- Hardcover: 542 pages
- Publisher: American Political Biography Press (June 1, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0945707207
- ISBN-13: 978-0945707202
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.8 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #973,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Life & Times of William Howard Taft, Vol. 2
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A large part of the book involves the Taft-Roosevelt matter, from the 1910's through and after the election of 1912. Taft is portrayed as really trying to be the man of tact, and I have questions about the portrayal of everything by the author. But it is clear that this whole issue dominated Taft from the very start, when be was elected as being an heir to Roosevelt. And even after the defeat of 1912, the matter still lingered. But Taft felt no loss at not being President. After all, that was never his dream.
After defeat, Taft became a professor of Law at Yale, yet spent a large part of his time giving speeches. Considering all that was going on in the country at that time (i.e. WWI) there isn't much, but he did support the war effort. Perhaps a seminal event was when he was appointed to the National War Labor Board. Up to that point in his life, he really never knew what it was like to work in a factory. He did not seem to understand or appreciate that labor and management were not on equal footing. And as a judge (as outlined in Part I, he was quite pro-business in his rulings).
President Harding made his lifetime wish come true, when he got appointed as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. And what many would likely not know, is at those time, the Supreme Court ruled on a tremendous number of mundane issue, even to the point of contract law on trivial issues. And there was a massive backlog of cases arising from actions the government took in the war effort. So Taft threw himself fully into the job, and his management ability played a huge role. And a law was passed (Judiciary act of February 13, 1925) which gave the Supreme Court discretion over which cases to take.
The book takes note of a number of major cases during Taft's time. Taft wanted as much as possible unanimous decisions, and chafed at the extremes of men like Brandeis who were too liberal for his tastes. Taft wanted a solid conservative bench.