The 27th POTUS William Howard Taft was born on this day in 1857.
Ten Notes On William Howard Taft
1. Taft’s ambition was always to be a member of the United States Supreme Court. His wife Helen was more ambitious, she wanted her husband to be President. She won out first, William Howard Taft was hand chosen by President Theodore Roosevelt to replace him when TR decided not to run for re-election in 1908. In 1921 President Warren Harding nominated Taft to not to the US Supreme Court but to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. It would be a position he would hold until his death in 1930. He is the only POTUS who also served on the US Supreme Court.
2. Taft is remembered as being the heaviest POTUS but he did lose 80 pounds after becoming POTUS and became much more active. The most infamous story about Taft was his getting stuck in the bathtub at the White House and having to call staff members to come with butter to dislodge him from the tub. Again, he did lost 80 pounds after becoming president and his health became much better and his life was extended no doubt. Taft was tall, 6’2″ and although a big man was well proportioned.
3. President Taft was a baseball fan. He started the tradition of throwing out the first pitch on Opening Day of the baseball season. He is also credited with being the one who started the 7th inning stretch. In between the top of the 7th and the bottom of the 7th Taft stood up to stretch his legs. The fans at the ballgame thought he was getting up to leave so they stood up to.
4. William Howard Taft is the other POTUS buried in Arlington National Cemetary. JFK’s grave is always crowded, in the times I’ve visited Taft’s grave no one else was there.
5. Taft was not a very good politician. He was bad at remembering names and he had a knack for saying the wrong thing. He didn’t want to be POTUS in the first place. He wasn’t happy when he was in office. His happiest days were his time on the Supreme Court. His quote was “Presidents come and go, but the Court goes on forever.”
below- Supreme Court Chief Justice Taft, President Harding and Robert Todd Lincoln at the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial.
6. The Taft’s have had a political dynasty in the state of Ohio.WHT’S father Alphonso was Secretary of War and Attorney General under POTUS Grant. Taft’s son Robert was a leading U.S. Senator, the leading conservative of the Republican Party until his death in the early 1950’s. WHT’s other son Charles was Mayor of Cincinnati in the 1950’s. A grandson Robert Taft Jr was a U.S. Senator in the 1970’s and his great-grandson Robert Taft III was Governor of Ohio from 1999-2007.
below WHT’s son Senator Robert Taft
7. For a POTUS who only served one-term Taft was busy placing justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. He appointed 5ive. The most noteworthy was Charles Evans Hughes.
8. William Howard Taft easily won the 1908 Presidential Election. In 1912 though it was a different story. Former President Theodore Roosevelt, unhappy with his hand-picked successor ran again. Taft would get the Republican nomination but TR would run as a third-party candidate on the “Bull Moose Party” the Democratic nominee was Woodrow Wilson. With TR and Taft splitting the Republicans, Wilson won, TR second with Taft coming in third place.
9. William Howard Taft was the last POTUS with facial hair.
10.Taft graduated second in his class at Yale. He was 51 years old when he became POTUS. He died at age 72 in 1930.