|Name||Robert A. Taft|
Cincinnati, Ohio , United States
|| September 08, 1889
|Died||July 31, 1953
Nov 18, 2018 04:11pm
Very Conservative - Anti-Labor - Isolationist -
|Info||TAFT, Robert Alphonso - Republican congressional leader from Ohio in the mid-20th century. Taft was the son of President William H. Taft, nephew of Charles Phelps Taft, and father of Robert Taft, Jr. |
Senator from Ohio; born in Cincinnati, Ohio, 9/8/1889; attended the public schools of Cincinnati, Ohio, and of Manila, Philippine Islands, and Taft School, Watertown, Conn.; graduated from Yale University in 1910 and from Harvard University Law School in 1913; was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1913 and commenced practice in Cincinnati, Ohio; director in a number of business enterprises in Cincinnati; assistant counsel, United States Food Administration 1917-1918; counsel, American Relief Administration 1919; member, Ohio house of representatives 1921-1926, serving as speaker and majority leader 1926; member, Ohio Senate 1931-1932; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1938; reelected in 1944 and again in 1950 and served from January 3, 1939, until his death; co-chairman, Joint Committee on the Economic Report (Eightieth Congress), chairman, Committee on Labor and Public Welfare (Eightieth Congress), Republican Policy Committee (Eightieth through Eighty-second Congresses); sponsored the Taft-Hartley Act, designed to create equity in collective bargaining between labor and management; unsuccessful candidate in 1940, 1948, and 1952 for the Republican presidential nomination
U.S. Senate Majority Leader
Taft was chosen as the Majority Leader of the Senate when the 83d Congress assembled in 1/1953. Although his primary challenge to Eisenhower had been bitterly contested, Taft became Ike's chief lieutenant on Capitol Hill, where his former nickname of "Mr. Republican" was substituted with "Mr. Congress" as he guided the President's legislation through the narrowly divided Senate (48R, 47D, and one Independent) [NYT 8/1/1953]. In addition to working for the Eisenhower policies, many of which he did not personally support, Taft also played an instrumental role in helping the Democratic minority leader, Lyndon Johnson, learn the techniques of guiding legislation through the chamber [NYT 8/1/1953]. Sen. Taft's represented the "middle road" of the Republican Party of the mid-20th century, between the isolationist group and the internationalists. For example, he supported federal subsidies for low-rent housing and aid to education but sought to restrict most New Deal projects [NYT 8/1/1953]. Like Eisenhower, Taft emphasized results over partisanship; the New York Times reported on 8/1/1953 that Taft "was respected and liked on both sides of the party aisle, a man who ...was above meanness."
Taft began to suffer from a hip ailment around 6/1/1953. Following a time in a hospital in Cincinnati, he was moved to the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington DC. He was able to perform some of his Senate duties at the time, but when he learned on 6/10 that his disease was fatal, he began to draft a new will (finalized on 6/12) and relinquished his duties as Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate on 6/11/1953 [NYT 8/6/1953]. On 7/4/1953, he was admitted to New York Hospital, where he underwent exploratory surgery four days later in an attempt to determine the nature of his ailment. A hospital spokesman reported on 7/19/1953 that Taft would not likely be able to resume his duties in the Senate until the body assembled again in early 1954. Although he showed signs of gaining strength following his exploratory surgery, he took a noticeable turn for the worse on 7/28 [NYT 7/29/1953]. On 7/30, Taft fell into a coma [NYT 7/31/1953], and he died the following day (11:30 a.m. EST, 7/31/1953) in the New York Hospital [NYT 8/1/1953].
Taft's body laid in state in the U.S. Capitol building, and 30,000 people filed past it between 3:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on 8/2/1953 [NYT 8/3/1953]. A memorial service was held in the U.S. Capitol rotunda on 8/3/1953. During the service, which was not particularly religious in nature, political leaders including President Eisenhower and Sen. Bricker lauded Taft's decades of service to the nation [NYT 8/4/1953]. His remains were flown to Cincinnati, where an additional 15,000 people filed past the casket. A public funeral was held at the Indian Hill Church (affilated with the Episcopal and Presbyterian Churches), and a private service was held for the family [NYT 8/5/1953].
Taft's death left the U.S. Senate with a 47-46 Republican minority (two Republican vacancies and one Independent). However, the one Independent, Wayne Morse of Oregon, stated after hearing of Taft's passing that he would not vote with the Democrats to re-organize the Senate [NYT 8/1/1953].