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Associate Justice David D. Davis Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: March 9, 1815 in Cecil County, Maryland
Died: June 26, 1886 in Bloomington, Illinois
Biography | show moreshow less
David Davis (1815-1886), presided over the renowned Eighth Judicial Circuit in Illinois, famous because Abraham Lincoln practiced in its courts. An intimate of Lincoln (they often bunked together when traveling the circuit), Davis successfully managed Lincoln's campaign to secure the Republican nomination for the presidency in Chicago in 1860. After Lincoln's assassination, Davis was an administrator of his estate. Davis was appointed by President Lincoln as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States in 1862, serving until he resigned in 1877 to become Senator from Illinois (1877-1883). Davis' election to the Senate may have had a crucial impact on American history. In the disputed Presidential election of 1876, Republicans and Democrats had agreed to equal representation on a 15-member Electoral Commission which was to decide the outcome. Davis, considered an independent, was regarded as the swing vote, an impartial one. When elected to the Senate, Davis resigned his Supreme Court seat, and was replaced by Republican Joseph P. Bradley. The Commission, by an 8-7 entirely partisan vote, awarded every one of the 20 disputed Electoral Votes to Republican Hayes, giving him a 185-184 electoral victory. Had Davis remained on the Commission, and voted with the Democrats even once out of 20 times, Samuel Tilden would have become the nineteenth President of the United States.   

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