position. Though the Supreme Court was Taft's goal, Harrison ended up nominating Taft as the Solicitor General instead. Since the position was vacant, a lot of work needed to be done. He started in February 1890. Even though Taft was good at his job, he gladly resigned in March 1892 to be a judge on the sixth circuit of the United States Courts of Appeal. Unlike his previous judge job, this job was a position of his for life unless he resigned or was impeached. Taft, during this period, felt great with his life and his job. Taft was a man who supported employees over employers, as seen by his many Worker's Rights cases. He was more liberal than people had thought. Taft became a professor at Cincinnati Law School in 1896 and was committed to it. Also in 1896, William McKinley sought the presidency. Taft was not fond of McKinley and disagreed with things like Free Silver. In 1898, one year into McKinley's presidency, Taft was upset because McKinley named a different person than Taft to be a Supreme Court Judge.

Political career change

Taft then served as a federal judge, Governor of the Philippines, and Secretary of War before being nominated for president in 1908 by the man who preceded him, Theodore Roosevelt. As a Republican president, Taft was most notable for trust-busting, in which he broke up large businesses that had too much control over the economy. Taft also expanded the civil service, improved the United States Postal Service and promoted world peace. Taft also started the tradition of the president pitching the first ball of the baseball season.[2] Early in life, Taft had played baseball. He was a good second baseman and could hit with power.[3]

1908 election change

In 1908, with Theodore Roosevelt's support, William Taft was nominated as the Republican candidate for president. He easily won against William Jennings Bryan in the 1908 general election, and became president.

1912 election change

During Taft's presidency, his relationship with Roosevelt became bad, because Roosevelt thought Taft was not doing a good job and taking too little actions against so-called trusts. Taft was also more conservative and he did not continue all of Roosevelt's progressive policies. As a result, in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt came back into politics and ran for president against William Taft. Many Republicans split their votes between Taft and Roosevelt, and the Democratic opponent Woodrow Wilson won the election.

After the presidency change

In 1921, Taft was appointed by Warren Harding to be the 10th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, making Taft the only former president to become Chief Justice.[4] He retired from the job on February 3, 1930 due to bad health.

Bathtub change

William's wife, Helen Herron Taft

Taft was the most obese president.[5] He was 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) tall and his weight was between 325 pounds (147 kg) and 280 pounds (130 kg) toward the end of his presidency.[6] He had difficulty getting out of the White House bathtub, on June 10, 1909, so he had a 7-foot (2.1 m) long, 41-inch (1.0 m) wide tub installed. This tub could accommodate four normal-sized people. It was replaced in 1951 with a modern tub of similar size.[7]

Death change

Taft died on March 8, 1930 due to Heart Disease. Three days later, he became the first president to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[8]

Other websites and links change

References change

  1. "William Howard Taft - TheUSAPresidents.com". TheUSAPresidents.com. Retrieved 2 October 2023.
  2. Matviko, John W. (2005). The American president in popular culture. American Popular Culture Through History Series. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 66. ISBN 9780313327056.
  3. Haas, Irvin (January 1991). Historic Homes of the U.S. Presidents. Courier Corporation. p. 120. ISBN 9780486267517.
  4. William Howard Taft, President and Chief Justice
  5. Carnes, MC. William Howard Taft. McPherson, JM eds. To the best of my ability: the American Presidents 2000, 188–194 Dorling Kindersley. New York, NY:
  6. Sotos, John G. (September 2003). "Taft and Pickwick". Chest. 124 (3): 1133–1142. doi:10.1378/chest.124.3.1133. PMID 12970047.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  7. The White House Museum: Master Bathroom
  8. "Arlington Cemetery". Archived from the original on 2013-03-05. Retrieved 2013-05-02.