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President Taft is Stuck in the Bath by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

Fun Presidential Facts – William Howard Taft

Here are some quick facts, opinions, quotes and other information on President William Howard Taft:

 

Personal Information on William Howard Taft:

  • Twenty-Seventh (1909-1913)
  • Date of Death: March 8, 1930 (Saturday)
  • Place of Death: Washington DC
  • Place of Burial: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia
  • Cause of Death: Heart disease
  • Age: 72 years old
  • Length of Retirement: 6213 days
  • Burial website: President William Howard Taft’s Grave

Interesting William Howard Taft facts:

  1. William Howard Taft was a big boy, pretty much all his life. When he graduated college he weighed 243 pounds. He would get near 350 pounds toward the end of his Presidency, easily the heaviest President. Sometimes he would diet and lose as much as 70 pounds. After the Presidency, he would loss weight and seemed to keep it off. A year before he died, he weighed 244 pounds, just one pound more than his college weight. Ten years before he died, Taft would walk with a cane. It was a gift from Professor of Geology WS Foster. The wood came from a tree that was estimated to be 250,000 years old.
  2. Much is made of the legend that President Taft got stuck in a tub at the White House. Most place the story happening on March 4, 1909, his inauguration day. Truth be told, no one is really sure, one way or the other, whether it actually happened. But evidence to support the claim abounds. Soon after “the event,” a huge bath tub was installed in the White House. It could easily fit four average size men very comfortably, or you could try to squeeze two more in and they would probably fit, too. It was seven feet long and three-and-a-half feet wide. In 1909, Taft had a “pond-like dimensions” tub installed on the battleship USS North Carolina for himself. In 1910, he had a giant tub placed on his private yacht, the Mayflower, which, by some accounts, was moved to another battleship, the USS Arkansas. Then in 1913 he commissioned an eight foot by four foot tub be installed in the Hotel Taft, where he would stay after he left the Presidency.
  3. William Howard Taft was one of eight Presidents born in Ohio. The others were: Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, McKinley, and Harding. Taft was one of six Presidents to die in Washington DC. The others were: John Quincy Adams, Taylor, Lincoln, Wilson, and Eisenhower.

My favorite William Howard Taft Quotes:

Politics makes me sick.
Don't write so that you can be understood, write so that you can't be misunderstood.
Presidents come and go, but the Supreme Court goes on forever.

Enthusiasm for a cause sometimes warps judgment.

I love judges, and I love courts. They are my ideals, that typify on earth what we shall meet hereafter in heaven under a just God.

I am afraid I am a constant disappointment to my party. The fact of the matter is, the longer I am president the less of a party man I seem to become.

The world is not going to be saved by legislation.

The President cannot make clouds to rain and cannot make the corn grow, he cannot make business good; although when these things occur, political parties do claim some credit for the good things that have happened in this way.

A government is for the benefit of all the people.

The trouble with me is that I like to talk too much.

I am president now, and tired of being kicked around.

William Howard Taft blogs (click the title to go to that page):

William Howard Taft page on Presidential Crossroads (click “William Howard Taft” below):

William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft Blogs:

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

Taft – Roosevelt feud – The election of 1912

What similar traits do I have with Presidents Garfield through Wilson

Personal thoughts on William Howard Taft:

Strengths:

Strong willed, Commanding force, Knew how to work the system

Weaknesses:

Stubborn, Not the best listener

Presidential Greatness Scale (1-poor to 5-great): 3.1

Comments:

From a personal standpoint, I really like William Howard Taft. He was a man who would always do what he thought needed to be done, even if it wasn’t something he wanted to do. He didn’t really want to be President, but his wife, Teddy Roosevelt, and others convinced him that he needed to be President. Teddy Roosevelt thought Taft has going to be his personal little puppet and seemed quite hurt when Taft developed a mind of his own. An example of this is conservation, a cause Teddy Roosevelt really took to heart. Where Roosevelt took matters in his own hand, through executive orders, Taft thought it should be handled through legislation. I whole-heartedly agree. I believe the Presidential executive orders are getting way out of hand. Taft also encouraged stronger ties with Eastern Asia, probably because he was a former Governor of the Philippines when we acquired that territory. He would also restructure the State Department. He would also pursue Roosevelt’s antitrust theme against big business. In fact, Taft would bring 70 antitrust cases up compared to 40 for Roosevelt. Taft would lend more on the side of free trade than protectionism. He would work to lower tariffs. To counter the lower tariffs, which was the biggest source of income funding for the federal government, Taft would bring about the dreaded income tax we now all face in April. Taft didn’t believe the government had the constitutional authority to institute the income tax, so he worked to get the 16th Amendment added to the Constitution so it would be legal. His Dollar Diplomacy for Latin America was not very well received in Latin America either. Taft also did very little for Civil Rights, and you might even say he set back Civil Rights progression that the Roosevelt administration had started. I really like Taft, the person, but his Presidency was a mixed bag. He didn’t really have any great accomplishments, but he didn’t really do anything to upset the apple cart either. He, in my opinion, was just an average President.

William Howard Taft - Progressive Conservative Leader by Filiquarian Publishing

William Howard Taft – Progressive Conservative Leader by Filiquarian Publishing

Favorite William Howard Taft book:

William Howard Taft, Progressive Conservative Leader by Filiquarian Publishing

Favorite William Howard Taft story:

Sorry, it’s not the story, if it really happened, of him getting stuck in a bath tub in the White House. My favorite Taft story is how he, at the end of his life, actually, finally, got what he really wanted: being Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Most memorable William Howard Taft memory:

Visiting Taft’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery.

Favorite William Howard Taft possession (see picture at the top):

The children’s book: President Taft is Stuck in the Bath by Mac Barnett (illustrated by Chris Van Dusen)

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