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President Taft at Manassas Court House
President Taft speaking at Manassas Court House, Virginia in 1911

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U.S. President and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court William Howard Taft Was Born
September 15, 1857

In 1900, President William McKinley appointed Taft to organize a civilian government in the Philippines. The U.S. had taken possession of this island nation at the close of the Spanish-American War in 1898. Taft served as the first non-military governor of the Philippines. President Theodore Roosevelt named Taft secretary of war in 1904, like his father. When Teddy Roosevelt prepared to retire his presidency, this popular and influential politician promoted Taft as the next Republican president.
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