William H. Taft was Mr. - and later President - personality, the possessor of the most infectious chuckle in the history of politics. Born into a wealthy and socially - prominent family in Cincinnati, he graduated second in his class from Yale and practiced law in his hometown. In 1887, he was appointed an Ohio superior court judge, and three years later he stepped into the national picture when President Benjamin Harrison named him solicitor general.
He was named to posts in the Philippines, including serving as the first civil governor of the islands under President Theodore Roosevelt. Two years after that, he replaced Elihu Root as secretary of state and quickly became the president's most - trusted troubleshooter.
He ran for the Republican nomination and won the office in 1908, carrying forward Roosevelt's trust - busting campaign by vigorously prosecuting offenders under the Sherman Antitrust Act.
He supported a constitutional amendment to ensure the income tax, endorsed the Mann-Elkins Act to better regulate railroads and presided over the creation of a postal savings bank, the parcel post system and the department of labor.
Following his term, he was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1921.