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William Howard Taft: The American Presidents Series: The 27th President, 1909-1913

William Howard Taft: The American Presidents Series: The 27th President, 1909-1913

(Book #27 in the American Presidents series)


Book Overview: William Howard Taft: The American Presidents Series: The 27th President, 1909-1913

The only man to serve as president and chief justice, who approached every decision in constitutional terms, defending the Founders' vision against new populist threats to American democracy: William Howard Taft.

William Howard Taft never wanted to be president and yearned instead to serve as chief justice of the United States. But despite his ambivalence about politics, the former federal judge found success in the executive branch as governor of the Philippines and secretary of war, and he won a resounding victory in the presidential election of 1908 as Theodore Roosevelt's handpicked successor.

In this provocative assessment, Jeffrey Rosen reveals Taft's crucial role in shaping how America balances populism against the rule of law. Taft approached each decision as president by asking whether it comported with the Constitution, seeking to put Roosevelt's activist executive orders on firm legal grounds. But unlike Roosevelt, who thought the president could do anything the Constitution didn't forbid, Taft insisted he could do only what the Constitution explicitly allowed. This led to a dramatic breach with Roosevelt in the historic election of 1912, which Taft viewed as a crusade to defend the Constitution against the demagogic populism of Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.

Nine years later, Taft achieved his lifelong dream when President Warren Harding appointed him chief justice, and during his years on the Court he promoted consensus among the justices and transformed the judiciary into a modern, fully equal branch. Though he had chafed in the White House as a judicial president, he thrived as a presidential chief justice.

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PublisherTimes Books
Publication Date2018-03-20
EditionFirst Edition
Dimensionsin x in x in
Weight lbs
Jeffrey Rosen is a profoundly respected American academic, author, and journalist. Currently dictating as the President and CEO of the National Constitution Center, he's also a Professor of Law at The George Washington University Law School. His intellectual influence extends deeply into the societal understanding of constitutional law, reflecting through his vast outreach. An enriching addition to the literary world, Rosen authored six noteworthy books, focusing primarily on law, history, and the Supreme Court. His work elucidates complex legal concepts and compellingly narrates America's legal history. His knack for presenting accessible scholarship garnered him widespread acclaim. Furthermore, his informed journalism has seen publication in esteemed outlets such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Atlantic. Jeffrey Rosen's extensive background in academia and journalism has lent him a unique voice, and his insightful investigations into American constitutional law have indelibly molded public discourse. His substantial contributions in the form of books and articles make him a perceptive and esteemed figure in law and journalism.

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