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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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