Skip to main content

Taft, Robert

Taft, Robert (1889–1953), U.S. senator, isolationist.Born in Cincinnati, the son of William Howard Taft, later secretary of war and president, young Taft graduated from Yale University and Harvard Law School. He practiced law in Ohio and served in the state legislature before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 1938.

A conservative, isolationist midwestern Republican, Taft opposed most of the domestic and international policies of Democratic presidents Roosevelt and Truman. Favoring hemispheric rather than forward defense, he voted against the prewar draft in 1940 and Lend‐Lease and the Destroyers‐for‐Bases Agreement with Britain in 1941.

In the postwar era, he was not converted to internationalism like former Republican isolationist Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan. Instead, although Taft voted for the establishment of the United Nations, he came to believe it unsound and voted against U.S. participation in it. Taft opposed NATO as a provocative and expensive act that would stimulate the arms race and eventually force the United States to send troops to Europe. He later condemned President Harry S. Truman's Korean War policy, opposed his stand on Formosa, and challenged Secretary of State Dean Acheson. Like former President Herbert C. Hoover, Taft favored neutrality and nonintervention, and recommended a defense policy based largely upon naval and airpower (called the “cavalry of the sky”) rather than the deployment of U.S. ground forces.

Taft, “Mr. Republican,” sought the presidential nomination in 1952 but lost to Dwight D. Eisenhower, representing the GOP's eastern, internationalist wing. Taft extracted concessions for his support of Eisenhower, but he died within six months of becoming Senate majority leader.
[See also Isolationism; Lend‐Lease Act and Agreements.]

Bibliography

Robert A. Taft , Foreign Policy for Americans, 1951.
James T. Patterson , Mr. Republican: A Biography of Robert A. Taft, 1974.

John Whiteclay Chambers II

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Taft, Robert." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Taft, Robert." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/taft-robert

"Taft, Robert." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved October 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/taft-robert

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.