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William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857 â€“ March 8, 1930) was the 27th President of the United States and later the 10th Chief Justice of the United States.
Born in 1857 in Cincinnati, Ohio, into the powerful Taft family, Taft graduated from Yale College Phi Beta Kappa in 1878, and from Cincinnati Law School in 1880. Then he worked in a number of local legal positions until being appointed an Ohio Superior Court judge 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, then a political ally of Taft, appointed Taft Secretary of War to groom Taft as his successor to the presidency.
Riding a wave of popular support of President (and fellow Republican) Theodore Roosevelt, Taft won an easy victory in his 1908 bid for the presidency.
In his first and only term, President Taft's domestic agenda emphasized trust-busting, civil service reform, strengthening the Interstate Commerce Commission, improving the performance of the postal service, and passage of the Sixteenth Amendment. Abroad, Taft sought to further the economic development of undeveloped nations in Latin America and Asia through the method he termed "Dollar Diplomacy." However, Taft often alienated his own key constituencies, and was overwhelmingly defeated in his bid for a second term in the presidential election of 1912.
After leaving office, Taft spent his time in academia, arbitration, and the search for world peace through his self-founded League to Enforce Peace. In 1921, after the First World War, President Warren G. Harding appointed Taft Chief Justice of the United States. Taft served in this capacity until his death in 1930.
Weighing over 300 pounds on average, Taft was physically the heaviest American president ever elected.
[ ] Taft was 6' 0" tall, making his BMI at least about 40.7. Taft is also, to date, the last U.S. president to have facial hair while in office.
Taft was born on September 15, 1857, near Cincinnati, Ohio.
His mother, Louisa Torrey, was a graduate of Mount Holyoke College. His father, Alphonso Taft, came to Cincinnati in 1839 to open a law practice. Alphonso Taft was a prominent Republican and served as Secretary of War under President Ulysses S. Grant.
Taft was brought up in the Unitarian church and remained a faithful Unitarian his entire life (later in life he once remarked, "I do not believe in the divinity of Christ, and there are many other of the postulates of the orthodox creed to which I can not subscribe."). At age 18, he met his future wife, Helen Herron, in Cincinnati; she and Taft courted while he was away at college.
The William Howard Taft National Historic Site is the Taft boyhood home. The house in which he was born has been restored to its original appearance. It includes four period rooms reflecting family life during Taft's boyhood, and second-floor exhibits highlighting Taft's life.
Taft attended Woodward High School
and, like most of his family, attended Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut. At Yale, he was a member of the Linonian Society, a literary and debating society; Skull and Bones, the secret society co-founded by his father in 1832; the Beta chapter of the Psi Upsilon fraternity, and was made an honorary member of the Acacia Fraternity. Later in life he was also inducted into the Omicron-Omicron chapter of the secret society of Theta Nu Epsilon, after delivering the commencement address to the class of 1910 at Ohio Northern University. He was given the nickname "Big Lub" because of his size, but his college friends knew him by the nickname "Old Bill". Taft received jibes about his weight throughout his life: as Governor-General of the Philippines, Taft once sent a telegram to Washington, D.C. that read, "Went on a horse ride today; feeling good;" Secretary of War Elihu Root replied, "How's the horse?" In 1878, Taft graduated from Yale, ranking second in his class out of 121. After college, he attended Cincinnati Law School, graduating with a Bachelor of Laws in 1880. While in law school, he worked on the area newspaper ''The Cincinnati Commercial''.
After admission to the Ohio bar, Taft was appointed Assistant Prosecutor of Hamilton County, Ohio
, based in Cincinnati. In 1882, he was appointed local Collector of Internal Revenue. Taft married his longtime sweetheart, Helen Herron, in Cincinnati in 1886. In 1887, he was appointed a judge of the Ohio Superior Court. In 1890, President Benjamin Harrison appointed him Solicitor General of the United States. Taft then began serving on the newly created United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 1891. Taft was confirmed by the Senate on March 17, 1892, and received his commission that same day. In about 1893, Taft decided in favor of one or more patents for processing aluminium belonging to the Pittsburg Reduction Company, today known as Alcoa, who settled with the other party in 1903 and became for a short while the only aluminum producer in the U.S. Another of Taft's opinions was ''Addyston Pipe and Steel Company v. United States'' (1898). Along with his judgeship, between 1896 and 1900 Taft also served as the first dean and a professor of constitutional law at the University of Cincinnati.
In 1900, President William McKinley appointed Taft chairman of a commission to organize a civilian government in the Philippines which had been ceded to the United States by Spain following the Spanishâ€“American War and the 1898 Treaty of Paris.
Although Taft had been opposed to the annexation of the islands, and had told McKinley his real ambition was to become a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, he reluctantly accepted the appointment.
From 1901 to 1903, Taft served as the first civilian Governor-General of the Philippines, a position in which he was very popular with both Americans and Filipinos.
In 1902, Taft visited Rome to negotiate with Pope Leo XIII for the purchase of Philippine lands owned by the Roman Catholic Church. Taft then persuaded Congress to appropriate over $7 million to purchase these lands, which he sold to Filipinos on easy terms. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt offered Taft the seat on the Supreme Court to which he had for so long aspired, but he reluctantly declined since he viewed the Filipinos as not yet being capable of governing themselves and because of his popularity among them.
Secretary of War (1904â€“1908)
In 1904, Roosevelt appointed Taft as Secretary of War.
Roosevelt made the basic policy decisions regarding military affairs, using Taft as a well-traveled spokesman who campaigned for Roosevelt's reelection in 1904.
Taft met with the Emperor of Japan who alerted him of the probability of war with Russia. In 1905, Taft met with Japanese Prime Minister Katsura TarĹŤ. At that meeting, the two signed a secret diplomatic memorandum now called the Taft-Katsura Agreement.
In 1906, President Roosevelt sent troops to restore order in Cuba during the revolt led by General Enrique Loynaz del Castillo, and Taft temporarily became the Civil Governor of Cuba, personally negotiating with Castillo for a peaceful end to the revolt. In 1907, Taft helped supervise the beginning of construction on the Panama Canal.
Taft had repeatedly told Roosevelt he wanted to be Chief Justice, not President (and not an associate justice), but there was no vacancy and Roosevelt had other plans. He gave Taft more responsibilities along with the Philippines and the Panama Canal. For a while, Taft was Acting Secretary of State. When Roosevelt was away, Taft was, in effect, the Acting President. While Taft was Secretary of War, he authorized the confinement of a military thief to Fort Leavenworth's United States Disciplinary Barracks; this thief was serial killer Carl Panzram, who burglarized Taft's New Haven, Connecticut home in 1920 and stole a pistol with which he committed several murders.
Presidential election of 1908
After serving for nearly two full terms, the popular Theodore Roosevelt refused to run in the election of 1908. Roosevelt certified Taft as a genuine "progressive" in 1908, and pushed through the nomination of his Secretary of War for the presidency. At age 51, and after a legal and political career of more than 20 years, Taft ran in an election for the first time.
His opponent was William Jennings Bryan, who had run for president twice before, in 1896 and in 1900 against William McKinley.
During the campaign, Taft undercut Bryan's liberal support by accepting some of his reformist ideas, and Roosevelt's progressive policies blurred the distinctions between the parties. Bryan, on the other hand, ran a vigorous campaign against the nation's business elite. In the end, Taft won by a comfortable margin, giving Bryan his worst loss in three presidential campaigns.
Taft fought for the prosecution of trusts (eventually issuing 80 lawsuits), further strengthened the Interstate Commerce Commission, established a postal savings bank and a parcel post system, and expanded the civil service. He supported the 16th Amendment, which allowed for a federal income tax, and the 17th Amendment, mandating the direct election of senators by the people, replacing the previous system whereby they were selected by state legislatures.
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 the previous president had done.
When a reporter informed him he was no Teddy Roosevelt, Taft replied that his goal was to "try to accomplish just as much without any noise".
Taft considered himself a "progressive" because of his deep belief in "The Law" as the scientific device that should be used by judges to solve society's problems. Taft proved a less adroit politician than Roosevelt and seemed to lack the energy and personal magnetism of his mentor, not to mention the publicity devices, the dedicated supporters, and the broad base of public support that made Roosevelt so formidable. When Roosevelt realized that lowering the tariff would risk severe tensions inside the Republican Party, pitting producers (manufacturers and farmers) against department stores and consumers, he stopped talking about the issue. Taft ignored the risks and tackled the tariff boldly, on the one hand encouraging reformers to fight for lower rates, then on the other hand cutting deals with conservative leaders that kept overall rates high. The resulting Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act of 1909 was too high for most reformers, but instead of blaming this on Senator Nelson W. Aldrich and big business, Taft took credit, calling it the best bill to come from the Republican Party. Again, he had managed to alienate all sides.
Unlike Roosevelt, Taft never attacked business or businessmen in his rhetoric. However, he was attentive to the law, so he launched 80 antitrust suits, including one against the country's largest corporation, U.S. Steel, for an acquisition that Roosevelt personally had approved. As a result, Taft lost the support of antitrust reformers (who disliked his conservative rhetoric), of big business (which disliked his actions), and of Roosevelt, who felt humiliated by his protĂ©gĂ©.
Progressives within the Republican party began to agitate against Taft. Senator Robert LaFollette of Wisconsin created the National Progressive Republican League to replace Taft at the national level; his campaign crashed after a disastrous speech. Most of LaFollette's supporters went over to Roosevelt, leaving LaFollette embittered and alone. More trouble came when Taft fired Gifford Pinchot, a leading conservationist and close ally of Roosevelt. Pinchot alleged that Taft's Secretary of Interior Richard Achilles Ballinger was in league with big timber interests. Conservationists sided with Pinchot, and Taft alienated yet another vocal constituency with the Pinchot-Ballinger Affair..
Taft actively pursued what he termed "Dollar Diplomacy" to further the economic development of less-developed nations of Latin America and Asia through American investment in their infrastructures.
Throughout the early part of his presidency, he had difficulties with Nicaragua. When the United States shifted its interests to Panama to build a canal, Nicaraguan President JosĂ© Santos Zelaya negotiated with Germany and Japan in an unsuccessful effort to have a canal constructed in his country. The Zelaya administration had growing friction with the United States government, which started giving aid to his Conservative opponents in Nicaragua. In 1907, U.S. warships seized several of Nicaragua's seaports. In early December, United States Marines landed on Nicaragua's Caribbean Sea coast. On December 17, 1909, Zelaya resigned and left for exile in Mexico. The U.S.-sponsored conservative regime of Adolfo DĂaz was installed in his place. Military invasions with marine landings took place in 1910 and 1912, and the Marines stayed in Nicaragua through 1925.
One of Taft's main goals while President was to further the idea of world peace. Given his judicial sensibilities, he believed that international arbitration was the best means to effect the end of war on Earth. As a result, he championed several reciprocity and arbitration treaties. In 1910, he persuaded congressional Democrats to support a reciprocity, or free trade, treaty with Canada, but the Liberal Canadian government of Sir Wilfrid Laurier that negotiated the treaty was turned out of office in 1911 and the treaty collapsed (a US-Canada reciprocity treaty would not come into effect until 1988). In 1910 and 1911, however, Taft secured the ratification of arbitration treaties that he had successfully negotiated with Britain and France, and thereafter was known as one of the foremost advocates of world peace and arbitration.
To solve an impasse during the 1909 tariff debate, Taft proposed income taxes for corporations and a constitutional amendment to remove the apportionment requirement for taxes on incomes from property (taxes on dividends, interest, and rents), on June 16, 1909. His proposed tax on corporate net income was 1% on net profits over $5,000. It was designated an excise on the privilege of doing business as a corporation whose stockholders enjoyed the privilege of limited liability, and not a tax on incomes as such. In 1911, the Supreme Court, in ''Flint v. Stone Tracy Co.'', upheld the tax. Receipts grew from $21 million in the fiscal year 1910 to $34.8 million in 1912.
In July 1909, a proposed amendment to remove the apportionment requirement was passed unanimously in the Senate and by a vote of 318 to 14 in the House. It was quickly ratified by the states, and on February 3, 1913, it became a part of the Constitution as the Sixteenth Amendment, just as Taft was leaving office.
Taft was reluctant to use federal authority to enforce the 15th amendment to the U.S. Constitution that allowed African Americans the right to vote. As a result, Jim Crow laws that prevented African Americans from voting were enforced by state governments. Lynching by Whites was severely inflicted on African Americans throughout the country at the time, however, Taft did nothing to prohibit the practice. Taft publically endorsed that African Americans were inferior to Whites.
Taft and Roosevelt were bitter enemies in the 1912 election
On his return from Europe, Roosevelt broke with Taft in one of the most dramatic political feuds of the 20th century. To the surprise of observers who thought Roosevelt had unstoppable momentum, Taft outmaneuvered Roosevelt and Senator Robert M. La Follette, Sr., seized control of the GOP, and forced both out of the party. The main issue in 1911â€“12 was independence of the judiciary, which Roosevelt denounced. Most lawyers in the GOP supported Taft, including many of Roosevelt's key supporters like Elihu Root, Henry L. Stimson, and Roosevelt's own son-in-law, Nicholas Longworth. In lining up delegates for the 1912 nomination, Taft outmaneuvered Roosevelt, who had started much too late, and kept control of the Republican party.
1912 was the first year that some delegates were determined through primary elections, which were seen as a way to take power away from party bosses and put it into the hands of the people. Out of the 14 Republican primaries held, Roosevelt won nine, while Taft won only three. (Robert LaFollette won the other 2.) Nevertheless, Taft had the delegates, and won the nomination at the Republican nominating convention in Chicago.
Because he had not secured the Republican nomination, Roosevelt was forced to create the Progressive Party (or "Bull Moose") ticket, splitting the Republican vote in the 1912 election. Woodrow Wilson, the Democrat, was elected, although many historians argue that Wilson would have won anyway, because the Republican factions would not support each other. Taft won the mere eight electoral votes of Utah and Vermont, making his the single worst defeat in American history for an incumbent President seeking reelection; he finished not even second, but third, behind both Wilson and Roosevelt.
In spite of his failure to be re-elected, however, Taft achieved what he felt were his main goals as President: keeping permanent control of the party and keeping the courts sacrosanct until they were next threatened. It also should be noted that while the strife during the election of 1912 devastated the once very close friendship between Taft and Theodore Roosevelt, the two eventually did reconcile not long before Roosevelt's death in 1919.
Administration and cabinet
During his presidency, Taft appointed the following Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States:
*Horace Harmon Lurton â€” 1910
:Lurton had served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit with Taft, and Taft's attorney general said that at 66 he was too old to become a Supreme Court justice, but Taft had always admired Lurton. According to the ''Complete Book of U.S. Presidents'' (2001 edition), Taft later said that "the chief pleasure of my administration" was the appointment of Lurton.
*Charles Evans Hughes â€” 1910
:Even though Hughes resigned in 1916 to run in the presidential election that year, he became Taft's successor as Chief Justice.
*Edward Douglass White â€” Chief Justice â€” 1910
:Already on the Court as an associate justice since 1894, White was the first Chief Justice to be elevated from an associate justiceship since President George Washington appointed John Rutledge to Chief Justice in 1795. Taft succeeded White as Chief Justice in 1921.
*Willis Van Devanter â€” 1911
*Joseph Rucker Lamar â€” 1911
*Mahlon Pitney â€” 1912
Taft's six appointments to the Court rank (in number) third only to those of George Washington (who appointed the entire Court - but a smaller panel - as the first President), and of Franklin D. Roosevelt (who was president for just over twelve years); as well, Taft's appointment of five new justices tied the number appointed by both Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln. Four of Taft's appointees were relatively young, aged 48, 51, 53, and 54.
The appointments of Edward Douglass White and Charles Evans Hughes also are notable because Taft essentially appointed both his predecessor and successor Chief Justices, respectively. Hughes initially was appointed an Associate Justice, but later resigned to run for the Republican Party's presidential candidate in the 1916 election, which he would lose. President Herbert Hoover renominated Hughes to the Supreme Court as Chief Justice following Taft's retirement.
Besides his Supreme Court appointments, Taft appointed thirteen judges to the United States Courts of Appeals, and 38 judges to the United States district courts. Taft also appointed judges to various specialty courts, including the first five appointees each to the to the United States Commerce Court and the United States Court of Customs Appeals. The Commerce Court was abolished in 1913; Taft was thus the only President to appoint judges to that body.
States admitted to the Union
*New Mexico: January 6, 1912
*Arizona: February 14, 1912. Taft had opposed the admission of Arizona owing to what he viewed as defects in its judicial system.
Upon leaving the White House in 1913, Taft was appointed the Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and Legal History at Yale Law School.
Upon his appointment, the Yale Chapter of the Acacia Fraternity made him an honorary member. At the same time, Taft was elected president of the American Bar Association. He spent much of his time writing newspaper articles and books, most notably his series on American legal philosophy. He was a vigorous opponent of prohibition in the United States, predicting the undesirable situation that the Eighteenth Amendment and prohibition would create. He also continued to advocate world peace through international arbitration, urging nations to enter into arbitration treaties with each other and promoting the idea of a League of Nations even before the First World War began.
When World War I did break out in Europe in 1914, however, Taft founded the League to Enforce Peace. He was a co-chairman of the powerful National War Labor Board between 1917 and 1918. Although he continually advocated peace, he strongly favored conscription once the United States entered the War, pleading publicly that the United States not fight a "finicky" war. He feared the war would be long, but was for fighting it out to a finish, given what he viewed as "Germany's brutality."
Chief Justice, 1921-1930
On June 30, 1921, following the death of Chief Justice Edward Douglass White, President Warren G. Harding nominated Taft to take his place, thereby fulfilling Taft's lifelong ambition to become Chief Justice of the United States. There was little opposition to the nomination, and the Senate approved him 60-4 in a secret session on the day of his nomination, but the roll call of the vote has never been made public. Taft received his commission immediately and readily took up the position, serving until 1930. As such, he became the only President to serve as Chief Justice, and thus is also the only former President to swear in subsequent Presidents, giving the oath of office to both Calvin Coolidge (in 1925) and Herbert Hoover (in 1929).
Taft remains the only person to have led both the Executive and Judicial branches of the United States government. He considered his time as Chief Justice to be the highest point of his career; allegedly, he once remarked "I do not remember that I was ever President".
In 1922, Taft traveled to Great Britain to study the procedural structure of the English courts and to learn how they dropped such a large number of cases quickly. During the trip, King George V and Queen Mary received Taft and his wife as state visitors.
With what he had learned in England, Taft decided to advocate the introduction passage of the Judiciary Act of 1925 (often called the "Judges Bill"), which shifts the Supreme Court's appellate jurisdiction to be exercisable principally on review upon litigants' petitioning to be granted an appeal. The Court then has the power to accept or deny an appeal. Thereby, the Supreme Court is empowered to give preference to cases of national importance, and it allows the Court to work more efficiently (see also writ of certiorari).
Besides giving the Supreme Court more control over its docket, supporting new legislation, and organizing the Judicial Conference, Taft gave the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice general supervisory power over the scattered and disorganized federal courts.
The legislation also brought the courts of the District of Columbia and of the Territories (and soon, the Commonwealths of the Philippines and Puerto Rico) into the Federal Court system, uniting the courts for the first time as an independent third branch of government (contrary to the British model) under the administrative supervision of the Chief Justice of the United States. Taft was also the first Justice to employ two full-time law clerks to assist him.
In 1929, Taft successfully argued in favor of the construction of the first separate and roomy United States Supreme Court building (the one that is still in use now), reasoning that the Supreme Court needed to distance itself from the Congress as a separate branch of the Federal Government. Until then, the Court had heard cases in Old Senate Chamber of the Capitol Building. The Justices had no private chambers there, and their conferences were held in a room in the Capitol's basement. Unfortunately, Chief Justice Taft did not live to see the Supreme Court's new building's completion, which took until in 1935.
:''See also: List of United States Supreme Court cases by the Taft Court''
While Chief Justice, Taft wrote the opinion for the Court in 256 cases out of the Court's ever-growing caseload. His philosophy of constitutional interpretation was essentially historical contextualism. Some of his more notable opinions include:
*''Balzac v. Porto Rico'', (opinion for the Court)
** Ruling that the Fourteenth Amendment did not apply the criminal provisions of the Bill of Rights to overseas territories. This was one of the more famous of the "Insular Cases."
*''Bailey v. Drexel Furniture Co.'', (opinion for the Court)
** Holding the 1919 Child Labor Tax Law unconstitutional.
*''Hill v. Wallace'', (opinion for the Court)
** Holding the Future Trading Act an unconstitutional use of Congress' taxing power
*''Adkins v. Children's Hospital'', (dissenting opinion)
** Disapproving of the Court's upholding of ''Lochner v. New York''. In 1937, the Supreme Court agreed with Taft and overruled this decision permanently.
*''Board of Trade of City of Chicago v. Olsen'', (opinion for the Court)
** Upholding the constitutionality of the Grain Futures Act under the Commerce Clause
*''Ex Parte Grossman'', (opinion for the Court)
** Holding that the President's pardon power extends to pardoning people held for criminal contempt. While the Supreme Court rules provide for issuing writs of habeas corpus within the Court's original jurisdiction, Taft's opinion in ''Grossman'' was the last time the Court did so.
*''Carroll v. United States'', (opinion for the Court)
** Holding that police searches of automobiles without a warrant do not violate the Fourth Amendment when the police have probable cause to believe that contraband would be found in the automobile
*''Myers v. United States'', (opinion for the Court)
** Ruling that the President of the United States had the power to unilaterally dismiss Executive Branch appointees who had been confirmed by the Senate.
*''United States v. General Electric Co.'', (opinion for the Court)
** Ruling that a patentee who has granted a single license to a competitor to manufacture the patented product may lawfully fix the price at which the licensee may sell the product.
*''Lum v. Rice'', (opinion for the Court)
** Ruling that the Fourteenth Amendment did not prohibit Mississippi's prevention of Asian children attending white schools during racial segregation. This opinion was overruled by the Supreme Court in 1954.
*''Olmstead v. United States'', (opinion for the Court)
** Ruling that the judicial practice of excluding evidence obtained without a warrant was based on the Fourth Amendment's proscription on unreasonable search and seizure but did not apply to telephone wiretapping.
*''Wisconsin v. Illinois'', (opinion for the Court)
** Holding that the equitable power of the United States can be used to impose positive action on the states in a situation where non-action would result in damage to the interests of other states.
*''Old Colony Trust Co. v. Commissioner'', (opinion for the Court)
** Holding that where a third party pays the income tax owed by an individual, the amount of tax paid constitutes additional income to the taxpayer.
Evidence from eyewitnesses, and from Taft himself, strongly suggests that during his presidency he had severe obstructive sleep apnea as a result of his obesity. Within a year of leaving the presidency, Taft lost approximately 80 pounds (32 kg). His somnolence problem resolved and, less obviously, his systolic blood pressure dropped 40â€“50 mmHg (from 210 mmHg). Undoubtedly, this weight loss extended his life. Soon after his weight loss he had a revival of interest in the outdoors; this led him to explore Alaska. Beginning in 1920, Taft used a cane; this was a gift from Professor of Geology W.S. Foster, and was made of 250,000-year-old wood.
Death and legacy
Taft retired as Chief Justice on February 3, 1930, because of ill health. He was succeeded by Charles Evans Hughes whom he had appointed to the Court while president.
Five weeks following his retirement, Taft died, on March 8, 1930. Three days later, on March 11, he became the first president to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
[ [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=1014 William Howard Taft memorial at] Find a Grave.] His grave marker was sculpted by James Earle Fraser out of Stony Creek granite. [ Taft is one of two presidents buried at Arlington National Cemetery, the other being John F. Kennedy, and he is one of four Chief Justices buried at Arlington, the others being Earl Warren, Warren E. Burger, and William Rehnquist. Since he had also served as President, Taft was the only Chief Justice to have had a state funeral.]
In 1938, a third generation of the Taft family entered the national political stage with the election of the former President's oldest son Robert A. Taft I to the United States Senate representing Ohio; he continued in office as a senator until his death in 1953. President Taft's other son, Charles Phelps Taft II, served as the mayor of Cincinnati from 1955 to 1957.
Two more generations of the Taft family later entered politics. The President's grandson, Robert Taft, Jr., served a term as a Senator from Ohio from 1971 to 1977, and the President's great-grandson, Robert A. Taft II, served as the Governor of Ohio from 1999 to 2007. William Howard Taft III was the U.S. ambassador to Ireland from 1953 to 1957.
William Howard Taft IV, currently in private law practice, was the general counsel in the former United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in the 1970s, was the Deputy Secretary of Defense under Caspar Weinberger and Frank Carlucci in the 1980s, and acted as the United States Secretary of Defense during its vacancy from January to March 1989. In addition, he was a high-level official in the United States Department of State from 2000 to 2006.
President Taft's enduring legacy includes many things named after him. Some of these are the courthouse of the Ohio Court of Appeals for the First District in Cincinnati, Ohio; streets in Cincinnati, Ohio, Arlington, Virginia and Manila, Philippines; a law school in Santa Ana, California,; and high schools in San Antonio, Texas, Woodland Hills, Chicago, and The Bronx. Taft, Eastern Samar, a town in the Philippines was named after him. After a fire burned much of the town of Moron, California, in the 1920s, it was renamed Taft, California, in his honor.