John W. Davis

Apr 13, 1873 - Mar 24, 1955

John William Davis was an American politician, diplomat and lawyer. He served under President Woodrow Wilson as the Solicitor General of the United States and the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom. He was the Democratic nominee for president in 1924 but lost to Republican incumbent Calvin Coolidge.
Born and raised in West Virginia, Davis briefly worked as a teacher before beginning his long legal career. Davis's father, John J. Davis, had been a delegate to the Wheeling Convention and served in Congress in the 1870s. Davis joined his father's legal practice and adopted many of his father's political views, including opposition to anti-lynching legislation and support for states' rights. Davis served in the United States House of Representatives from 1911 to 1913, helping to write the Clayton Antitrust Act. He held the position of solicitor general in the Justice Department from 1913 to 1918, during which time he successfully argued for the unconstitutionality of Oklahoma's "grandfather law" in Guinn v. United States, which had a discriminatory effect against African American voters.
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