Robert A. Taft

Robert Alphonso Taft Sr. (September 8, 1889 – July 31, 1953) was an American politician, lawyer, and scion of the Republican Party's Taft family. Taft represented Ohio in the United States Senate, briefly served as Senate Majority Leader, and was a leader of the conservative coalition of Republicans and conservative Democrats who prevented expansion of the New Deal. Often referred to as "Mr. Republican", he cosponsored the Taft–Hartley Act of 1947, which banned closed shops, created the concept of right-to-work states and regulated other labor practices.

Robert A. Taft
United States Senator
from Ohio
In office
January 3, 1939  July 31, 1953
Preceded byRobert J. Bulkley
Succeeded byThomas A. Burke
Senate Majority Leader
In office
January 3, 1953  July 31, 1953
DeputyLeverett Saltonstall
Preceded byErnest McFarland
Succeeded byWilliam Knowland
Chair of the Senate Republican Policy Committee
In office
January 3, 1947  January 3, 1953
LeaderWallace H. White Jr.
Kenneth S. Wherry
Styles Bridges
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byWilliam F. Knowland
Member of the Ohio Senate
In office
Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives
In office
January 15, 1926  January 2, 1927
Preceded byHarry D. Silver
Succeeded byO. C. Gray
Member of the Ohio House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Robert Alphonso Taft

(1889-09-08)September 8, 1889
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
DiedJuly 31, 1953(1953-07-31) (aged 63)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Martha Wheaton Bowers
(m. 1914)
Children4, including William and Robert
ParentsWilliam Howard Taft (father)
Nellie Herron (mother)
RelativesTaft family
EducationYale University (BA)
Harvard University (LLB)

The elder son of William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States and tenth Chief Justice of the United States, Robert Taft was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He pursued a legal career in Cincinnati after graduating from Harvard Law School in 1913. Along with his brother Charles Phelps Taft II, he co-founded the law partnership of Taft Stettinius & Hollister. Taft served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1921 to 1931 and in the Ohio Senate from 1931 to 1933. Though he lost re-election in 1932, he remained a powerful force in state and local politics.

After winning election to the Senate in 1938 over incumbent Democrat Robert J. Bulkley, Taft repeatedly sought the Republican presidential nomination, often battling for control of the party with the moderate faction of Republicans led by Thomas E. Dewey. He also emerged as a prominent non-interventionist and opposed U.S. involvement into World War II prior to the 1941 Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor. Taft's non-interventionist stances damaged his 1940 candidacy, and the 1940 Republican National Convention nominated Wendell Willkie. Taft sought the presidency again in 1948, but he lost to Dewey at the 1948 Republican National Convention. He opposed the creation of NATO and criticized President Harry Truman's handling of the Korean War.

Taft again sought the presidential nomination a third time in 1952, and was widely viewed as the front-runner. However, Dewey and other moderates convinced General Dwight D. Eisenhower to enter the race, and Eisenhower narrowly prevailed at the 1952 Republican National Convention and went on to win the 1952 presidential election. Taft was elected Senate Majority Leader in 1953 but died of pancreatic cancer later that year. A 1957 Senate committee named Taft as one of America's five greatest senators, along with Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, and Robert M. La Follette Sr.[1]