The fifth volume of The Complete Works of William Howard Taft presents two publications Taft wrote as Kent Professor of Constitutional Law at Yale University, the position he assumed in 1913 after he was defeated in his bid for re-election as U.S. president. The first, Popular Government, was prepared for a series of lectures, but was motivated by Taft’s passion over the issue of constitutional interpretation, which had been hotly contested during the campaign. Organized around the preamble of the Constitution, the lectures and later the book were opportunities for Taft to restate his opposition to the direct democracy movement and to reveal the workings of a conservative mind.
In the second, The Anti-trust Act and the Supreme Court, Taft articulates his position in the ongoing debate over the conventional nineteenth-century notion of “laissez faire” and the provisions of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Taft had pursued a policy of vigorous antitrust enforcement during his presidency. In this book he intended to demonstrate that restraint of trade was part of the common law, thereby arguing to good effect in favor of reasonable restraint of trade in his own time.
Taft's careful distinction between predatory monopolistic practices and the reasonable business practices of well-behaved corporations continues to inform today's chambers of government.
David H. Burton is the general editor of The Collected Works of William Howard Taft. An emeritus professor of history at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, he is the author of several books on the presidency.
David Potash's recent work has centered on the roles of Henry Cabot Lodge, William Howard Taft, and Nicholas Murray Butler in the return of conservative Republicanism.
Donald F. Anderson wrote the first full-length study of Taft’s presidency, A Conservative's Conception of the Presidency.
Save 20% ($47.96)
Availability and price vary according to vendor.
Permission to reprint
Permission to photocopy or include in a course pack via Copyright Clearance Center