Presidency of William Howard Taft
The presidency of William Howard Taft began on March 4, 1909, at noon Eastern Standard Time, when William Howard Taft was inaugurated as President of the United States, and ended on March 4, 1913. Taft, a Republican, was the 27th United States president. The protégé and chosen successor of incumbent President Theodore Roosevelt, he took office after easily defeating Democrat William Jennings Bryan in the 1908 presidential election.
As president, he focused on East Asia more than European affairs, and repeatedly intervened to prop up or remove Latin American governments. Taft sought reductions to trade tariffs, then a major source of governmental income, but the resulting bill was heavily influenced by special interests. His administration was filled with conflict between the conservative wing of the Republican Party, with which Taft often sympathized, and the progressive wing, toward which Roosevelt moved more and more. Controversies over conservation and over antitrust cases filed by the Taft administration served to further separate the two men. Roosevelt challenged Taft for renomination in 1912, but Taft was able to use use his control of the party machinery to gain a bare majority of delegates and win. After his loss, Roosevelt bolted the party, formed the Progressive Party, and ran for president in the 1912 election under its banner. This split among Republicans all but doomed Taft's chances for re-election, giving Democrats, in the person of Woodrow Wilson, control of the White House for the first time in sixteen years.
- 1 Inauguration
- 2 Personnel
- 3 Foreign policy
- 4 Domestic policies and politics
- 5 States admitted to the Union
- 6 Elections
- 7 Legacy and historical view
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
Taft was sworn in as president on March 4, 1909. Due to a winter storm that coated Washington with ice, Taft was inaugurated within the Senate Chamber rather than outside the Capitol as is customary. The new president stated in his inaugural address that he had been honored to have been "one of the advisers of my distinguished predecessor" and to have had a part "in the reforms he has initiated. I should be untrue to myself, to my promises, and to the declarations of the party platform on which I was elected if I did not make the maintenance and enforcement of those reforms a most important feature of my administration". He pledged to make those reforms long-lasting, ensuring that honest businessmen did not suffer uncertainty through change of policy. He spoke of the need for reduction of the 1897 Dingley Tariff, for antitrust reform, and for continued advancement of the Philippines toward full self-government. Roosevelt left office with regret that his tenure in the position he enjoyed so much was over and, to keep out of Taft's way, arranged for a year-long hunting trip to Africa.
Soon after the Republican convention, Taft and Roosevelt had discussed which cabinet officers would stay on. Taft kept only Agriculture Secretary James Wilson and Postmaster General George von Lengerke Meyer (who was shifted to the Navy Department). Others appointed to the Taft cabinet included Philander Knox, who had served under McKinley and Roosevelt as Attorney General, as the new Secretary of State, and Franklin MacVeagh as Treasury Secretary. Vice President James S. Sherman had been added to the 1908 ticket partly as a means to appease the conservative wing of the GOP, which viewed Taft as a progressive. As Taft moved to the right during his presidency, Sherman became an important ally to Taft, and Sherman was the first sitting vice president to win re-nomination since John C. Calhoun in 1828. However, Sherman died in October 1912, leaving Taft without a vice president for his final months in office.
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 his predecessor had. His administration marked a change in style from the charismatic leadership of Roosevelt to Taft's quieter passion for the rule of law.
|The Taft Cabinet|
|President||William Howard Taft||1909–1913|
|Vice President||James S. Sherman||1909–1912|
|Secretary of State||Philander C. Knox||1909–1913|
|Secretary of Treasury||Franklin MacVeagh||1909–1913|
|Secretary of War||Jacob M. Dickinson||1909–1911|
|Henry L. Stimson||1911–1913|
|Attorney General||George W. Wickersham||1909–1913|
|Postmaster General||Frank H. Hitchcock||1909–1913|
|Secretary of the Navy||George von L. Meyer||1909–1913|
|Secretary of the Interior||Richard A. Ballinger||1909–1911|
|Walter L. Fisher||1911–1913|
|Secretary of Agriculture||James Wilson||1909–1913|
|Secretary of Commerce & Labor||Charles Nagel||1909–1913|
Taft made six appointments to the Supreme Court, the most of any president except George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The death of Justice Rufus Peckham in October 1909 gave Taft his first opportunity. He chose an old friend and colleague from the Sixth Circuit, Horace H. Lurton of Georgia; he had in vain urged Theodore Roosevelt to appoint Lurton to the high court. Attorney General Wickersham objected that Lurton, a former Confederate soldier and a Democrat, was aged 65. Taft named Lurton anyway on December 13, 1909, and the Senate confirmed him by voice vote a week later. Lurton is still the oldest person to be made an associate justice.[a] Lurie suggested that Taft, already beset by the tariff and conservation controversies, desired to perform an official act which gave him pleasure, especially since he thought Lurton deserved it.
Justice David Josiah Brewer's death on March 28, 1910 gave Taft a second opportunity to fill a seat on the high court; he chose New York Governor Charles Evans Hughes. Taft told Hughes that should the chief justiceship fall vacant during his term, Hughes would be his likely choice for the center seat. The Senate quickly confirmed Hughes, but then Chief Justice Fuller died on July 4, 1910. Taft took five months to replace Fuller, and when he did, it was with Justice Edward Douglass White, who became the first associate justice to be promoted to chief justice.[b] According to Lurie, Taft, who still had hopes of being chief justice, may have been more willing to appoint an older man than he (White) than a younger one (Hughes), who might outlive him, as indeed Hughes did. To fill White's seat as associate justice, Taft appointed Willis Van Devanter of Wyoming, a federal appeals judge. By the time Taft nominated White and Van Devanter in December 1910, he had another seat to fill due to William Henry Moody's retirement because of illness; he named a Louisiana Democrat, Joseph R. Lamar, whom he had met while playing golf, and had subsequently learned had a good reputation as a judge.
With the death of Justice Harlan in October 1911, Taft got to fill a sixth seat on the Supreme Court. After Secretary Knox declined appointment, Taft named Chancellor of New Jersey Mahlon Pitney, the last person appointed to the Supreme Court who did not attend law school. Pitney had a stronger anti-labor record than Taft's other appointments, and was the only one to meet opposition, winning confirmation by a Senate vote of 50—26.
The White Court, led by Chief Justice Edward Douglass White, lasted until Douglass's death in 1921, at which point Taft himself succeeded White. The Supreme Court under White was less conservative than both the preceding Fuller Court and the succeeding Taft Court, although the court continued to strike down numerous economic regulations as part of the Lochner era. Three of Taft's appointees had left the court by 1917, while Pitney and White remained on the court until the early 1920s. The conservative Van Devanter was the lone Taft appointee to serve past 1922, and he formed part of the Four Horsemen bloc that opposed Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal.
Taft appointed 13 judges to the federal courts of appeal and 38 to the United States district courts. Taft also appointed judges to various specialized courts, including the first five appointees each to the United States Commerce Court and the United States Court of Customs Appeals. The Commerce Court, created in 1910, stemmed from a Taft proposal for a specialized court to hear appeals from the Interstate Commerce Commission. There was considerable opposition to its establishment, which only grew when one of its judges, Robert W. Archbald, was in 1912 impeached for corruption and removed by the Senate the following January. Taft vetoed a bill to abolish the court, but the respite was short-lived as Wilson signed similar legislation in October 1913.
Organization and principles
Taft made it a priority to restructure the State Department, noting, "it is organized on the basis of the needs of the government in 1800 instead of 1900." The Department was for the first time organized into geographical divisions, including desks for the Far East, Latin America and Western Europe. The department's first in-service training program was established, and appointees spent a month in Washington before going to their posts. Taft and Secretary of State Knox had a strong relationship, and the president listened to his counsel on matters foreign and domestic. According to Coletta, however, Knox was not a good diplomat, and had poor relations with the Senate, press, and many foreign leaders, especially those from Latin America.
There was broad agreement between Taft and Knox on major foreign policy goals; the U.S. would not interfere in European affairs, and would use force if necessary to enforce the Monroe Doctrine in the Americas. The defense of the Panama Canal, which was under construction throughout Taft's term (it opened in 1914), guided United States foreign policy in the Caribbean and Central America. Previous administrations had made efforts to promote American business interests overseas, but Taft went a step further and used the web of American diplomats and consuls abroad to further trade. Such ties, Taft hoped, would promote world peace. Taft pushed for arbitration treaties with Great Britain and France, but the Senate was not willing to yield its constitutional prerogative to approve treaties to arbitrators.
Proposed free trade accord with Canada
In Taft's annual message sent to Congress in December 1910, he urged a free trade accord for Canada. Britain at that time still handled Canada's foreign relations, and Taft found the British and Canadian governments willing. Many in Canada opposed an accord, fearing the U.S. would dump it when convenient as it had the 1854 Elgin-Marcy Treaty in 1866, and American farm and fisheries interests were also opposed. After January 1911 talks with Canadian officials, Taft had the agreement, which was not a treaty, introduced into Congress and it passed in late July. The Canadian Parliament, led by Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier, had deadlocked over the issue. Canadians turned Laurier out of office in the September 1911 election and Robert Borden became the new prime minister. No cross-border agreement was concluded, and the debate deepened divisions in the Republican Party.
Taft and his Secretary of State, Philander Knox, instituted a policy of Dollar Diplomacy towards Latin America, believing U.S. investment would benefit all involved, while keeping European influence away from areas subject to the Monroe Doctrine. Although exports rose sharply during Taft's administration, the policy was unpopular among Latin American states that did not wish to become financial protectorates of the United States, as well as in the U.S. Senate, many of whose members believed the U.S. should not interfere abroad. No foreign affairs controversy tested Taft's statesmanship and commitment to peace more than the collapse of the Mexican regime and subsequent turmoil of the Mexican Revolution.
When Taft entered office, Mexico was increasingly restless under the grip of longtime dictator Porfirio Díaz and many Mexicans backed his opponent, Francisco Madero. There were a number of incidents in which Mexican rebels crossed the U.S. border to obtain horses and weapons; Taft sought to prevent this by ordering the army to the border areas for maneuvers. Taft told his military aide, Archibald Butt, that "I am going to sit on the lid and it will take a great deal to pry me off". He showed his support for Díaz by meeting with him at El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, the first meeting between a U.S. and a Mexican president and also the first time an American president visited Mexico. The day of the summit, Frederick Russell Burnham and a Texas Ranger captured and disarmed an assassin holding a palm pistol only a few feet of the two presidents. Before the election in Mexico, Díaz jailed opposition candidate Madero, whose supporters took up arms resulting in both the ousting of Díaz and a revolution that would continue for another ten years. In the U.S.'s Arizona Territory, two citizens were killed and almost a dozen injured, some as a result of gunfire across the border. Taft would not be goaded into fighting and so instructed the territorial governor.
Nicaragua's president, José Santos Zelaya, wanted to revoke commercial concessions granted to American companies,[c] and American diplomats quietly favored rebel forces under Juan Estrada. Nicaragua was in debt to foreign powers, and the U.S. was unwilling that an alternate canal route fall into the hands of Europeans. Zelaya's elected successor, José Madriz, could not put down the rebellion as U.S. forces interfered, and in August 1910, the Estrada forces took Managua, the capital. The U.S. had Nicaragua accept a loan, and sent officials to ensure it was repaid from government revenues. The country remained unstable, and after another coup in 1911 and more disturbances in 1912, Taft sent troops; though most were soon withdrawn, some remained as late as 1933.
Treaties among Panama, Colombia, and the United States to resolve disputes arising from the Panamanian Revolution of 1903 had been signed by the lame-duck Roosevelt administration in early 1909, and were approved by the Senate and also ratified by Panama. Colombia, however, declined to ratify the treaties, and after the 1912 elections, Knox offered $10 million to the Colombians (later raised to $25 million). The Colombians felt the amount inadequate, and requested arbitration; the matter was not settled under the Taft administration.
Due to his years in the Philippines, Taft was keenly interested as president in Far Eastern affairs. Taft considered relations with Europe relatively unimportant, but because of the potential for trade and investment, Taft ranked the post of minister to China as most important in the Foreign Service. Knox did not agree, and declined a suggestion that he go to Peking to view the facts on the ground. Taft replaced Roosevelt's minister there, William W. Rockhill, as uninterested in the China trade, with William J. Calhoun, whom McKinley and Roosevelt had sent on several foreign missions. Knox did not listen to Calhoun on policy, and there were often conflicts. Taft and Knox tried unsuccessfully to extend John Hay's Open Door Policy to Manchuria.
In 1898, an American company had gained a concession for a railroad between Hankow and Szechuan, but the Chinese revoked the agreement in 1904 after the company (which was indemnified for the revocation) breached the agreement by selling a majority stake outside the United States. The Chinese imperial government got the money for the indemnity from the British Hong Kong government, on condition British subjects would be favored if foreign capital was needed to build the railroad line, and in 1909, a British-led consortium began negotiations. This came to Knox's attention in May of that year, and he demanded that U.S. banks be allowed to participate. Taft appealed personally to the Prince Regent, Zaifeng, Prince Chun, and was successful in gaining U.S. participation, though agreements were not signed until May 1911. However, the Chinese decree authorizing the agreement also required the nationalization of local railroad companies in the affected provinces. Inadequate compensation was paid to the shareholders, and these grievances were among those which touched off the Chinese Revolution of 1911.
After the revolution broke out, the revolt's leaders chose Sun Yat Sen as provisional president of what became the Republic of China, overthrowing the Manchu Dynasty, Taft was reluctant to recognize the new government, although American public opinion was in favor of it. The U.S. House of Representatives in February 1912 passed a resolution supporting a Chinese republic, but Taft and Knox felt recognition should come as a concerted action by Western powers. Taft in his final annual message to Congress in December 1912 indicated that he was moving towards recognition once the republic was fully established, but by then he had been defeated for re-election and he did not follow through.
Taft continued the policy against immigration from China and Japan as under Roosevelt. A revised treaty of friendship and navigation entered into by the U.S. and Japan in 1911 granted broad reciprocal rights to Japanese in America and Americans in Japan, but were premised on the continuation of the Gentlemen's Agreement. There was objection on the West Coast when the treaty was submitted to the Senate, but Taft informed politicians that there was no change in immigration policy.
Taft was opposed to the traditional practice of rewarding wealthy supporters with key ambassadorial posts, preferring that diplomats not live in a lavish lifestyle and selecting men who, as Taft put it, would recognize an American when they saw one. High on his list for dismissal was the ambassador to France, Henry White, whom Taft knew and disliked from his visits to Europe. White's ousting caused other career State Department employees to fear that their jobs might be lost to politics. Taft also wanted to replace the Roosevelt-appointed ambassador in London, Whitelaw Reid, but Reid, owner of the New-York Tribune, had backed Taft during the campaign, and both William and Nellie Taft enjoyed his gossipy reports. Reid remained in place until his 1912 death.
Taft was a supporter of settling international disputes by arbitration, and he negotiated treaties with Great Britain and with France providing that differences be arbitrated. These were signed in August 1911. Neither Taft nor Knox (a former senator) consulted with members of the Senate during the negotiating process. By then many Republicans were opposed to Taft and the president felt that lobbying too hard for the treaties might cause their defeat. He made some speeches supporting the treaties in October, but the Senate added amendments Taft could not accept, killing the agreements.
Although no general arbitration treaty was entered into, Taft's administration settled several disputes with Great Britain by peaceful means, often involving arbitration. These included a settlement of the boundary between Maine and New Brunswick, a long-running dispute over seal hunting in the Bering Sea that also involved Japan, and a similar disagreement regarding fishing off Newfoundland. The sealing convention remained in force until abrogated by Japan in 1940.
Unlike his predecessor, Taft did not seek to arbitrate conflicts among the other great powers. Taft avoided involvement in international events such as the Agadir Crisis, the Italo-Turkish War, and the First Balkan War. However, Taft did express support for the creation of an international arbitration tribunal and called for an international arms reduction agreement.
Domestic policies and politics
At the time of Taft's presidency, protectionism through the use of tariffs was a fundamental position of the Republican Party. The Dingley Tariff had been enacted to protect American industry from foreign competition. The 1908 party platform had supported unspecified revisions to the Dingley Act, and Taft interpreted this to mean reductions. Viewing tariff reform as the most important issue of the 1908 Republican platform, Taft called a special session of Congress to convene on March 15, 1909 to deal with the tariff question.
Sereno E. Payne, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, had held hearings in late 1908, and sponsored the resulting draft legislation. On balance, the bill reduced tariffs slightly, but when it passed the House in April 1909 and reached the Senate, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Rhode Island Senator Nelson W. Aldrich, attached many amendments raising rates. This outraged progressives such as Wisconsin's Robert M. La Follette, who urged Taft to say that the bill was not in accord with the party platform. Taft favored the House version of the bill, but he viewed the Senate version as an acceptable compromise and feared potentially dividing his party by wielding his veto power. Taft did insist that most imports from the Philippines be free of duty, and according to Anderson, showed effective leadership on a subject he was knowledgeable on and really cared about.
When opponents sought to modify the tariff bill to allow for an income tax, Taft opposed it on the ground that the Supreme Court would likely strike it down as unconstitutional, as it had before in Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co. (1895). Instead, they proposed an amendment to the United States Constitution allowing the Congress to levy an income tax without apportioning it among the states or basing it on the United States Census, which was approved on July 12, 1909. and submitted it to the state legislatures for ratification. By February 3, 1913, it had been ratified by the requisite number of states (then 36) to become the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. In the conference committee, Taft won some victories, such as limiting the tax on lumber. The conference report passed both houses, and Taft signed it on August 6, 1909. The Payne-Aldrich tariff was immediately controversial. According to Coletta, "Taft had lost the initiative, and the wounds inflicted in the acrid tariff debate never healed".
Taft continued and expanded Roosevelt's efforts to break up business combinations through lawsuits brought under the Sherman Antitrust Act, bringing 70 cases in four years (Roosevelt had brought 40 in seven years). Suits brought against the Standard Oil Company and the American Tobacco Company, initiated under Roosevelt, were decided in favor of the government by the Supreme Court in 1911. In June 1911, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives began hearings into United States Steel (U.S. Steel). That company had been expanded under Roosevelt, who had supported its acquisition of the Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Railroad Company as a means of preventing the deepening of the Panic of 1907, a decision the former president defended when testifying at the hearings. Taft, as Secretary of War, had praised the acquisitions. Historian Louis L. Gould suggested that Roosevelt was likely deceived into believing that U.S. Steel did not want to purchase the Tennessee company, but it was in fact a bargain. For Roosevelt, questioning the matter went to his personal honesty.
In October 1911, Taft's Justice Department brought suit against U.S. Steel, demanding that over a hundred of its subsidiaries be granted corporate independence, and naming as defendants many prominent business executives and financiers. The pleadings in the case had not been reviewed by Taft, and alleged that Roosevelt "had fostered monopoly, and had been duped by clever industrialists". Roosevelt was offended by the references to him and his administration in the pleadings, and felt that Taft could not evade command responsibility by saying he did not know of them.
Taft sent a special message to Congress on the need for a revamped antitrust statute when it convened its regular session in December 1911, but it took no action. Another antitrust case that had political repercussions for Taft was that brought against the International Harvester Company, the large manufacturer of farm equipment, in early 1912. As Roosevelt's administration had investigated International Harvester, but had taken no action (a decision Taft had supported), the suit became caught up in Roosevelt's challenge for the Republican presidential nomination. Supporters of Taft alleged that Roosevelt had acted improperly; the former president blasted Taft for waiting three and a half years, and until he was under challenge, to reverse a decision he had supported.
Roosevelt was an ardent conservationist, assisted in this by like-minded appointees, including Interior Secretary James R. Garfield[d] and Chief Forester Gifford Pinchot. Taft agreed with the need for conservation, but felt it should be accomplished by legislation rather than executive order. He did not retain Garfield, an Ohioan, as secretary, choosing instead a westerner, former Seattle mayor Richard A. Ballinger. Roosevelt was surprised at the replacement, believing that Taft had promised to keep Garfield, and this change was one of the events that caused Roosevelt to realize that Taft would choose different policies.
Roosevelt had withdrawn much land from the public domain, including some in Alaska thought rich in coal. In 1902, Clarence Cunningham, an Idaho entrepreneur, had found coal deposits in Alaska, and made mining claims, and the government investigated their legality. This dragged on for the remainder of the Roosevelt administration, including during the year (1907–1908) when Ballinger served as head of the General Land Office. A special agent for the Land Office, Louis Glavis, investigated the Cunningham claims, and when Secretary Ballinger in 1909 approved them, Glavis broke governmental protocol by going outside the Interior Department to seek help from Pinchot.
In September 1909, Glavis made his allegations public in a magazine article, disclosing that Ballinger had acted as an attorney for Cunningham between his two periods of government service. This violated conflict of interest rules forbidding a former government official from advocacy on a matter he had been responsible for. On September 13, 1909 Taft dismissed Glavis from government service, relying on a report from Attorney General George W. Wickersham dated two days previously. Pinchot was determined to dramatize the issue by forcing his own dismissal, which Taft tried to avoid, fearing that it might cause a break with Roosevelt (still overseas). Taft asked Elihu Root (by then a senator) to look into the matter, and Root urged the firing of Pinchot.
Taft had ordered government officials not to comment on the fracas. In January 1910, Pinchot forced the issue by sending a letter to Iowa Senator Dolliver alleging that but for the actions of the Forestry Service, Taft would have approved a fraudulent claim on public lands. According to Pringle, this "was an utterly improper appeal from an executive subordinate to the legislative branch of the government and an unhappy president prepared to separate Pinchot from public office". Pinchot was dismissed, much to his delight, and he sailed for Europe to lay his case before Roosevelt. A congressional investigation followed, which cleared Ballinger by majority vote, but the administration was embarrassed when Glavis' attorney, Louis D. Brandeis, proved that the Wickersham report had been backdated, which Taft belatedly admitted. The Ballinger–Pinchot affair caused progressives and Roosevelt loyalists to feel that Taft had turned his back on Roosevelt's agenda.
Taft announced in his inaugural address that he would not appoint African Americans to federal jobs, such as postmaster, where this would cause racial friction. This differed from Roosevelt, who would not remove or replace black officeholders with whom local whites would not deal. Termed Taft's "Southern Policy", this stance effectively invited white protests against black appointees. Taft followed through, removing most black office holders in the South, and made few appointments from that race in the North.
At the time Taft was inaugurated, the way forward for African Americans was debated by their leaders. Booker T. Washington felt that most blacks should be trained for industrial work, with only a few seeking higher education; W.E.B. DuBois took a more militant stand for equality. Taft tended towards Washington's approach. According to Coletta, Taft let the African-American "be 'kept in his place' ... He thus failed to see or follow the humanitarian mission historically associated with the Republican party, with the result that Negroes both North and South began to drift toward the Democratic party."
A supporter of free immigration, Taft vetoed a bill passed by Congress and supported by labor unions that would have restricted unskilled laborers by imposing a literacy test.
States admitted to the Union
Two new states were admitted to the Union while Taft was in office:
1908 presidential election
Gaining the nomination
Roosevelt had served almost three and a half years of McKinley's term. On the night of his own election in 1904, Roosevelt publicly declared he would not run for re-election in 1908, a pledge he quickly regretted. But he felt bound by his word. Roosevelt believed Taft was his logical successor, although the War Secretary was initially reluctant to run. Roosevelt used his control of the party machinery to aid his heir apparent. On pain of loss of their jobs, political appointees were required to support Taft or remain silent.
A number of Republican politicians, such as Treasury Secretary George Cortelyou, tested the waters for a run but chose to stay out. New York Governor Charles Evans Hughes ran, but when he made a major policy speech, Roosevelt the same day sent a special message to Congress warning in strong terms against corporate corruption. The resulting coverage of the presidential message relegated Hughes to the back pages. Roosevelt reluctantly deterred repeated attempts to draft him for another term.
Assistant Postmaster General Frank H. Hitchcock resigned from his office in February 1908 to lead the Taft effort. In April, Taft made a speaking tour, traveling as far west as Omaha before being recalled to go to Panama and straighten out a contested election. At the 1908 Republican National Convention in Chicago in June, there was no serious opposition to him, and he gained a first-ballot victory. Yet Taft did not have things his own way: he had hoped his running mate would be a midwestern progressive like Iowa Senator Jonathan Dolliver, but instead the convention named Congressman James S. Sherman of New York, a conservative. Taft resigned as Secretary of War on June 30 to devote himself full-time to the campaign.
General election campaign
Taft's opponent in the general election was Bryan, the Democratic nominee for the third time in four presidential elections. As many of Roosevelt's reforms stemmed from proposals by Bryan, the Democrat argued that he was the true heir to Roosevelt's mantle. Corporate contributions to federal political campaigns had been outlawed by the 1907 Tillman Act, and Bryan proposed that contributions by officers and directors of corporations be similarly banned, or at least disclosed when made. Taft was only willing to see the contributions disclosed after the election, and tried to ensure that officers and directors of corporations litigating with the government were not among his contributors.
Taft began the campaign on the wrong foot, fueling the arguments of those who said he was not his own man by traveling to Roosevelt's home at Sagamore Hill for advice on his acceptance speech, saying that he needed "the President's judgment and criticism". Taft supported most of Roosevelt's policies. He argued that labor had a right to organize, but not boycott, and that corporations and the wealthy must also obey the law. Bryan wanted the railroads to be owned by the government, but Taft preferred that they remain in the private sector, with their maximum rates set by the Interstate Commerce Commission, subject to judicial review. Taft attributed blame for the recent recession, the Panic of 1907, to stock speculation and other abuses, and felt some reform of the currency (the U.S. was on the gold standard) was needed to allow flexibility in the government's response to poor economic times, that specific legislation on trusts was needed to supplement the Sherman Antitrust Act, and that the constitution should be amended to allow for an income tax, thus overruling decisions of the Supreme Court striking such a tax down. Roosevelt's expansive use of executive power had been controversial; Taft proposed to continue his policies, but place them on more solid legal underpinnings through the passage of legislation.
Taft upset some progressives by choosing Hitchcock as Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), placing him in charge of the presidential campaign. Hitchcock was quick to bring in men closely allied with big business. Taft took an August vacation in Hot Springs, Virginia, where he irritated political advisors by spending more time on golf than strategy. After seeing a newspaper photo of Taft taking a large swing at a golf ball, Roosevelt warned him against candid shots.
Roosevelt, frustrated by his own relative inaction, showered Taft with advice, fearing that the electorate would not appreciate Taft's qualities, and that Bryan would win. Roosevelt's supporters spread rumors that the president was in effect running Taft's campaign. This annoyed Nellie Taft, who never trusted the Roosevelts. Nevertheless, Roosevelt supported the Republican nominee with such enthusiasm that humorists suggested "TAFT" stood for "Take advice from Theodore".
Bryan urged a system of bank guarantees, so that depositors could be repaid if banks failed, but Taft opposed this, offering a postal savings system instead. The issue of prohibition of alcohol entered the campaign when in mid-September, Carrie Nation called on Taft and demanded to know his views. Taft and Roosevelt had agreed the party platform would take no position on the matter, and Nation left indignant, to allege that Taft was irreligious and against temperance. Taft, at Roosevelt's advice, ignored the issue.
In the end, Taft won by a comfortable margin. Taft defeated Bryan by 321 electoral votes to 162; however, he garnered just 51.6 percent of the popular vote. Nellie Taft said regarding the campaign, "There was nothing to criticize, except his not knowing or caring about the way the game of politics is played." Longtime White House usher Ike Hoover recalled that Taft came often to see Roosevelt during the campaign, but seldom between the election and Inauguration Day, March 4, 1909.
1910 mid-term elections
The 1910 election was a defeat for Taft, as Democrats took control of the House and many of Taft's preferred candidates were defeated. The election was a major victory for progressives in both parties, and ultimately helped encourage Roosevelt's 1912 third party run. The progressive victory also led to the passage of the 17th Amendment during the 62nd Congress. Taft was also disappointed by the defeat of Warren G. Harding in the 1910 Ohio gubernatorial race, while in New Jersey, Democrat Woodrow Wilson was elected governor. With a divided government, the second half of Taft's term saw the passage of much less legislation than the first.
Moving apart from Roosevelt
During Roosevelt's fifteen months beyond the Atlantic, from March 1909 to June 1910, neither man wrote much to the other. Taft biographer Lurie suggested that each expected the other to make the first move to re-establish their relationship on a new footing. Upon Roosevelt's triumphant return, Taft invited him to stay at the White House. The former president declined, and in private letters to friends expressed dissatisfaction at Taft's performance. Nevertheless, he wrote that he expected Taft to be renominated by the Republicans in 1912, and did not speak of himself as a candidate. Taft and Roosevelt met twice in 1910; the meetings, though outwardly cordial, did not display their former closeness.
After returning from Europe, Roosevelt gave a series of speeches in the West in the late summer and early fall of 1910. Roosevelt not only attacked the Supreme Court's 1905 decision in Lochner v. New York,[e] he accused the federal courts of undermining democracy, and called for them to be deprived of the power to rule legislation unconstitutional. This attack horrified Taft, who privately agreed that Lochner had been wrongly decided. Roosevelt called for "elimination of corporate expenditures for political purposes, physical valuation of railroad properties, regulation of industrial combinations, establishment of an export tariff commission, a graduated income tax" as well as "workmen's compensation laws, state and national legislation to regulate the [labor] of women and children, and complete publicity of campaign expenditure". According to John Murphy in his journal article on the breach between the two presidents, "As Roosevelt began to move to the left, Taft veered to the right." Taft had become increasingly associated with the conservative "Old Guard" faction of the party, and progressive Republicans such as Wisconsin Senator Robert La Follette became dissatisfied Taft's leadership.
1912 presidential election
After the 1910 election, Roosevelt continued to promote progressive ideals, a New Nationalism, much to Taft's dismay. Roosevelt attacked his successor's administration, arguing that its guiding principles were not that of the party of Lincoln, but those of the Gilded Age. The feud continued on and off through 1911, a year in which there were few elections of significance. Senator La Follette announced a presidential run as a Republican, and was backed by a convention of progressives. Roosevelt began to move into a position for a run in late 1911, writing that the tradition that presidents not run for a third term only applied to consecutive terms (in 1951, the 22nd Amendment would impose a two-term limit on presidents).
Roosevelt was receiving many letters from supporters urging him to run, and Republican office-holders were organizing on his behalf. Balked on many policies by an unwilling Congress and courts in his full term in the White House, he saw manifestations of public support he believed would sweep him to the White House with a mandate for progressive policies that would brook no opposition. In February, Roosevelt announced he would accept the Republican nomination if it was offered to him. Taft felt that if he lost in November, it would be a repudiation of the party, but if he lost renomination, it would be a rejection of himself. He was reluctant to oppose Roosevelt, who helped make him president, but having become president, he was determined to be president, and that meant not standing aside to allow Roosevelt to gain another term.
Primaries and convention
As Roosevelt became more radical in his progressivism, Taft was hardened in his resolve to achieve re-nomination, as he was convinced that the progressives threatened the very foundation of the government. While Roosevelt attacked both parties as corrupt and overly dependent on special interests, Taft feared that Roosevelt was becoming a demagogue. One blow to Taft was the loss of Archibald Butt, one of the last links between the previous and present presidents, as Butt had formerly served Roosevelt. Ambivalent between his loyalties, Butt went to Europe on vacation in early 1912. He sailed for home in April on the Titanic and died in its sinking, a death Taft found hard to accept as his body was not recovered.
Roosevelt dominated the primaries, winning 278 of the 362 delegates to the Republican National Convention in Chicago decided in that manner. Taft had control of the party machinery, and it came as no surprise that he gained the bulk of the delegates decided at district or state conventions. Taft did not have a majority, but was likely to have one once southern delegations committed to him. Roosevelt challenged the election of these delegates, but the RNC overruled most objections. Roosevelt's sole remaining chance was with a friendly convention chairman, who might make rulings on the seating of delegates that favored his side. Taft followed custom and remained in Washington, but Roosevelt went to Chicago to run his campaign and told his supporters in a speech, "we stand at Armageddon, and we battle for the Lord".
Taft had won over Root, who agreed to run for temporary chairman of the convention, and the delegates elected Root over Roosevelt's candidate. The Roosevelt forces moved to substitute the delegates they supported for the ones they argued should not be seated. Root made a crucial ruling, that although the contested delegates could not vote on their own seating, they could vote on the other contested delegates, a ruling that assured Taft's nomination, as the motion offered by the Roosevelt forces failed, 567—507. As it became clear Roosevelt would bolt the party if not nominated, some Republicans sought a compromise candidate to avert the electoral disaster to come; they were unsuccessful. Taft's name was placed in nomination by Warren Harding, whose attempts to praise Taft and unify the party were met with angry interruptions from progressives. Taft was nominated on the first ballot, though most Roosevelt delegates refused to vote.
Campaign and defeat
Alleging Taft had stolen the nomination, Roosevelt and his followers formed the Progressive Party.[f] Taft knew he would almost certainly be defeated, but concluded that through Roosevelt's loss at Chicago the party had been preserved as "the defender of conservative government and conservative institutions." He made his doomed run to preserve the Republican Party. Governor Woodrow Wilson was the Democratic nominee. Seeing Roosevelt as the greater electoral threat, Wilson spent little time attacking Taft, arguing that Roosevelt had been lukewarm in opposing the trusts during his presidency, and that Wilson was the true reformer. Taft contrasted what he called his “progressive conservatism” with Roosevelt’s Progressive democracy, which to Taft represented “the establishment of a benevolent despotism.”
Reverting to the pre-Roosevelt custom that presidents seeking re-election did not campaign, Taft spoke publicly only once, making his nomination acceptance speech on August 1. He had difficulty in financing the campaign, as many industrialists had concluded he could not win, and would support Wilson to block Roosevelt. The president issued a confident statement in September after the Republicans narrowly won Vermont's state elections in a three-way fight, but had no illusions he would win his race. He had hoped to send his cabinet officers out on the campaign trail, but found them reluctant to go. Senator Root agreed to give a single speech for him.
Vice President Sherman had been renominated at Chicago; seriously ill during the campaign, he died six days before the election,[g] and was replaced on the ticket by the president of Columbia University, Nicholas Murray Butler. But few electors chose Taft and Butler, who won only Utah and Vermont, for a total of eight electoral votes.[h] Roosevelt won 88, and Wilson 435. Wilson won though he had only a plurality of the popular vote and less of it than Taft and Roosevelt combined. Taft had hoped to better Roosevelt in the popular vote, but finished with just under 3.5 million, over 600,000 less than the former president. Taft was not on the ballot in California, due to the actions of local Progressives, nor in South Dakota. Democrats won control of not just the presidency but also both houses of Congress, giving them unified control of the executive and legislative branches for the first time since the 1894 election.
Legacy and historical view
Lurie argued that Taft did not receive the public credit for his policies that he should have. Few trusts had been broken up under Roosevelt (although the lawsuits received much publicity). Taft, more quietly than his predecessor, filed many more cases than did Roosevelt, and rejected his predecessor's contention that there was such a thing as a "good" trust. This lack of flair marred Taft's presidency; according to Lurie, Taft "was boring—honest, likable, but boring". Scott Bomboy for the National Constitution Center wrote that despite being "one of the most interesting, intellectual, and versatile presidents ... a chief justice of the United States, a wrestler at Yale, a reformer, a peace activist, and a baseball fan ... today, Taft is best remembered as the president who was so large that he got stuck in the White House bathtub," a story that is not true.
Mason called Taft's years in the White House "undistinguished". Coletta deemed Taft to have had a solid record of bills passed by Congress, but felt he could have accomplished more with political skill. Anderson noted that Taft's prepresidential federal service was entirely in appointed posts, and that he had never run for an important executive or legislative position, which would have allowed him to develop the skills to manipulate public opinion, "the presidency is no place for on-the-job training". According to Coletta, "in troubled times in which the people demanded progressive change, he saw the existing order as good."
Inevitably linked with Roosevelt, Taft generally falls in the shadow of the flamboyant Rough Rider, who chose him to be president, and who took it away. Yet, a portrait of Taft as a victim of betrayal by his best friend is incomplete: as Coletta put it, "Was he a poor politician because he was victimized or because he lacked the foresight and imagination to notice the storm brewing in the political sky until it broke and swamped him?" Adept at using the levers of power in a way his successor could not, Roosevelt generally got what was politically possible out of a situation. Taft was generally slow to act, and when he did, his actions often generated enemies, as in the Ballinger–Pinchot affair. Roosevelt was able to secure positive coverage in the newspapers; Taft had a judge's reticence in talking to reporters, and, with no comment from the White House, hostile journalists would supply the want with a quote from a Taft opponent. And it was Roosevelt who engraved in public memory the image of Taft as a Buchanan-like figure, with a narrow view of the presidency which made him unwilling to act for the public good. Anderson pointed out that Roosevelt's Autobiography (which placed this view in enduring form) was published after both men had left the presidency (in 1913), was intended in part to justify Roosevelt's splitting of the Republican Party, and contains not a single positive reference to the man Roosevelt had admired and hand-picked as his successor. While Roosevelt was biased, he was not alone: every major newspaper reporter of that time who left reminiscences of Taft's presidency was critical of him. Taft replied to his predecessor's criticism with his constitutional treatise on the powers of the presidency.
Taft was convinced he would be vindicated by history. After he left office, he was estimated to be about in the middle of U.S. presidents by greatness, and subsequent rankings by historians have by and large sustained that verdict. Coletta noted that this places Taft in good company, with James Madison, John Quincy Adams and McKinley. Lurie catalogued progressive innovations that took place under Taft, and argued that historians have overlooked them because Taft was not an effective political writer or speaker. According to Gould, "the clichés about Taft's weight, his maladroitness in the White House, and his conservatism of thought and doctrine have an element of truth, but they fail to do justice to a shrewd commentator on the political scene, a man of consummate ambition, and a resourceful practitioner of the internal politics of his party." Anderson deemed Taft's success in becoming both president and chief justice "an astounding feat of inside judicial and Republican party politics, played out over years, the likes of which we are not likely to see again in American history".
- Hughes was 67 when he began his second period on the court, as chief justice succeeding Taft.
- The others being Harlan Fiske Stone and William Rehnquist.
- In one of which Secretary Knox was said to be a major stockholder. See Coletta 1973, p. 188.
- Son of the late president
- 198 U.S. 45 (1905)
- The "Bull Moose Party", named by Roosevelt's comment he felt as strong as a young bull moose
- Sherman is the most recent U.S. vice president to die in office.
- Taft's eight electoral votes set a record for electoral vote futility by a Republican candidate, a record subsequently matched by Alf Landon in 1936.
- Pringle vol 1, pp. 393–395.
- Pringle vol 1, p. 395.
- Coletta 1973, p. 45.
- Pringle vol 1, pp. 383–387.
- Coletta 1973, p. 50.
- "James S. Sherman, 27th Vice President (1909-1912)". United States Senate. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
- Rouse, Robert (March 15, 2006). "Happy Anniversary to the first scheduled presidential press conference – 93 years young!". American Chronicle.
- Anderson 1973, p. 60.
- Anderson 2000, p. 332.
- Lurie, p. 121.
- Lurie, pp. 123–127.
- Lurie, pp. 127–128.
- Anderson 2000, pp. 339–340.
- Galloway, Jr., Russell Wl (1 January 1985). "The Taft Court (1921-29)". Santa Clara Law Review. 25 (1): 1–2. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
- "Biographical Dictionary of the Federal Judiciary". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved February 13, 2016. searches run from page, "select research categories" then check "court type" and "nominating president", then select the court type and also William H. Taft.
- "Commerce Court, 1910–1913". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
- Anderson 1973, p. 68.
- Anderson 1973, p. 71.
- Scholes and Scholes, p. 25.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 183–185.
- Anderson 1973, pp. 276–278.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 141–152.
- Pringle vol 2, pp. 593–595.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 185, 190.
- Anderson 1973, p. 271.
- Burton 2004, p. 70.
- Burton 2004, p. 72.
- Harris 2009, pp. 1–2.
- Burton 2004, pp. 66–67.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 187–190.
- Burton 2004, pp. 67–69.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 186–187.
- Scholes and Scholes, p. 109.
- Scholes and Scholes, pp. 21–23.
- Anderson 1973, pp. 250–255.
- Scholes and Scholes, pp. 126–129.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 194–195.
- Coletta 1973, p. 196.
- Scholes and Scholes, pp. 217–221.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 198–199.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 199–200.
- Scholes and Scholes, pp. 19–21.
- Burton 2004, pp. 82–83.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 168–169.
- Sprout, Harold Hance; Sprout, Margaret (8 December 2015). Rise of American Naval Power. Princeton University Press. pp. 286–288.
- Lurie, pp. 102–103.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 56–58.
- Korzi, pp. 307-308.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 60–65.
- Korzi, pp. 308-309.
- Anderson 1973, pp. 102–108.
- Huckabee, David C. (September 30, 1997). "Ratification of Amendments to the U.S. Constitution" (PDF). Congressional Research Service reports. Washington D.C.: Congressional Research Service, The Library of Congress.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 65–71.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 154–157.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 157–159.
- Lurie, pp. 145–147.
- Lurie, p. 149.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 160–163.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 77–82.
- Pringle vol 1, pp. 483–485.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 85–86, 89.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 89–92.
- Pringle vol 1, p. 510.
- Lurie, p. 113.
- Pringle vol 1, pp. 507–509.
- Coletta 1973, p. 94.
- Pringle vol 1, pp. 509–513.
- Harlan, Louis R. (1983). Booker T. Washington : Volume 2: The Wizard Of Tuskegee, 1901–1915. USA,: Oxford University Press. p. 341. ISBN 0-19-972909-3.
- Coletta 1973, p. 30.
- Coletta 1973, p. 28.
- Linthicum, Leslie (October 23, 2013). "New Mexico's path to statehood often faltered". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
- Bommersbach, Jana (February 13, 2012). "How Arizona almost didn't become a state". Arizona Central. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
- Anderson 1973, p. 37.
- Pringle vol 1, pp. 321–322.
- Pringle vol 1, pp. 337–338.
- Morris, pp. 523–526.
- Pringle vol 1, p. 347.
- Pringle vol 1, pp. 348–353.
- Coletta 1973, p. 15.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 15–16.
- Morris, p. 529.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 16–18.
- Anderson 1973, p. 45.
- Morris, pp. 524–525.
- Pringle vol 1, pp. 358–360.
- Lurie, p. 136.
- Pringle vol 1, pp. 374–376.
- Anderson 1973, p. 57.
- Anderson 1973, p. 58.
- Coletta 1973, p. 19.
- Busch, Andrew (1999). Horses in Midstream. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 84–87.
- Pringle vol 2, pp. 569–579.
- Korzi, pp. 310-311.
- Lurie, pp. 129–130.
- Murphy, pp. 110–113.
- Korzi, pp. 309-310.
- Murphy, pp. 117–119.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 222–225.
- Pavord, pp. 635–640.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 226–230.
- Lurie, p. 157.
- Anderson 1973, pp. 183–185.
- Korzi, pp. 313-315.
- Lurie, p. 158.
- Hawley, p. 208.
- Lurie, pp. 163–166.
- Hawley, p. 209.
- Lurie, p. 166.
- Gould 2008, p. 72.
- Dean, pp. 29–30.
- Pavord, p. 643.
- Anderson 1973, p. 193.
- Bomboy, Scott (February 6, 2013). "Clearing Up the William Howard Taft Bathtub Myth". National Constitution Center. Retrieved May 29, 2016.
- Hawley, pp. 213–218.
- Milkis, Sidney M. (June 11, 2012). "The Transformation of American Democracy: Teddy Roosevelt, the 1912 Election, and the Progressive Party". First Principles Series Report #43 on Political Thought. The Heritage Foundation.
- Pringle vol 2, pp. 832–835.
- Lurie, pp. 169–171.
- Pringle vol 2, pp. 836–841.
- Gould 2008, pp. 132, 176.
- Lurie, pp. 196–197.
- Mason, p. 36.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 259, 264–265.
- Anderson 1982, p. 27.
- Coletta 1973, p. 266.
- Coletta 1973, p. 260.
- Coletta 1973, p. 265.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 262–263.
- Anderson 1982, pp. 30–32.
- Coletta 1973, p. 290.
- Coletta 1973, pp. 255–256.
- Lurie, p. 198.
- Gould 2014, pp. 3–4.
- Anderson 2000, p. 345.
- Anderson, Donald F. (1973). William Howard Taft: A Conservative's Conception of the Presidency. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-0786-4.
- Anderson, Donald F. (Winter 1982). "The Legacy of William Howard Taft". Presidential Studies Quarterly. 12: 26–33. JSTOR 27547774.
- Anderson, Donald F. (Winter 2000). "Building National Consensus: The Career of William Howard Taft". University of Cincinnati Law Review. 68: 323–356.
- Burton, David H. (2004). William Howard Taft, Confident Peacemaker. Philadelphia: Saint Joseph's University Press. ISBN 0-916101-51-7.
- Coletta, Paolo Enrico (1973). The Presidency of William Howard Taft. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.
- Dean, John W. (2004). Warren Harding (Kindle ed.). Henry Holt and Co. ISBN 0-8050-6956-9.
- Gould, Lewis L. (2014). Chief Executive to Chief Justice:Taft Betwixt the White House and Supreme Court. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 978-0-7006-2001-2.
- Gould, Lewis L. (2008). Four Hats in the Ring: The 1912 Election and the Birth of Modern American Politics. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 978-0-7006-1564-3.
- Harris, Charles H. III; Sadler, Louis R. (2009). The Secret War in El Paso: Mexican Revolutionary Intrigue, 1906–1920. Albuquerque, New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 978-0-8263-4652-0.
- Hawley, Joshua David (2008). Theodore Roosevelt: Preacher of Righteousness. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-14514-4.
- Korzi, Michael J. (June 2003). "Our Chief Magistrate and His Powers: A Reconsideration of William Howard Taft's "Whig" Theory of Presidential Leadership". Presidential Studies Quarterly. 33 (2): 305–324.
- Lurie, Jonathan (2011). William Howard Taft: Progressive Conservative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-51421-7.
- Mason, Alpheus Thomas (January 1969). "President by Chance, Chief Justice by Choice". American Bar Association Journal. 55 (1): 35–39. JSTOR 25724643.
- Morris, Edmund (2001). Theodore Rex. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-394-55509-6.
- Murphy, John (1995). "'Back to the Constitution': Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and Republican Party Division 1910–1912". Irish Journal of American Studies. 4: 109–126. JSTOR 30003333.
- Pavord, Andrew C. (Summer 1996). "The Gamble for Power: Theodore Roosevelt's Decision to Run for the Presidency in 1912". Presidential Studies Quarterly. 26 (3): 633–647. JSTOR 27551622.
- Pringle, Henry F. (1939). The Life and Times of William Howard Taft: A Biography. 1 (2008 reprint ed.). Newtown, CT: American Political Biography Press. ISBN 978-0-945707-20-2.
- Pringle, Henry F. (1939). The Life and Times of William Howard Taft: A Biography. 2 (2008 reprint ed.). Newtown, CT: American Political Biography Press. ISBN 978-0-945707-19-6.
- Scholes, Walter V; Scholes, Marie V. (1970). The Foreign Policies of the Taft Administration. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press. ISBN 0-8262-0094-X.
Primary sources and year books
[New International year book: 1909]
- Text of a number of Taft speeches, Miller Center of Public Affairs
- Audio clips of Taft's speeches, Michigan State University Libraries
- William Howard Taft: A Resource Guide from the Library of Congress
- Extensive essay on William Howard Taft and shorter essays on each member of his cabinet and the First Lady – Miller Center of Public Affairs
- "Life Portrait of William Howard Taft", from C-SPAN's American Presidents: Life Portraits, September 6, 1999
- "Growing into Public Service: William Howard Taft's Boyhood Home", a National Park Service Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) lesson plan
- Presidency of William Howard Taft at DMOZ
- Works by or about Presidency of William Howard Taft at Internet Archive
- Presidency of William Howard Taft at the Internet Movie Database
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