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Setting the Stage

William Howard Taft's father, Alphonso, was prominent both in Cincinnati and the nation. By moving his family to Mount Auburn, a Cincinnati suburb, in 1851, he provided opportunities for his children that would lead to distinctive achievements. Based on the hard work and lofty civic ideals practiced in this upper middle-class setting, William Howard Taft set a course that led him to two of the highest offices in the land (first, as the 27th president of the United States, and later, as the 10th chief justice of the Supreme Court, appointed by President Warren G. Harding), thus carving out a special place in history as the only person to serve the country in both capacities.

William Howard Taft was born in the family home in Cincinnati on September 15, 1857, and lived there continuously until he went to Yale College in 1874. After graduating from Yale, he began a meteoric rise to national prominence. He loved the law and spent his life in positions where he could practice and live by principles of law. Because he worked hard and was an able administrator, Taft served in several appointed positions. When he became president in 1909, it was only the second time he had been elected to office, the first being in 1887 as a superior court judge in his native Cincinnati. His career should be remembered as one of excellence in public service for almost half a century.




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