Taft

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The Taft Political Family

Based in: Ohio

Members: Alphonso Taft, William Howard Taft, Robert Alphonso Taft, Robert A. Taft, Jr., Robert A. Taft III

Alphonso Taft, the family patriarch, served briefly as Secretary of War in 1876 under Ulysses Grant, and then as Attorney General from 1876 until 1877. He later served as an Ambassador to Russia and to Austria-Hungary.

His son, William Howard Taft, first served as the civilian governor of Philippines from 1901 to 1904, and then as Secretary of War under Teddy Roosevelt (1904-1908). Roosevelt backed Taft for the Presidency in 1908. That November, Taft handily defeated William Jennings Bryan and became the 27th President of the US. He was defeated for re-election in 1912 by Woodrow Wilson when Roosevelt ran for President himself. In 1921, he was appointed by President Harding as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He stayed in that office until his death in 1930.

His son, Robert Alphonso Taft, was elected to the Senate in 1938, and was re-elected in 1944 and 1950. A staunch conservative nicknamed "Mr. Republican", Taft was a fierce opponent of the New Deal. He is best known as the co-author of the anti-labor Taft-Hartley act. He ran for the Republican nomination for President in 1940 (lost to Wendell Willkie), 1948 (withdrew in favor of Tom Dewey) and 1952 (lost to Eisenhower). He died in 1953.

Robert A. Taft Jr. served as a Congressman from Ohio from 1963 to 1965, and again from 1967 to 1971, and as a Senator from 1971 to 1976. Having lost to Howard Metzenbaum in the 1976 elections, he resigned before the end of the year.

His son Robert Taft III served as Ohio's Secretary of State (1991-1998), and is the current governor of that state (1999-present).

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