William Howard Taft

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William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857 – March 8, 1930) was the 27th President of the United States and later the 10th Chief Justice of the United States. He is the only person to have served in both offices.

Born in 1857 in Cincinnati, Ohio, into the powerful Taft family, "Big Bill" graduated from Yale College Phi Beta Kappa in 1878,[2] and from Cincinnati Law School in 1880. He worked in a number of local non-descript legal positions until he was tapped to serve on the Ohio Supreme Court 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 appointed Taft Secretary of War with the hope that he might groom Taft, his then close political ally, into his hand picked presidential successor.

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.[3]

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 shortly before his death in 1930.

Weighing over 300 pounds (140 kg) on average, Taft was physically the heaviest American president ever elected, and to date the last president to have sported facial hair.[4]

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