List of Governors of Alabama

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Governor of Alabama
Seal of the Governor of Alabama.svg
Standard of the Governor of Alabama.svg
Robert Bentley.jpg
Incumbent
Robert J. Bentley

since January 17, 2011
StyleThe Honorable
ResidenceAlabama Governor's Mansion
Term lengthFour years, can succeed self once
Inaugural holderWilliam Wyatt Bibb
FormationDecember 14, 1819
DeputyLieutenant Governor of Alabama
Salary$119,950 (2013)[1]
Websitehttp://www.governor.state.al.us
 
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Governor of Alabama
Seal of the Governor of Alabama.svg
Standard of the Governor of Alabama.svg
Robert Bentley.jpg
Incumbent
Robert J. Bentley

since January 17, 2011
StyleThe Honorable
ResidenceAlabama Governor's Mansion
Term lengthFour years, can succeed self once
Inaugural holderWilliam Wyatt Bibb
FormationDecember 14, 1819
DeputyLieutenant Governor of Alabama
Salary$119,950 (2013)[1]
Websitehttp://www.governor.state.al.us

The Governor of Alabama is the chief executive of the U.S. state of Alabama. The governor is the head of the executive branch of Alabama's state government and is charged with enforcing state laws. The governor has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Alabama Legislature, to convene the legislature, and to grant pardons, except in cases of impeachment.[2] The governor is also the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces.

There have officially been 53 governors of the state of Alabama; this official numbering skips acting and military governors.[3] The first governor, William Wyatt Bibb, served as the only governor of the Alabama Territory. Five people have served as acting governor, bringing the total number of people serving as governor to 58, spread over 63 distinct terms. Four governors have served multiple non-consecutive terms: Bibb Graves, Jim Folsom, and Fob James each served two, and George Wallace served three non-consecutive periods. Officially, these non-consecutive terms are numbered only with the number of their first term. William D. Jelks also served non-consecutive terms, but his first term was in an acting capacity.

The longest-serving governor was George Wallace, who served sixteen years over four terms. The shortest term for a non-acting governor was that of Hugh McVay, who served four and a half months after replacing the resigning Clement Comer Clay. Lurleen Wallace, wife of George Wallace, was the first and so far only woman to serve as governor of Alabama, and the third woman to serve as governor of any state. The current governor is Republican Robert J. Bentley, who took office on January 17, 2011.

Governors[edit]

Governor of the Territory of Alabama[edit]

For the period before Alabama Territory was formed, see the list of Governors of Mississippi Territory.

Alabama Territory was formed on March 3, 1817, from Mississippi Territory. It had only one governor appointed by the President of the United States before it became a state; he became the first state governor.

PictureGovernorTook officeLeft officeAppointed by
Portrait of a man facing the right.William Wyatt BibbMarch 6, 1817[a]December 14, 1819James Monroe

Governors of the State of Alabama[edit]

Seal for use by the Governor-Elect
Governor's Flag 1868–1939

Alabama was admitted to the Union on December 14, 1819. It seceded from the Union on January 11, 1861 and was a founding member of the Confederate States of America on February 4, 1861; there was no Union Alabama government in exile, so there was a single line of governors. Following the end of the American Civil War, Alabama during Reconstruction was part of the Third Military District, which exerted some control over governor appointments and elections. Alabama was readmitted to the Union on July 14, 1868.

The first Alabama Constitution, ratified in 1819, provided that a governor be elected every two years, limited to serve no more than four out of every six years.[5] This limit remained in place until the constitution of 1868, which simply allowed governors to serve terms of two years.[6] The current constitution of 1901 increased terms to four years,[7] but prohibited governors from succeeding themselves.[8] Amendment 282 to the constitution, passed in 1968, allowed governors to succeed themselves once.[9] The constitution had no set date for the commencement of a governor's term until 1901, when it was set at the first Monday after the second Tuesday in the January following an election.[8]

The office of lieutenant governor was created in 1868,[10] abolished in 1875,[11] and recreated in 1901.[12] According to the current constitution, should the governor be out of the state for more than 20 days, the lieutenant governor becomes acting governor, and if the office of governor becomes vacant the lieutenant governor fully becomes governor.[13] Earlier constitutions said the powers of the governor devolved upon the successor, rather than them necessarily becoming governor,[14] but the official listing includes these as full governors.[3] The governor and lieutenant governor are not elected on the same ticket.

Alabama was a strongly Democratic state before the Civil War, electing only candidates from the Democratic-Republican and Democratic parties. It had two Republican governors following Reconstruction, but after the Democratic Party re-established control, 112 years passed before voters chose another Republican.

Benjamin Fitzpatrick, 11th Governor of Alabama, and president pro tempore of the U.S. Senate
Rufus W. Cobb, 25th Governor of Alabama
B. B. Comer, 33rd Governor of Alabama
George Wallace, 45th Governor of Alabama
Jere Beasley, acting Governor of Alabama in 1972
Parties

      Democratic (52)[b]       Democratic-Republican (3)       Independent (1)       Military (1)[c]       Republican (6)[d]

#[e]GovernorTerm startTerm endPartyLt. Governor[f][g]Terms[h]
1 William Wyatt BibbDecember 14, 1819July 10, 1820Democratic-
Republican
None12[i]
2Thomas BibbJuly 10, 1820November 9, 1821Democratic-
Republican
12[j]
3Israel PickensNovember 9, 1821November 25, 1825Democratic-
Republican
2
4John MurphyNovember 25, 1825November 25, 1829Jackson
Democrat
2
5Gabriel MooreNovember 25, 1829March 3, 1831Jackson
Democrat
12[k]
6Samuel B. MooreMarch 3, 1831November 26, 1831Democratic12[j]
7John GayleNovember 26, 1831November 21, 1835Democratic2
8Clement Comer ClayNovember 21, 1835July 17, 1837Democratic12[k]
9Hugh McVayJuly 17, 1837November 30, 1837Democratic12[j]
10Arthur P. BagbyNovember 30, 1837November 22, 1841Democratic2
11Benjamin FitzpatrickNovember 22, 1841December 10, 1845Democratic2
12Joshua L. MartinDecember 10, 1845December 16, 1847Independent1[l]
13Reuben ChapmanDecember 16, 1847December 17, 1849Democratic1
14Henry W. CollierDecember 17, 1849December 20, 1853Democratic2
15John A. WinstonDecember 20, 1853December 1, 1857Democratic2
16Andrew B. MooreDecember 1, 1857December 2, 1861Democratic2
17John Gill ShorterDecember 2, 1861December 1, 1863Democratic1
18Thomas H. WattsDecember 1, 1863May 1, 1865Democratic12[m]
19Lewis E. ParsonsJune 21, 1865December 13, 1865Democratic12[n]
20Robert M. PattonDecember 13, 1865July 24, 1868Democratic1[o]
Wager SwayneMarch 2, 1867July 14, 1868Military[p]
21William Hugh SmithJuly 24, 1868November 26, 1870RepublicanNone1[q]
 Andrew J. Applegate[i]
22Robert B. LindsayNovember 26, 1870November 17, 1872DemocraticEdward H. Moren1[q]
23David P. LewisNovember 17, 1872November 24, 1874RepublicanAlexander McKinstry1
24George S. HoustonNovember 24, 1874November 28, 1878DemocraticRobert F. Ligon2
None
25Rufus W. CobbNovember 28, 1878December 1, 1882DemocraticNone2
26Edward A. O'NealDecember 1, 1882December 1, 1886Democratic2
27Thomas SeayDecember 1, 1886December 1, 1890Democratic2
28Thomas G. JonesDecember 1, 1890December 1, 1894Democratic2
29William C. OatesDecember 1, 1894December 1, 1896Democratic1
30Joseph F. JohnstonDecember 1, 1896December 1, 1900Democratic2
William D. JelksDecember 1, 1900December 26, 1900Democratic13[r]
31William J. SamfordDecember 1, 1900June 11, 1901Democratic13[i]
32William D. JelksJune 11, 1901January 14, 1907DemocraticNone1 13[s][t]
Russell M. Cunningham
Russell M. CunninghamApril 25, 1904March 5, 1905DemocraticActing as governor[u]
33B. B. ComerJanuary 14, 1907January 17, 1911DemocraticHenry B. Gray1
34Emmet O'NealJanuary 17, 1911January 18, 1915DemocraticWalter D. Seed, Sr.1
35Charles HendersonJanuary 18, 1915January 20, 1919DemocraticThomas Kilby1
36Thomas KilbyJanuary 20, 1919January 15, 1923DemocraticNathan Lee Miller1
37William W. BrandonJanuary 15, 1923January 17, 1927DemocraticCharles S. McDowell1
Charles S. McDowellJuly 10, 1924July 11, 1924DemocraticActing as governor[v]
38Bibb GravesJanuary 17, 1927January 19, 1931DemocraticWilliam C. Davis1
39Benjamin M. MillerJanuary 19, 1931January 14, 1935DemocraticHugh Davis Merrill1
38Bibb GravesJanuary 14, 1935January 17, 1939DemocraticThomas E. Knight[i]1
40Frank M. DixonJanuary 17, 1939January 19, 1943DemocraticAlbert A. Carmichael1
41Chauncey SparksJanuary 19, 1943January 20, 1947DemocraticLeven H. Ellis1
42Jim FolsomJanuary 20, 1947January 15, 1951DemocraticJames C. Inzer1
43Gordon PersonsJanuary 15, 1951January 17, 1955DemocraticJames Allen1
42Jim FolsomJanuary 17, 1955January 19, 1959DemocraticWilliam G. Hardwick1
44John M. PattersonJanuary 19, 1959January 14, 1963DemocraticAlbert Boutwell1
45George WallaceJanuary 14, 1963January 16, 1967DemocraticJames Allen1
46Lurleen WallaceJanuary 16, 1967May 7, 1968DemocraticAlbert Brewer12[i][w]
47Albert BrewerMay 7, 1968January 18, 1971DemocraticVacant12[w][x]
45George WallaceJanuary 18, 1971January 15, 1979DemocraticJere Beasley2
Jere BeasleyJune 5, 1972July 7, 1972DemocraticActing as governor[y]
48Fob JamesJanuary 15, 1979January 17, 1983DemocraticGeorge McMillan1
45George WallaceJanuary 17, 1983January 19, 1987DemocraticBill Baxley1
49H. Guy HuntJanuary 19, 1987April 22, 1993RepublicanJim Folsom, Jr.[z]1 12[aa]
50Jim Folsom, Jr.April 22, 1993January 16, 1995DemocraticVacant12[x]
48Fob JamesJanuary 16, 1995January 18, 1999RepublicanDon Siegelman[z]1
51Don SiegelmanJanuary 18, 1999January 20, 2003DemocraticSteve Windom[ab]1
52Bob RileyJanuary 20, 2003January 17, 2011RepublicanLucy Baxley[z]2
Jim Folsom, Jr.[z]
53Robert J. BentleyJanuary 17, 2011IncumbentRepublicanKay Ivey2[ac]

Other high offices held[edit]

Eighteen of Alabama's governors have served higher federal or confederate offices. All but three were elected to the U.S. Congress, although one of those represented only Georgia. The remaining three served in the confederate government, two as members of the Provisional Confederate Congress, and one was the Confederate States Attorney General. One governor served as Minister to Russia. Two governors (marked with *) resigned to take seats in the Senate, and two (marked with dagger) resigned their positions to take office as governor.

Additionally, two governors were elected to the U.S. Senate shortly after the American Civil War, but were did not take office: Lewis E. Parsons was refused his seat because Alabama had not yet been reconstructed, and John A. Winston would not take the oath of allegiance.

All representatives and senators listed represented Alabama except where noted.

GovernorGubernatorial termOther offices heldSources
Bibb, William WyattWilliam Wyatt Bibb1817–1820Representative and Senatordagger from Georgia[25][26]
Pickens, IsraelIsrael Pickens1821–1825Representative from North Carolina, Senator[27]
Murphy, JohnJohn Murphy1825–1829Representative[28]
Moore, GabrielGabriel Moore1829–1831Representative, Senator*[29]
Gayle, JohnJohn Gayle1831–1835Representative[30]
Clay, Clement ComerClement Comer Clay1835–1837Representative, Senator*[31]
Bagby, Arthur P.Arthur P. Bagby1837–1841Senator, Minister to Russia[32]
Fitzpatrick, BenjaminBenjamin Fitzpatrick1841–1845Senator (including as President pro tempore)[33]
Martin, Joshua L.Joshua L. Martin1845–1847Representative[34]
Chapman, ReubenReuben Chapman1847–1849Representative[35]
Winston, John A.John A. Winston1853–1857Elected to the Senate but was refused his seat[36]
Shorter, John GillJohn Gill Shorter1861–1863Provisional Confederate Deputydagger[37][38]
Watts, Thomas H.Thomas H. Watts1863–1865Confederate States Attorney General[39]
Parsons, Lewis E.Lewis E. Parsons1865Elected to the Senate but was refused his seat[17]
Lewis, David P.David P. Lewis1872–1874Provisional Confederate Deputy[40]
Houston, George S.George S. Houston1874–1878Representative, Senator[41]
Johnston, Joseph F.Joseph F. Johnston1896–1900Senator[42]
Samford, William J.William J. Samford1900–1901Representative[43]
Comer, B. B.B. B. Comer1907–1911Senator[44]
Riley, BobBob Riley2003–2011Representative[45]

Living former governors[edit]

As of August 2014, six former governors were alive, the oldest being John M. Patterson (1959–1963, born 1921). The most recent death of a former governor was that of H. Guy Hunt (1987–1993), who died on January 30, 2009.

GovernorGubernatorial termDate of birth
John M. Patterson1959–1963(1921-09-27) September 27, 1921 (age 93)
Albert Brewer1968–1971(1928-10-26) October 26, 1928 (age 86)
Fob James1979–1983
1995–1999
(1934-09-15) September 15, 1934 (age 80)
Jim Folsom, Jr.1993–1995(1949-05-14) May 14, 1949 (age 65)
Don Siegelman1999–2003(1946-02-24) February 24, 1946 (age 68)
Bob Riley2003–2011(1944-10-03) October 3, 1944 (age 70)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Records are scarce as to when Bibb was actually appointed. The territory was formed on March 3, 1817, but he was appointed by President James Monroe, who did not take office until the next day. Other resources indicate that other major appointments for the territory were made on March 6, 1817.[4]
  2. ^ Includes four terms served by repeat governors and four terms served by acting governors.
  3. ^ The military governor is not included in the official numbering.
  4. ^ Includes one term served by a repeat governor.
  5. ^ Repeat governors are officially numbered only once; subsequent terms are marked with their original number italicized.
  6. ^ The office of Lieutenant Governor was created in the 1868 constitution,[10] abolished in the 1875 Constitution,[11] and recreated in the 1901 Constitution.[12]
  7. ^ Lieutenant governors represented the same party as their governor unless noted.
  8. ^ The fractional terms of some governors are not to be understood absolutely literally; rather, they are meant to show single terms during which multiple governors served, due to resignations, deaths and the like.
  9. ^ a b c d e Died in office.
  10. ^ a b c As president of the state senate, filled unexpired term.
  11. ^ a b Resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate.
  12. ^ Martin was a Democrat who opposed party leaders and ran as an independent.[15]
  13. ^ Arrested by Union forces soon after the American Civil War ended; he was released a few weeks later.[16]
  14. ^ Provisional governor appointed by the Union occupation; between Watts's arrest and Parsons's appointment, Alabama had no governor, instead being under direct rule of General George Henry Thomas.[17]
  15. ^ The U.S. Congress stripped Patton of most of his authority in March 1867, after which time the state was effectively under the control of Major General Wager Swayne.[18]
  16. ^ Military governor appointed during Reconstruction; though Patton was still officially governor, he was mostly a figurehead. The term start date given is the date of the first Reconstruction Act, which placed Alabama into the Third Military District; all references only say "March 1867"[18] and "when the Reconstruction Acts were passed".[19] The term end is also ambiguous, but it is assumed Swayne lost power when Alabama was readmitted to the Union.
  17. ^ a b Robert Lindsay was sworn into office on November 26, 1870, but William Hugh Smith refused to leave his seat for two weeks, claiming Lindsay was fraudulently elected, finally leaving office on December 8, 1870, when a court so ordered.[20]
  18. ^ Acting governor for 26 days. Jelks was president of the state senate when William J. Samford was out of state at the start of his term seeking medical treatment.[21]
  19. ^ As president of the state senate, filled unexpired term, and was subsequently elected in his own right.
  20. ^ The 1901 constitution increased term lengths from two to four years; Jelks' first term was filling out Samford's two-year term, and he was elected in 1902 for a four-year term.
  21. ^ Acting governor for nearly a year. Cunningham was lieutenant governor when William D. Jelks was out of state for medical treatment.[22]
  22. ^ Acting governor for two days. McDowell was lieutenant governor when William W. Brandon was out of state for 21 days as a delegate for the 1924 Democratic National Convention.[3]
  23. ^ a b Governor Lurleen Wallace left the state for 20 days for medical treatment; as lieutenant governor, Albert Brewer became acting governor on July 25, 1967. Wallace returned to the state later that day.[3][23]
  24. ^ a b As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term.
  25. ^ Acting governor for 32 days. Beasley was lieutenant governor when George Wallace spent 52 days in Maryland for medical treatment following an assassination attempt while campaigning for President of the United States.[3]
  26. ^ a b c d Represented the Democratic Party.
  27. ^ Removed from office upon being convicted of illegally using campaign and inaugural funds to pay personal debts; he was later pardoned by the state parole board based on innocence.[24]
  28. ^ Represented the Republican Party.
  29. ^ Governor Bentley's first term expires January 19, 2015. He won re-election on November 4, 2014, and when his second term expires on January 14, 2019, he will be term limited.

References[edit]

General
Constitutions
Specific
  1. ^ "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries". The Council of State Governments. June 25, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ AL Const., art. V.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Alabama Governors". Alabama Department of Archives and History. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  4. ^ Shearer, Benjamin. The Uniting States – The Story of Statehood for the Fifty United States, Volume 1: Alabama to Kentucky. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. p. 41. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  5. ^ 1819 Const. art. IV, § 4
  6. ^ 1868 Const. art. V, § 2
  7. ^ AL Const. art. V, § 114
  8. ^ a b AL Const. art. V, § 116
  9. ^ AL Const. amendment 282
  10. ^ a b 1868 Const. art. V, § 1
  11. ^ a b 1875 Const. art. V, § 1
  12. ^ a b AL Const. art. V, § 112
  13. ^ AL Const. art. V, § 127
  14. ^ 1819 Const. art. IV, § 18; 1861 Const. art. IV, § 18; 1865 Const. art V, § 19; 1868 Const. art. V, § 15; 1875 Const. art. V § 15
  15. ^ "Alabama Governor Joshua Lanier Martin". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 13, 2008. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Alabama Governor Thomas Hill Watts". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 13, 2008. [dead link]
  17. ^ a b "Alabama Governor Lewis Eliphalet Parsons". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 13, 2008. [dead link]
  18. ^ a b "Alabama Governor Robert Miller Patton". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 13, 2008. [dead link]
  19. ^ "Alabama Governor Robert Patton". Alabama Department of Archives & History. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 
  20. ^ White, James Terry (1900). The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. James T. White & Company. p. 435. Retrieved January 18, 2008. 
  21. ^ "Alabama Governor William Jelks". Alabama Department of Archives & History. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 
  22. ^ "Alabama Governor Russell Cunningham". Alabama Department of Archives & History. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 
  23. ^ Owen, Thomas McAdory (1979). Alabama Official and Statistical Register. Alabama Department of Archives & History. p. 17. Retrieved September 28, 2008. 
  24. ^ Nossiter, Adam (12 June 1997). "Ex-Gov. Hunt of Alabama Cleared by Pardon Board". The New York Times. p. 18. Retrieved September 28, 2008. 
  25. ^ "William Wyatt Bibb". Our Georgia History. Retrieved March 26, 2008. 
  26. ^ "Bibb, William Wyatt". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 
  27. ^ "Pickens, Israel". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 
  28. ^ "Murphy, John". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 
  29. ^ "Moore, Gabriel". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 
  30. ^ "Gayle, John". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 
  31. ^ "Clay, Clement Comer". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 
  32. ^ "Alabama Governor Arthur Pendleton Bagby". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 13, 2008. [dead link]
  33. ^ "Fitzpatrick, Benjamin". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 
  34. ^ "Martin, Joshua Lanier". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 
  35. ^ "Chapman, Reuben". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 
  36. ^ "Alabama Governor John Anthony Winston". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 13, 2008. [dead link]
  37. ^ "Alabama Governor John Gill Shorter". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 13, 2008. [dead link]
  38. ^ "Alabama Governor John Shorter". Alabama Department of Archives & History. Retrieved March 26, 2008. 
  39. ^ "Alabama Governor Thomas Hill Watts". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 13, 2008. [dead link]
  40. ^ "Alabama Governors: David Peter Lewis". Alabama Department of Archives and History. Retrieved April 8, 2011. 
  41. ^ "Houston, George Smith". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 
  42. ^ "Johnston, Joseph Forney". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 
  43. ^ "Samford, William James". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 
  44. ^ "Comer, Braxton Bragg". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 
  45. ^ "Riley, Robert". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 

External links[edit]