In 1844, Davis won election as a Whig to the Illinois legislature, and four years later was elected judge of Illinois' Eighth Judicial Circuit, where he served on the bench during Lincoln's remaining years as an attorney on the circuit. The two became close friends, and Davis worked diligently as Lincoln's campaign manager at the 1860 Republican nominating convention in Chicago. In 1862, President Lincoln appointed Davis to the United States Supreme Court, where Davis wrote the majority opinion in Ex parte Milligan, a landmark decision restricting the rights of military courts to try civilians. In 1877, he resigned from the court after being elected to the United States Senate by the Illinois legislature. Davis served as Senate president pro tempore from 1881 to 1883, and was known unofficially as "Mr. Vice President." He retired from the Senate in 1883 and spent the remainder of his life at Clover Lawn.
Springfield, Illinois | During the dramatic years leading to the Civil War, the building had an important role in the political struggle between Stephen A. Douglas (1813-1861) and Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)