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William Howard Taft
The Travails of a Progressive Conservative


  • Date Published: July 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107425132

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About the Authors
  • In this biographical study of the only American ever to have been both President and Chief Justice of the United States, Jonathan Lurie reassesses William Howard Taft's multiple careers, which culminated in Taft's election to the presidency in 1908 as the chosen successor to Theodore Roosevelt. By 1912, however, the relationship between Taft and Roosevelt had ruptured. Lurie re-examines the Taft–Roosevelt friendship and concludes that it rested on flimsy ground. He also places Taft in a progressive context, taking Taft's own self-description as 'a believer in progressive conservatism' as the starting point. At the end of his biography, Lurie concludes that this label is accurate when applied to Taft.

    • A new treatment of Taft and Theodore Roosevelt
    • Places an exploration of Taft in a progressive context
    • Emphasises Taft's modernization of the Presidency
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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107425132
    • length: 232 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 156 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.36kg
    • contains: 8 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. To the Presidency:
    1. The early years
    2. Judge, justice, and justices, 1887–1900
    3. Perambulations and preparation in the Philippines: Roosevelt and Taft
    4. The unwilling heir, 1904–8
    Part II. The Presidency:
    5. President Taft: tensions, turmoil, travel, and travail, 1909–10
    6. Justices and jockeying, 1910
    7. At the brink of the break, 1911
    8. The split, 1912
    9. Relief, rejuvenation, and renewal, 1913–21
    10. Epilogue.

  • Author

    Jonathan Lurie, Rutgers University, New Jersey
    Jonathan Lurie is a Professor of History Emeritus and Academic Integrity Officer at Rutgers University, where he has been a member of the history department since 1969. His books include The Chicago Board of Trade, Law and the Nation, Arming Military Justice, Pursuing Military Justice, The Slaughterhouse Cases (co-authored with Ronald Labbe), Military Justice in America and The Chase Court. His fields of interest comprise legal history, military justice, constitutional law and history and the eras of the Civil War and Reconstruction. The book on the Slaughterhouse cases received the Scribes award in 2003 as the best book written on law for that year. Lurie served as a Fulbright Lecturer at Uppsala University Law School in Sweden in 2005, was the Visiting Professor of Law at West Point from 1994 to 1995 and has lectured on several occasions at the United States Supreme Court.

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