Facts and Events
Alphonso Taft (November 5, 1810 – May 21, 1891) was a jurist, diplomat, Attorney General and Secretary of War under President Ulysses S. Grant. He is also the founder of an American political dynasty, and father of President William H. Taft.
As Secretary of War, Taft reformed the War Department by allowing commanders at Indian forts to choose who could start and run post traderships. While serving as Attorney General, he strongly held that African Americans must not be denied the right to vote through intimidation and violence. Attorney General Taft coauthored a bill to Congress, signed into law by President Grant, that created the Elections Commission that settled the controversial Hayes-Tilden election.
In 1882 Taft was appointed as minister to Austria-Hungary by Chester A. Arthur in 1882. He served until July 4, 1884, and was then transferred by President Arthur to Minister of Russia in St. Petersburg and served until August, 1885. Taft had a reputation for serving political office with integrity and character.