William Howard Taft

US President

1857 – 1930

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Who was William Howard Taft?

William Howard Taft was the 27th President of the United States and later the tenth Chief Justice of the United States. He is the only person to have served in both of these offices.

Before becoming President, Taft, a Republican, was appointed to serve on the Superior Court of Cincinnati 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 appointed Taft Secretary of War in an effort to groom Taft, then his close political ally, into his handpicked presidential successor. Taft assumed a prominent role in problem solving, assuming on some occasions the role of acting Secretary of State, while declining repeated offers from Roosevelt to serve on the Supreme Court.

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

Famous Quotes:

  • It is important, of course, that controversies be settled right, but there are many civil questions which arise between individuals in which it is not so important the controversy be settled one way or another as that it be settled. Of course a settlement of a controversy on a fundamentally wrong principle of law is greatly to be deplored, but there must of necessity be many rules governing the relations between members of the same society that are more important in that their establishment creates a known rule of action than that they proceed on one principle or another. Delay works always for the man with the longest purse.
  • In the public interest, therefore, it is better that we lose the services of the exceptions who are good Judges after they are seventy and avoid the presence on the Bench of men who are not able to keep up with the work, or to perform it satisfactorily.
  • The President can exercise no power which cannot be fairly and reasonably traced to some specific grant of power in the Federal Constitution or in an act of Congress passed in pursuance thereof. There is no undefined residuum of power which he can exercise because it seems to him to be in the public interest.
  • Next to the right of liberty, the right of property is the most important individual right guaranteed by the Constitution and the one which, united with that of personal liberty, has contributed more to the growth of civilization than any other institution established by the human race.
  • Socialism proposes no adequate substitute for the motive of enlightened selfishness that to-day is at the basis of all human labor and effort, enterprise and new activity.
  • The trouble with me is that I like to talk too much.
  • We are all imperfect. We can not expect perfect government.
  • [George] Washington intended this to be a Federal city, and it is a Federal city, and it tingles down to the feet of every man, whether he comes from Washington State, or Los Angeles, or Texas, when he comes and walks these city streets and begins to feel that this is my city; I own a part of this Capital, and I envy for the time being those who are able to spend their time here. I quite admit that there are defects in the system of government by which Congress is bound to look after the government of the District of Columbia. It could not be otherwise under such a system, but I submit to the judgment of history that the result vindicates the foresight of the fathers.
  • There is only one thing I wast to say about Ohio that has a political tinge, and that is that I think a mistake has been made of recent years in Ohio in failing to continue as our representatives the same people term after term. I do not need to tell a Washington audience, among whom there are certainly some who have been interested in legislation, that length of service in the House and in the Senate is what gives influence.
  • Now, I am opposed to the franchise in the District [of Columbia]; I am opposed, and not because I yield to any one in my support and belief in the principles of self-government; but principles are applicable generally, and then, unless you make exceptions to the application of these principles, you will find that they will carry you to very illogical and absurd results. This was taken out of the application of the principle of self-government in the very Constitution that was intended to put that in force in every other part of the country, and it was done because it was intended to have the representatives of all the people in the country control this one city, and to prevent its being controlled by the parochial spirit that would necessarily govern men who did not look beyond the city to the grandeur of the nation, and this as the representative of that nation.

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Born
Sep 15, 1857
Cincinnati
Also known as
  • Taft, William Howard
  • Judge William Howard Taft
  • William Taft
Parents
Siblings
Spouses
Children
Religion
  • Unitarian Universalism
  • Christian Unitarianism
Ethnicity
  • Scottish American
Nationality
  • United States of America
Profession
Education
  • Bachelor of Laws, University of Cincinnati College of Law
    ( - 1880)
  • Woodward High School
    ( - 1874)
  • Yale College
    ( - 1878)
Employment
  • Yale Law School
Lived in
  • Cincinnati
Died
Mar 8, 1930
Washington, D.C.
Resting place
Arlington National Cemetery

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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"William Howard Taft." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 23 Apr. 2024. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/william_howard_taft>.

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