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The White Steam Company

Club member, Jay Leno sits down with the granddaughter of Rollin White the steam car genius behind the White Motor Company.


William Howard Taft was born on September 15, 1857, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to judge Alphonso Taft and his wife Louisa. He graduated from Yale, and then returned to Ohio, studied at the Cincinnati Law School, and began his law practice. He made a swift climb in politics through Republican judiciary appointments, while a seat on the Supreme Court was his ultimate ambition. His route to the White House was mapped gradually through ever more prestigious posts beginning in 1900 when President William McKinley appointed him civil governor of the Philippines.

During his tenure, he improved the economy, built roads and schools, and gave the Filipino people limited participation in government. In 1907 President Theodore Roosevelt returned him to Washington to serve as secretary of war, and in 1908 he received the Republican presidential nomination. He won the election and was inaugurated in March 1909.
Taft pledged to continue Roosevelt's presidential agenda, pleasing Progressives who said that "Roosevelt has cut enough hay" and "Taft is the man to put it into the barn." Yet Taft's unexpected support of the 1909 Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act reneged on a campaign promise to lower tariffs and angered liberal Republicans. He further antagonized Progressives by upholding a decision by his secretary of the interior to sell public lands in Alaska and the Rocky Mountains. He fired Gifford Pinchot, the first chief of the U.S. Forest Service, a Roosevelt advisor and a conservationist, for insubordination in opposing the sales.

Angry politics diminished appreciation for Taft's many achievements. He signed the first tariff revision since 1897; established a postal savings system; formed the Interstate Commerce Commission; and prosecuted over 75 antitrust violations, far more than pursued by the "trust- buster" Theodore Roosevelt. The Taft era Congress submitted two Constitutional amendments to the states that were ratified in 1913: the sixteenth amendment created a federal income tax; the seventeenth amendment authorized the direct election of senators. Taft also expanded U.S. foreign trade through investment in what became known as "dollar diplomacy" increasing U.S. influence in Latin America and East Asia.
In 1912, when the Republicans re-nominated Taft, Roosevelt revolted by leading the opposing Republican Progressives (or Bull Moose Party), and thus guaranteed the election of Woodrow Wilson. At age fifty-five, free of the presidency, Taft took a position teaching law at Yale where he remained until 1921 when President Warren Harding made him chief justice of the United States. Having achieved his lifelong ambition, he held a seat on the Supreme Court until just before his death in 1930. As chief justice, his interest in civic architecture found its greatest expression when he engaged the architect Cass Gilbert to design the Supreme Court building, a white marble landmark that remains in use on Capitol Hill today.
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The 2012 White House Historical Association Christmas ornament honors William Howard Taft, the twenty-seventh president of the United States. A distinguished jurist and effective administrator, President Taft focused on executing the law rather than setting an ambitious legislative agenda during his term.
The 2012 White House Christmas Ornament honors President William Howard Taft who introduced the automobile to White House transportation in 1909, breaking a long presidential tradition of reliance on horse-drawn vehicles. The 2012 White House ornament celebrates President Taft's adoption of the automobile, his love of manufacture and invention, and his ready acceptance of modernity. The ornament depicts President and Mrs. Taft enroute to deliver Christmas presents. They are seated behind chauffeur George H. Robinson in the White Motor Company's Model M, a seven passenger steam-powered touring car embellished with the Great Seal of the United States on the doors. The color, at the time, is "a harmonious blend of subdued greens.

The Ornament is available for $17.95 plus shipping costs

Order here:

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