Who was elected president in 1908?

1 Answer

William Howard Taft


Wildly popular Republican president Teddy Roosevelt, upholding a promise to not run for a third term, nominated his close friend and Secretary of War William Taft. The Democrats ran William Jennings Bryan who was a populist liberal.

While Bryan's ideas were popular in the US at that time, Taft undercut his campaign by adopting some of the most popular ones. Taft also campaigned that you should "Vote for Taft now. You can vote for Bryan anytime." - a reference to Bryan's 2 failed runs for president in 1896 and 1900). Bryan couldn't even get the endorsement of labour and so had his worst defeat of the three elections.

Taft won the Electoral College 321 to 162, with 29 states carried for Taft vs 17 for Bryan.

Taft was defeated in his reelection bid to Woodrow Wilson, mostly due to Theodore Roosevelt coming out of retirement and running as a third-party candidate (and splitting the Republican vote between Roosevelt and Taft). However, in 1921, Taft was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by President Harding - Taft is the only person to have ever held both offices.