Harding and Taft: Making An Old Man Happy

Presidential History Blog

Every so often, dreams do come true. Even in politics

Ex-President Taft: A Public Career

William Howard Taft (1857-1932) spent his entire life in public service: as judge, as Solicitor General, as Governor of the Philippines, as Cabinet member and as President – the only job he claimed to have disliked.

When he retired from the presidency in 1913, he was at loose ends, both personally and financially. The prominent Taft family of Cincinnati, Ohio had always encouraged its favorite son/brother – even to a point of augmenting his pre-presidential salary, which was comfortable, but never opulent.

First Lady Helen Herron Taft shortly after Taft’s election.

In the nineteenth century, public servants, particularly those at a higher level (like a judge), were expected to contribute not only to the party that elected them, but to all the worthwhile civic causes: to wit, the old soldiers’ home, the opera house, the…

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