William Howard Taft Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1857 – 1930 *** Full Name: William Howard Taft *** Date of Birth (Birthday): He was born on September 15, 1857 *** Place of Birth: William Howard Taft was born near Cincinnati, Ohio *** Family background: His father practiced law *** Early life and childhood: William Howard Taft grew up and spent the majority of his life in Cincinatti *** Education: William Howard Taft began his education at Woodward High School *** William Howard Taft died on March 8, 1930.
William Howard Taft Fact 1: William Howard Taft was born on September 15, 1857 near Cincinnati, Ohio in the United States.
William Howard Taft Fact 2: His parents were called Alphonso Taft and Louisa Torry. His father opened a law practice in Cincinnati in 1839. He was a Republican, and Secretary of War and Attorney General under President Ulysses S. Grant.
William Howard Taft Fact 3: As a child, he regularly attended the Congregational-Unitarian Church in Cincinnati with his parents. He moved away from the area as he grew older, however, he still attended the church whenever he had an opportunity.
William Howard Taft Fact 4: He began his education in Cincinnati at Woodward High School. Following in the footsteps of other family members, he later attended Yale College in Connecticut. He was a bright student and when he graduated in 1878, he ranked 2nd out of a class of 121 students.
William Howard Taft Fact 5: Whilst studying at Yale College, he joined various societies including a debating society called the Linonian Society, and a secret society called Skull and Bones which was co-founded by his father.
William Howard Taft Fact 6: He enjoyed various sports including tennis, golf and horse riding. He was a good dancer despite his large frame. He used his size to his advantage and became an intramural heavyweight wrestling champion at Yale College.
William Howard Taft Fact 7: He was nicknamed 'Big Lub' during his days at Yale College due to his size. He was bigger than average for his age which sometimes resulted in him becoming the brunt of other people's jokes. However, he took it in his stride, rarely letting it get him down. His friends knew him as 'Old Bill'.
William Howard Taft Fact 8: After graduating from Yale College, he joined a Law School in Cincinnati. During this time, he worked for The Cincinnati Commercial; a local newspaper. He graduated from Law School in 1880 with a Bachelor of Laws.
William Howard Taft Fact 9: He married Helen Louise Herron in 1886 in Cincinnati, she had been his long-term girlfriend. The couple met at a bobsledding party when William was 22 and Helen was 18.William Howard Taft Fact 17: He left the White House in 1913 and returned to Yale Law School where he was appointed the Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and Legal History. He became a member of the Acacia Fraternity and he was also elected president of the American Bar Association. His time was spent writing books, and articles for newspapers.
William Howard Taft Fact 10: He became the youngest ever Solicitor General in 1890 when he was appointed Solicitor General of the United States by President Benjamin Harrison. In 1891, he served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
William Howard Taft Fact 11: He became chairman of a commission to organize a civilian government in the Philippines. He was appointed the position by President William McKinley. He reluctantly accepted as he didn't agree with the situation in the Philippines. He served as the first civilian Governor-General of the Philippines from 1901 to 1904. He was well liked by the Filipinos and the Americans.
William Howard Taft Fact 12: His dream was to become a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, and in 1903, he was offered the position by President Theodore Roosevelt. However, he rejected his proposal as he was dedicated to his work with the Filipino people and didn't feel that they were ready to govern themselves.
William Howard Taft Fact 13: He was appointed Secretary of War in 1904 by President Theodore Roosevelt. The position allowed him to remain connected with his work in the Philippines. He campaigned for the re-election of Roosevelt and became his spokesman. He was well respected by Roosevelt and he became Acting President in his absence. He dealt with major developments including the Panama Canal to which he oversaw its initially stages of construction.
William Howard Taft Fact 14: President Theodore Roosevelt announced that he would not be running for re-election in 1908. He decided that William Howard Taft should become his successor. The Republican Convention nominated him in 1908. William wasn't comfortable with the campaign that went on for four months but he felt that his loyalty lay with Roosevelt.
William Howard Taft Fact 15: He became the 27th President of the United States in 1909 and served until 1913. He did not greatly enjoy his time as President, he felt uncomfortable with press interviews and photography. He wanted to achieve as much as President Roosevelt but without the publicity.
William Howard Taft Fact 16: As President of the United States, his beliefs and way of working were very different to those of President Roosevelt. William Howard Taft was less creative and flexible as he was dedicated to law. The following quote describes his opinion on the matter, 'the President can exercise no power which cannot fairly be traced to some specific grant of power in the Constitution or act of Congress'.
William Howard Taft Fact 18: He became a co-chairman of the National War Labor Board in 1917. The purpose of the United States federal agency was to reach a settlement between the disputes of workers and employers during the war in order to increase productivity and reliability.
William Howard Taft Fact 19: He became Chief Justice of the United States in 1921. He took his oath of office on July 11, 1921 and remained in the position up until 5 weeks before his death in 1930. He enjoyed being Chief Justice and was greatly honoured by the position.
William Howard Taft Fact 20: He died on March 8, 1930 at the age of 72 years, following five weeks of experiencing problems such as hallucination and periods of semi-consciousness. The cause of death was cardiovascular disease. He was given a state funeral and buried at Arlington National Cemetery, the same cemetery as John F. Kennedy is buried.
Influence & Legacy: He was a well travelled man of great experience and accomplishments who became Secretary of War to President Theodore Roosevelt, taking care of major developments such as the supervision of the initial construction of the Panama Canal. He served as the 27th President of the United States from 1909-1913 and later as the Chief Justice of the United States from 1921 until 5 weeks before his death in 1930.
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