The William Howard Taft presidency /
Lewis L. Gould.
Lawrence : University Press of Kansas, 2009.
xv, 269 p.
0700616748 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780700616749 (cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
Lawrence : University Press of Kansas, 2009.
0700616748 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780700616749 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
"The man of the hour" in 1908 -- Being his own king -- The new president and his country -- A substantial revision downward : the Payne Aldrich Tariff -- The Ballinger Pinchot controversy -- Taft, Knox, and dollar diplomacy -- Taft and Congress, 1910 -- Taft, Roosevelt, and the 1910 election -- Taft as administrator -- Reciprocity, revolution, and arbitration -- Toward a break with Roosevelt -- "Roosevelt was my closest friend" -- The 1912 campaign -- Leaving the White House.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2010-08-01:
Sandwiched between the consequential presidencies of Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, Taft's single term merits scant mention in most textbooks. In this latest entry in Kansas's "American Presidency" series, Gould (emer., Univ. of Texas) provides a lucid account of Taft's stewardship that does not dislocate the standard wisdom. Through an impressive pre-presidential career, including service as governor general of the Philippines, Taft's judicial temperament served him well. Roosevelt respected Taft's competence and assumed he was politically more attuned to his political ideals than Taft really was. As president, Taft was no Roosevelt. He was, rather, a diligent albeit uninspired leader, lacking political savvy and rhetorical verve. On policy, Taft steered a more conservative course than Roosevelt would have, notably on environmental issues, budget matters, and judicial recall. On the tariff issue, he never achieved consistency. A rift with Roosevelt was, in this context, inevitable, leading to the dramatic campaign of 1912 that put Democrat Woodrow Wilson in the White House. While sympathetic to Taft, Gould makes no exaggerated claims for his political judgment or leadership skills, citing a "pervasive sense of lost opportunity," and concluding that Taft's was at best a "creditable" presidency. That judgment seems apt. Summing Up: Recommended. Undergraduate libraries. M. J. Birkner Gettysburg College
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Choice, August 2010
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Main Description
The only president to later serve as chief justice of the United States, William Howard Taft remarked in the 1920s that "I dont remember that I ever was President." Historians have agreed, and Taft is usually portrayed, when written about at all, as nothing more than a failed chief executive. In this provocative new study, the first treatment of the Taft presidency in four decades, Lewis L. Gould presents a compelling assessment of Tafts accomplishments and setbacks in office. Rich in human interest and fresh analysis of the events of Tafts four years in Washington, Goulds book shows why Tafts presidency is very much worth remembering on its own terms. Gould argues that Taft wanted to be president and had an ambitious agenda when he took power in March 1909. Approaching his duties more as a judge than as a charismatic executive in the mold of Theodore Roosevelt, Taft soon found himself out of step with public opinion. Gould shows how the Payne-Aldrich Tariff and the Ballinger-Pinchot controversy squandered Tafts political capital and prepared the ground for Democratic victories in the elections of 1910 and 1912. His seamless narrative provides innovative treatments of these crucial episodes to make Tafts presidency more understandable than in any previous account. On Canadian Reciprocity, Dollar Diplomacy, and international arbitration, Goulds well-researched work goes beyond earlier stale clichs about Tafts administration to link his tenure to the evolution of the modern presidency. Taft emerges as a hard-working but flawed executive who lacked the excitement of Theodore Roosevelt or the inspiration of Woodrow Wilson. The break with Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 doomed the Taft presidency, and Gould supplies an evenhanded analysis of the erosion of their once warm friendship. At bottom, the two men clashed about the nature of presidential power, and Gould traces with insight how this personal and ideological rupture influenced the future of the Republican party and the course of American politics. In Goulds skilled hands, this neglected presidency again comes alive. Leaving the White House in 1913, Taft wrote that "the people of the United States did not owe me another election." What his presidency deserved is the lively and wise appraisal of his record in office contained in this superb book.
Table of Contents
Publisher's Notep. vii
Forewordp. ix
Prefacep. xi
"The Man of the Hour" in 1908p. 1
Being His Own Kingp. 17
The New President and His Countryp. 35
Seeking Downward Revision: The Payne-Aldrich Tariffp. 51
The Ballinger-Pinchot Controversyp. 65
Taft, Knox, and Dollar Diplomacyp. 79
Taft and Congress, 1910p. 93
Taft, Roosevelt, and the 1910 Electionp. 107
Taft as Administratorp. 121
Reciprocity, Revolution, and Arbitrationp. 139
Toward a Break with Rooseveltp. 155
"Roosevelt Was My Closest Friend"p. 171
The 1912 Campaignp. 185
Leaving the White Housep. 201
Notesp. 247
Bibliographical Essayp. 261
Indexp. 261
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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