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1909 to 1913 - President William Howard Taft (Republican Party)

William Howard Taft was Theodore Roosevelt's hand-picked successor for the Presidency. His rise to power began when he was appointed to serve as a justice 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 in an effort to groom Taft, then his close political ally, into his handpicked presidential successor. Taft assumed a prominent role in problem solving, assuming on some occasions the role of acting Secretary of State, while declining repeated offers from Roosevelt to serve on the Supreme Court. Riding on Roosevelt's coat-tails, Taft won an easy victory in his 1908 bid for the presidency.

As President Taft met with and publicly endorsed African-American leader Booker T. Washington's program for advancing the cause of African-Americans. Taft advised Washington to tell his fellow African-Americans to stay out of politics. He emphasized the need for education and entrepreneurship as the keys for advancement of Washington's people. Aside from meeting with Washington and giving him the benefit of that free advice, Taft was too pre-occupied with other issues during his presidency to address any reform in this area. It's odd that civil rights for African-Americans was not of interest to Taft, considering that he went on to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Even in that role, he seemed to be more interested in issues such as property rights and the efficiency of the court as opposed to being any sort of leader in the field of civil rights. His biographies make virtually no mention of this issue and that says a lot.


#Presidents #1900s

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