Robert A. Taft
Portrait of Senator Robert A. Taft at his desk, 1949. Taft served as United States Senator from Ohio from 1939 until 1953 when he died in office. He was a candidate for the Republican nomination for President in 1940, 1944, 1948 and 1952.
Robert Alphonso Taft was a prominent United States Senator from Ohio in the mid-twentieth century.
Taft was born on September 8, 1889, in Cincinnati, Ohio. His father was William Howard Taft, a president of the United States. Robert Taft attended public schools in Cincinnati, as well as schools in Manila, Philippines, where his father was governor general, and the Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut. In 1910, he graduated from Yale University and then earned a law degree at Harvard University in 1913.
Upon graduating from Harvard, Taft practiced law in Cincinnati. He served as an assistant counsel to the United States Food Administration from 1917 to 1918. A member of the Republican Party, Taft embarked upon a political career, winning election to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1920. Taft held this office from 1921 to 1926, and he eventually rose to the rank of speaker and majority leader. During 1931 and 1932, he served in the Ohio Senate.
In 1938, Taft won election to the United States Senate. He served until 1953, winning reelection in 1944 and 1950. His greatest contribution in the Senate was his co-sponsorship of the Taft-Hartley Act, which limited the power of unions by banning "unfair" union practices, outlawed closed union shops, and permitted the federal government to seek federal court injunctions against unions if a strike threatened the national interest. Believing that they were socialistic, Taft also sought to end many of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs. In 1940, 1948, and 1952, Taft sought the Republican Party's presidential nomination, but was unsuccessful each time. His firm support of Republican issues led him to be nicknamed "Mr. Republican." Taft died on July 31, 1953, during his third Senate term.
- Patterson, James T. Mr. Republican: A Biography of Robert A. Taft. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1972.
- White, William. The Taft Story. New York, NY: Harper, 1954.