William H. Taft's Presidency

Start Free Trial

Why did Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft have a falling out?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft had a falling out because of differences in both style and substance. There were also divisions within the Republican party over tariff reform and other matters during Taft's presidency; the factions in the GOP contributed to the split between the two men.

The two...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft had a falling out because of differences in both style and substance. There were also divisions within the Republican party over tariff reform and other matters during Taft's presidency; the factions in the GOP contributed to the split between the two men.

The two men also had very different personalities. Roosevelt was flamboyant and charismatic, while Taft was much more taciturn. Roosevelt had the perfect personality to campaign for the presidency. Taft, on the other hand, was better suited for a career in law.

Taft was the chosen successor to Roosevelt, and he was expected to carry out the same policies. For the most part, Taft did follow Roosevelt's policies, but Roosevelt became disenchanted with his successor and challenged him for the Republican nomination in 1912.

The most significant clash between Roosevelt and Taft was over the Ballinger-Pinchot controversy in 1910. Richard Ballinger was Taft's secretary of the interior, and Gifford Pinchot was chief of forestry. Ballinger fired Pinchot when the latter complained about opening Western lands to commercial development. Roosevelt, an ardent conservationist, was enraged.

The split between Roosevelt and Taft in 1912 delivered the White House to Democrat Woodrow Wilson.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team