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.

William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front.jpg
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

Political careerEdit

Taft served as Solicitor General of the United States, 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.[1] Early in life, Taft had played baseball. He was a good second baseman and could hit with power.[2]

1908 electionEdit

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 electionEdit

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 presidencyEdit

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.[3] He retired from the job on February 3, 1930 due to bad health.


Taft was the most obese president.[4] 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.[5] He had difficulty getting out of the White House bathtub, 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.[6]


Taft died on March 8, 1930 due to heart failure. Three days later, he became the first president to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[7]

Other websites and linksEdit


  1. Matviko, John W. (2005). The American president in popular culture. American Popular Culture Through History Series. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 66. ISBN 9780313327056.
  2. Haas, Irvin (January 1991). Historic Homes of the U.S. Presidents. p. 120. ISBN 9780486267517.
  3. William Howard Taft, President and Chief Justice
  4. 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:
  5. 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)
  6. The White House Museum: Master Bathroom
  7. "Arlington Cemetery". Archived from the original on 2013-03-05. Retrieved 2013-05-02.