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Davis, John William

DAVIS, JOHN WILLIAM

John William Davis was born April 13, 1873, in Clarksburg, West Virginia. Davis earned a bachelor of arts degree from Washington and Lee University in 1892, a bachelor of laws degree in 1895, and a doctor of laws degree in 1915. He also received doctor of laws degrees from numerous other institutions, including the University of Birmingham, England, 1919; Yale, 1921; Dartmouth, 1923; Princeton, 1924; and Oberlin College, 1947. Three doctor of civil law degrees were bestowed upon Davis, by Oxford University in England, 1950; Columbia, 1953; and Hofstra College, 1953.

After his admission to the bar in 1895, Davis returned to his alma mater, Washington and Lee University, as an assistant professor of law, teaching from 1896 to 1897. In the latter year, he established his law practice in Clarks-burg, West Virginia, serving as counselor until 1913.

Davis entered politics in 1899 by participating in the West Virginia House of Delegates. He was a member of the Democratic National Conventions from 1904 to 1932.

In 1911, he served the federal government as a congressman, representing West Virginia until 1915. Davis left this post to perform the duties of solicitor general from 1913 to 1918.

The next phase of Davis's career encompassed foreign service. He was appointed ambassador to Great Britain in 1918 and acted in this capacity until 1921. Also in 1918, Davis was chosen as an American delegate to Berne, Switzerland, to the conference with Germany regarding prisoners of war captured during world war i.

In 1924, Davis was the Democratic candidate for president of the United States; he was defeated by calvin coolidge.

"There is nothing I resent more than the idea that a lawyer sells himself body and soul to his clients."
John William Davis

Davis died March 24, 1955, in Charleston, South Carolina.

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Davis, James John

James John Davis, 1873–1947, American public official, b. Wales. After emigrating (1881) to the United States, he worked as a puddler in ironworks in Pennsylvania and, moving to Elwood, Ind., became active in local politics and labor activities. After 1907 he became well known as director-general of the Loyal Order of Moose. He was appointed (1921) Secretary of Labor by President Warren G. Harding, remained at that post until 1930, and served (1930–45) in the U.S. Senate.

See his autobiography, The Iron Puddler (1922).

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Davis, John William

John William Davis, 1873–1955, American lawyer and public official, b. Clarksburg, W.Va. Admitted (1895) to the bar, he taught (1896–97) at Washington and Lee Univ. and later practiced (1897–1913) in Clarksburg. He served as congressman (1911–13), U.S. solicitor general (1913–18), and ambassador to Great Britain (1918–21). After 1921 he practiced law in New York City. He was nominated for president in 1924 on the 103d ballot, when, after a two-week deadlock at the Democratic convention, the forces of Alfred E. Smith and William Gibbs McAdoo agreed to compromise on a third candidate. Hampered by his legal affiliation with large corporations, Davis, even though he carried the South, won only 136 electoral votes and 8,386,500 popular votes. His speeches are collected in Treaty-making Power in the United States (1920) and Party Government in the United States (1929).

See biography by W. H. Harbaugh (1973).

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