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“Presidents Without Mandates (With Special Emphasis on Ohio),” 67 U. Cinn. L.Rev. 375 (1999)


Advocate, judge, scholar, diplomat, and President-William Howard Taft packed at least five grand careers in the law into one life. A single lecture in honor of so large a man could travel a long way in any number of directions, and yet stay close and true to him. This day, I shall take my cue not just from the man, but from the place. Ohio is, or at least for much of our history has been, the home of Presidents. This place invites us to ask not simply about what one does as President, but also about how one becomes President. The specific story of Taft's ascension might make for a fine tale, but it has been well told elsewhere. Today, I shall try to offer a different, more general, story focusing on those who (unlike Taft) came to the Presidency without a direct and personal mandate from the American electorate.

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