27th U.S. President: William Howard Taft

About the twenty-seventh President of the United States William Howard Taft, his birth, death, biography, description, facts and quotes.

27th President


Born: September 15, 1857, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Died: March 8, 1930, Washington, D.C.

Career: Son of former U.S. Attorney General, Yale graduate, prosecuting attorney in Cincinnati, superior court judge, U.S. solicitor general, Federal district judge, governor general of the Philippines, Secretary of War under Roosevelt. After his term in the White House, Taft served as a law professor at Yale, and then as chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Personal Life: Taft's lifelong ambition was to serve on the Supreme Court, and he had little interest in electoral politics. It was his imperious wife Nellie who forced him, against his better judgment, to accept the presidential nomination in 1908. Nellie was unable to enjoy the years in the White House, however; she suffered a severe stroke in 1909. During her slow recovery, the President lovingly taught her to speak again.

His Person: At 5'11", he weighed 220 lbs. when he graduated from Yale, and 325 lbs. when he became President. Frequently compared to a bison or a battleship. Famous smile beneath blond walrus moustache; his deep laugh called "the most effective chuckle in the history of politics."

Election: As the handpicked successor of the popular Theodore Roosevelt, Taft had little trouble winning nomination and election in 1908. He beat Democrat William Jennings Bryan 321 electoral votes to 162. Four years later, when he tried for reelection, Taft finished 3rd behind both Democrat Woodrow Wilson and the "Bullmoose" Progressive, his old friend Theodore Roosevelt.

Term of Office: March 4, 1909-March 4, 1913 (4 years).

Little-Known Facts: When Taft moved into the White House a special bathtub had to be built to accommodate him: It was large enough to hold 4 ordinary men. On several occasions while President, Taft fell asleep in public.

Quote from Taft:

"Politics, when I am in it, makes me sick."

Quotes about Him:

"It's very difficult for me to understand how a man who is so good as Chief Justice could have been so bad as President."--Justice Louis Brandeis

"Taft meant well, but he meant well feebly."

--Theodore Roosevelt

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