U.S. Presidents / William Taft

William Howard Taft

1857 - 1930

William Taft

Our international policy is always to promote peace. We shall enter into any war with a full consciousness of the awful consequences that it always entails,…and we, of course, shall make every effort consistent with national honor and the highest national interest to avoid a resort to arms. Inaugural Address


William Howard Taft faced the difficult task as President of living up to the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt. Taft so disappointed his predecessor, former mentor, and friend, that Roosevelt opposed his renomination in 1912 and bolted from the Republican Party to form his own "Bull-Moose" party, creating an opening for Democrat Woodrow Wilson in the 1912 presidential election. Taft's lifelong ambition was to serve as Chief Justice of the United States, to which he was appointed after leaving the presidency. He remains the only man in American history to have gained the highest executive and judicial positions.

Fast Facts

William Howard Taft
Cincinnati, Ohio
Yale College (graduated 1878), Cincinnati Law School (LL.B., 1880)
Lawyer, Public Official
June 19, 1886, to Helen Herron (1861–1943)
Robert Alphonso (1889–1953), Helen Herron (1891–1987), Charles Phelps (1897–1983)
Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia
Peri E. Arnold

Chicago Style

Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. “William Taft.” Accessed July 18, 2024. https://millercenter.org/president/taft.

Professor of Political Science

Peri E. Arnold

Professor Arnold is a professor emeritus in the Department of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame.