He studied law and was admitted to the bar. In 1839, he was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives. In 1844, he served as a presidential elector for the Whig Party. He was elected as a member of the Whig Party to the United States House of Representatives from Kentucky in 1847, remaining in that capacity through 1849. He was made a judge of the Circuit Court of Kentucky in 1851, remaining there though 1856. In 1859, he was reelected to the United States Congress for one term on the Opposition Party ticket. At the end of that term, in 1861, he was appointed the sixth auditor of the United States Treasury Department, remaining there through 1864.