Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Robert Alphonso Taft, the son of President William Howard Taft, would one day become the leading spokesman for conservative opinion in the United States. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1938, Taft opposed President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs and efforts to expand the federal government at the expense of state and local jurisdictions. In Congress, Taft chaired the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee, where he helped write the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947. Known as the Taft-Hartley Act, it placed controls on labor unions and prohibited "closed shops." As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, Taft spoke out on international issues, especially criticizing President Harry S. Truman's Korean and Chinese policies. Identified as "Mr. Republican," Taft enjoyed wide respect for his fairness, courage, and integrity, despite his often controversial positions.
Taft was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 1940, 1948, and 1952. During his brief service as Senate majority leader in 1953, he became a prominent advisor to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Illness forced Taft to relinquish active Senate leadership in June of 1953, and he died the following month.