What the Past Can Teach Us

In 1913, Republicans were in turmoil and the political power of organized labor was on the rise

By Carole Mackin

In 1909, another Republican became president without enough experience to govern the country. Republican William Taft received the White House keys from Teddy Roosevelt who also gave him something called the executive order, a tool to bypass Congress.

The USA was struggling under a huge budget deficit but Taft expanded the West Wing and designed the Oval Office. He started the Whitehouse Press Office and suffered dearly from reporters now dubbed “investigative journalists.”

He railed against reporters who said disrespectful things like: “Taft is tormented by criticism – he sinks into depression and irritability.” or “Taft talks to everyone sometimes giving out secrets to the wrong people.”

In 1913, Republicans were in turmoil and the political power of organized labor was on the rise. Taft lost to Democrat Woodrow Wilson. But, Taft’s legacy still lingers in the existence of the Federal Reserve and the 16th Amendment, establishing the income tax.

Carole Mackin
Helena

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