William Howard Taft: The Reluctant President

1820 words - 7 pages

The 27th President of the United States was born William Howard Taft on the 15th day of September, in the year 1857 to Alphonso and Louise Taft, of Cincinnati, Ohio. As he was the first of their sons to survive past infancy, his mother did not mind that he had outgrown all the baby clothes she had sown for him when he was only seven weeks old. Due to his large size he was given the nickname of “Lub” or “Lubber” which only fueled his desire to succeed in school and on the playing field. He later became to be known as the largest president in the history of United States, weighing in at 320 pounds. Although it was rumored that due to his large size he actually got stuck in the White House bath tub. It took six aides and a gallon of butter to dislodge his body from the bath tub. To date the White House has the largest bath tub in the United States in that it can hold four men. William went on to graduate high school in 1874, second in his class. He then enrolled in Yale University where he graduated second in his class in 1878. Taft had dreams of being an attorney and one day becoming the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, in pursuing this dream he enrolled in the University of Cincinnati Law School and graduated in 1880. No matter how hard he tried he could never seem to please his father, Alphonso Taft, who had been appointed

Secretary of War and Attorney General under President Ulysses S. Grant from 1876-77. William

loved the law and he loved sports as well. One day, he wanted to watch a Yale boat race instead

of studying, his father showed his disapproval by scolding him and telling him, in a round about

way that he wanted him to enjoy himself as long as he was a success in life. In other words, he

had not yet worked hard enough for a leisurely day at the boat races.

Taft met his future wife, Helen “Nellie” Herron, in 1879, when she invited him to attend

a book club she was hosting. They both shared a love for reading and books and soon fell in

love but there was no talk of marriage. Then in 1882 Williams’ father was appointed the judge

ambassador to Austria-Hungary and William was appointed the collector of Revenue for the first

district in Ohio, thus his political career seemed to be off to a good start. That is until he was

asked by the Republican Party to do something unethical and he refused. He resigned in

December and took a position at a law firm that was headed by a former associate of his dad.

The following summer he visited his parents in Austria and traveled about Europe but he

soon became anxious to return home as he could not stop thinking about Nellie. They courted

for a year before William finally asked her to marry him. They were married on June 19th in

1886. They honeymooned in France, England, and Scotland before settling down in

Cincinnati, OH. Nellie became the driving force behind William, pushing him into politics.

In 1900 president McKinley...

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