1 page, 4to (10 3/8 x 8 in.), on Taft's personal stationery, in fine condition." />
9 October 2002
TAFT, William H. Typed letter signed ("Wm. H. Taft"), to Clarence H. Kelsey, New Haven, CT., 1 May 1916. 1 page, 4to (10 3/8 x 8 in.), on Taft's personal stationery, in fine condition.
TAFT TERMS ROOSEVELT'S CAMPAIGN "BUNK" AND COMPLAINS ABOUT THE NOMINATION OF BRANDEIS FOR THE SUPREME COURT
In 1916, some Republicans sought to challenge incumbent Woodrow Wilson by turning once again to the popular Theodore Roosevelt as a candidate. Here, Taft expresses his belief that the Roosevelt campaign is doomed: "the situation has cleared up a good deal, although it has not been a surprise to me. The campaign of Roosevelt, so far as it is being a campaign to control a majority of the Convention, is what the boys call 'bunk'. The Massachusetts primary has taken the wind out of the balloon...while Roosevelt may be a factor in the Convention in respect to nominating somebody else, he has become an impossibility." Taft's prediction proved correct. Charles Evans Hughes dominated the Republican National Convention from the start. The Progressives attempted to resurrect their party by nominating Roosevelt, but he refused, placing his support behind Hughes.
Taft expresses optimism over current political affairs, and jokingly denies "walking stolidly along College Street Monday morning. I never walk stolidly. Your remark reflects on my general appearance. But whatever I thought then of politics, Massachusetts and New Jersey have helped me out. The prospect of beating the Philippine Bill, too, is a reason for being grateful." He does express regrets over Wilson's Supreme Court nominee: "I don't suppose we could beat Brandeis' nomination, but there is more doubt about it than I suppose there could be." Taft opposed the nomination of Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941) because Brandeis had been counsel to a Senate Committee that investigated Taft's conduct as Governor General of the Philippines.
Ironically, Taft would eventually serve side-by-side with Brandeis on the Court and would reconcile with Roosevelt during a chance meeting in a Chicago restaurant.
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