AbstractThe early twentieth century was a time when the US public consciousness recognized an increasing association between their political leaders and sports and athleticism. With an exceptional precedent for this connection set by Theodore Roosevelt (1901–1909), his replacement as US president would inevitably find it hard to keep pace. In the modern-day popular consciousness, Roosevelt’s immediate successor, William Howard Taft (1909–1913), is often noted more for his obesity than for his physical athleticism or sporting prowess. Yet, as this article shows, as Taft moved closer to the White House, the contemporary US press increasingly associated him with sports, and at least the pursuit of physical fitness. In a post-Rooseveltian America, a rise to national political prominence demanded a portrayal of a president’s links to sports and athleticism, even in the unlikeliest of candidates.
CitationBurns, A. (2021) Fit to be president: William Howard Taft, sports and athleticism, European Journal of American Culture, 40(2), pp.121-134.
JournalEuropean Journal of American Culture
DescriptionThis is an accepted manuscript of an article published by Intellect in European Journal of American Culture on 1 June 2021, available online: https://doi.org/10.1386/ejac_00045_1 The accepted version of the publication may differ from the final published version.
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/