PRESIDENT WILLIAM H. TAFT - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 05/03/1913 - HFSID 174832
WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT
He signs a typed letter denouncing "the lies and misrepresentations" of socialism and discussing his plans for a lecture series.
Typed Letter signed: "Wm H Taft", 1 page, 7¾x10¼. New Haven, Connecticut, 1913 May 3. On personal letterhead to R. S. Johnson, New York, N.Y. In full: "I have your letter of April 25th. I hope that what I send you now satisfies your requirements. I am sorry I did not get to see you while you were in New Haven. I intend to give a study to the very subjects which you propose - socialism, and the papers that are now advocating it and the lies and misrepresentations they are circulating, but it takes time to prepare on that subject. Just now I am attempting to deliver some letters on common questions, like the initiative and the referendum as a sort of preliminary to the beginning of a series course on the study of constitutional law, in the fall. I shall be very glad to talk to you whenever you happen to be in New Haven, unless it is the morning of my lectures, Mondays or Fridays. Sincerely yours". William Howard Taft (1857-1930) was Governor of the Philippines (1901-1904), Secretary of War (1904-1909), 27th of the United States (1909-1913) and Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court (1921-1930). His bruising convention battle with former ally and patron Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 split the Republican Party, allowing the election of Democrat Woodrow Wilson. Taft as President was caught in the middle between progressives and conservatives and constrained by a more limited view of Presidential powers than TR had possessed, but historians tend to view his term of office more positively than did most of his contemporaries. His skills as Chief Justice are widely recognized. In the intervening years (1913-1920), Taft taught at Yale University Law School. As promised in this letter, Taft developed a series of lecture topics - 30 in all - which he delivered for an average fee of $400. As predicted here, "The Initiative and Referendum" was one of his topics. Although viewed as a conservative, especially after his rift with Teddy Roosevelt, Taft had supported many of the "progressive era" reforms, including these: state laws allowing signature drives to get proposed legislation placed on the ballot ("initiative"); and popular votes on proposed statutes and (state) constitutional amendments ("referendum"). Light mailing fold crosses signature. Lightly soiled at blank margins. Type has faded slightly, but signature is bold. Overall, fine condition.
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