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President Taft
William Howard Taft (1909-1913)
Distinguished jurist, effective administrator, but poor politician, William Howard Taft spent four uncomfortable years in the White House. Large, jovial, conscientious, he was caught in the intense battles between Progressives and conservatives, and got scant credit for the achievements of his administration.

Born in 1857, the son of a distinguished judge, he graduated from Yale, and returned to Cincinnati to study and practice law. He rose in politics through Republican judiciary appointments, through his own competence and availability, and because, as he once wrote facetiously, he always had his "plate the right side up when offices were falling."

But Taft much preferred law to politics. He was appointed a Federal circuit judge at 34. He aspired to be a member of the Supreme Court, but his wife, Helen Herron Taft, held other ambitions for him.

His route to the White House was via administrative posts. President McKinley sent him to the Philippines in 1900 as chief civil administrator. Sympathetic toward the Filipinos, he improved the economy, built roads and schools, and gave the people at least some participation in government.

President Roosevelt made him Secretary of War, and by 1907 had decided that Taft should be his successor. The Republican Convention nominated him the next year.

Taft disliked the campaign--"one of the most uncomfortable four months of my life." But he pledged his loyalty to the Roosevelt program, popular in the West, while his brother Charles reassured eastern Republicans. William Jennings Bryan, running on the Democratic ticket for a third time, complained that he was having to oppose two candidates, a western progressive Taft and an eastern conservative Taft.

Progressives were pleased with Taft's election. "Roosevelt has cut enough hay," they said; "Taft is the man to put it into the barn." Conservatives were delighted to be rid of Roosevelt--the "mad messiah."

Taft recognized that his techniques would differ from those of his predecessor. Unlike Roosevelt, Taft did not believe in the stretching of Presidential powers. He once commented that Roosevelt "ought more often to have admitted the legal way of reaching the same ends."

Taft alienated many liberal Republicans who later formed the Progressive Party, by defending the Payne-Aldrich Act which unexpectedly continued high tariff rates. A trade agreement with Canada, which Taft pushed through Congress, would have pleased eastern advocates of a low tariff, but the Canadians rejected it. He further antagonized Progressives by upholding his Secretary of the Interior, accused of failing to carry out Roosevelt's conservation policies.

In the angry Progressive onslaught against him, little attention was paid to the fact that his administration initiated 80 antitrust suits and that Congress submitted to the states amendments for a Federal income tax and the direct election of Senators. A postal savings system was established, and the Interstate Commerce Commission was directed to set railroad rates.

In 1912, when the Republicans renominated Taft, Roosevelt bolted the party to lead the Progressives, thus guaranteeing the election of Woodrow Wilson.

Taft, free of the Presidency, served as Professor of Law at Yale until President Harding made him Chief Justice of the United States, a position he held until just before his death in 1930. To Taft, the appointment was his greatest honor; he wrote: "I don't remember that I ever was President."

William Howard Taft Trivia
  1. He became an honorary member of the Yale Chapter of the Acacia Fraternity in 1913 (while he was a professor of law at Yale).
  2. Taft was severely overweight to the point that he became stuck in the bathtub in the White House several times, prompting the installation of a new bathtub capable of holding all of the men who installed it, something the White House denied until the bathtub was torn out years later. At 6 feet, and weighing over 350 pounds (159 kg), Taft is the heaviest person to be President, although Jefferson, Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Clinton were taller.
  3. When asked about his time on the Supreme Court and as President, Chief Justice Taft allegedly remarked, "I don't remember that I ever was President."
  4. In Manila, Philippines, Taft Avenue is named after him.
  5. Taft was the last American president to have had facial hair (in this case, a moustache), as of 2007.
  6. Taft was an avid baseball fan, but contrary to myth he did not create the seventh-inning stretch, which was custom decades earlier. He was, however, the first American president to throw the ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game, at Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1910.
  7. Taft was the first American president to golf as a hobby.
  8. Taft was the first president to occupy the Oval Office when it was opened in October 1909.
  9. Taft was the first American president to own a presidential automobile. He converted the White House stables into a four-car garage in 1909.
  10. Taft owned a Holstein cow, Pauline Wayne, which he let graze freely on the White House lawn. Pauline was the last cow to live at the White House. She provided milk for the president and his family.
  11. Even though the strife during the election of 1912 devastated the once very close friendship between Taft and Theodore Roosevelt, the two reconciled not long before Roosevelt's death.
  12. William Howard Taft Road in Cincinnati, Ohio is named after him.
  13. He is one of two presidents buried at Arlington (the other being John F. Kennedy) and one of four chief justices buried at Arlington (the others being Earl Warren, Warren Burger, and William Rehnquist).
  14. He was the first Chief Justice that did not die in office since Oliver Ellsworth and was the only Chief Justice ever to have a state funeral.
  15. There is a law school named after him in Santa Ana, California: William Howard Taft University.
  16. In later years, Taft owned a wooden cane that was a gift from Professor of Geology W.S. Foster, from 250,000-year-old wood.
  17. While being governor of the Philippines, Taft one day sent a message to Washington, D.C. that read "Went on a horseride today; feeling good." Secretary of War at the time Elihu Root sent a reply message that read "How's the horse?"
  18. Taft is the only president also to have been the ruler of a foreign country. (The Provisional Governor of Cuba).



We are designing a new website for
Taft High School

Educational Networks is currently designing a new website for Taft High School. It will look beautiful when we finish it. But it will take a few weeks.

What you are looking at is not your new website. It's just a temporary site that allows us to build the content areas while our designers are working on the new design. When the new design is finalized, all the content on this site will be automatically transferred to the new website, and this site will be closed. This way, your new website will already contain a lot of content from day one. Sounds exciting?

Although this temporary site is accessible on the Internet, it is not advertised anywhere. It is just our secret place that allows us to do our work.

Join Us! It will be fun!

We promise, you will love it! The new website will not only look beautiful, but it will be also very easy to update. It will be a place for the entire community. Not only the website administrators, but also teachers and staff members will be able to post information on their own sections. If you are a teacher, you will be able to easily create pages to introduce yourself to the community, build your own photo albums, upload videos, create class pages, and even post homework assignments that will be displayed not only on your class pages, but also emailed to the parents and students automatically every day.

How easy is it?

Very easy! If you use the most standard Internet services such as email and Facebook, or do online shopping on websites like Amazon.com, you are already qualified. No worries...

When do I start? How?

You can start right now! Whatever information you post on this temporary site will be automatically transferred to the new website when we launch it. And you can continue posting updates and even more information afterwards whenever you like.

Here is how:

Go to: http://tafths.enadmin.org

Just log in if you have already been provided your login credentials. If not, call our technical support team at (866) 473-0400 so that we can create your account. It will take only a minute.

The rest will be easy. Upload your profile photo, create as many new pages as you wish, create your classes, photo albums, and even your own video gallery.

After each update, come back to this website, and refresh. You will see that all the information you posted is displayed on this temporary website. And when we officially launch the new website, everything will be transferred automatically in no time!

If you need any help, call our support team at (866) 473-0400.

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