William H. Taft's Presidency

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What can you tell about President William H. Taft's presidency in 1912?

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There are a number of events you can discuss concerning 1912, which was President Taft's final full year in office. I will briefly mention some of the key events from that year below.

One of the first major actions President Taft engaged in that year was a call for a national budget. For decades, the US government had been running up huge deficits as the result of a weak tax base and expanding services. President Taft had established the Commission on Economy and Efficiency in 1910 to find solutions to this ongoing problem. In January of 1912, he urged Congress to adopt an annual budget, as per the recommendation of the commission. Annual federal budgets have since become commonplace in the United States

In February, President Taft appointed his fifth and final justice to the Supreme Court: Justice Mahlon Pitney, who was easily confirmed by the Senate. Having appointed so many justices in such a short amount of time, the make-up of the Supreme Court would become one of President Taft's major long-lasting legacies.

In April, President Taft signed legislation that created the Children's Bureau as part of the Department of Commerce. This agency was tasked with ensuring child welfare in the workplace, which was a major step in the Progressive Era.

There were also a number of US military interventions in Latin America in 1912. That year, President Taft sent the Marines and the US Navy into Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba in order to protect various American interests.

For President Taft, most of 1912 was dominated by the presidential election. He had to deal with an insurgency within the Republican Party—in which his former ally and friend Theodore Roosevelt ran against him in the primary. Roosevelt, never one to give up easily, went to the Progressive Party after President Taft won the Republican nomination. It was a hard-fought and (at times) bitter campaign. In the end, this division ended up splitting the progressive vote and giving the election to Woodrow Wilson, the Democrat.

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