List of Governors of Illinois

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The Governor of Illinois is the head of the executive branch of Illinois's state government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has a duty to enforce state laws and the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Illinois Legislature, to convene the legislature, and to grant pardons.[1]


Governor of the Territory of Illinois[edit]

For the colonial military governors of the Illinois Country, see List of commandants of the Illinois Country.
For the period before the Illinois Territory was formed, see Governors of the Northwest Territory and Governors of the Indiana Territory.

Illinois Territory was formed on March 1, 1809, from Indiana Territory. It had only one governor appointed by the President of the United States before it became a state. From March to June, 1809, Territorial Secretary Nathaniel Pope served as acting governor; Edwards' arrival in Illinois ended Pope's brief administration.[2]

PictureGovernorTook officeLeft officeAppointed by
Ninian.Edwards.pngNinian EdwardsMarch 1, 1809October 6, 1818James Madison

Governors of the State of Illinois[edit]

Illinois was admitted to the Union on December 3, 1818, consisting of the southern portion of Illinois Territory; the remainder was assigned to Michigan Territory.

The first Illinois Constitution, ratified in 1818, provided that a governor be elected every four years[3] for a term starting on the first Monday in the December following an election.[4] The constitution of 1848 moved the start of the term to the second Monday in January.[5] Governors were not allowed to succeed themselves[6] until the 1870 constitution, which removed this limit.

The office of lieutenant governor was created in the first constitution,[7] to exercise the power of governor if that office becomes vacant.[8] The 1848 constitution changed this to say the power "devolves" upon the lieutenant governor in case of a vacancy.[9] The current constitution of 1970 made it so that, in the event of a vacancy, the lieutenant becomes governor,[10] and the governor and lieutenant governor are now elected on the same ticket.[11]


      No party       Military       Democratic-Republican       Democratic       Whig       Republican

#PictureGovernorTook officeLeft officePartyLt. GovernorTerms[a]
1 Shadrach.Bond.pngShadrach BondOctober 6, 1818December 5, 1822Independent Pierre Menard1
2 Edward.Coles.pngEdward ColesDecember 5, 1822December 6, 1826Independent Adolphus Hubbard1
3 Ninian.Edwards.pngNinian EdwardsDecember 6, 1826December 6, 1830Adams-Clay
 William Kinney1
4John.Reynolds.pngJohn ReynoldsDecember 6, 1830November 17, 1834DemocraticZadok Casey[b]12[c]
William Lee D. Ewing
5William Lee Davidson Ewing bioguide.jpgWilliam Lee D. EwingNovember 17, 1834December 3, 1834DemocraticVacant12[d]
6Governor Joseph Duncan.jpgJoseph DuncanDecember 3, 1834December 7, 1838WhigAlexander Jenkins[e]1
William H. Davidson[f]
7Governor Thomas Carlin.jpgThomas CarlinDecember 7, 1838December 8, 1842DemocraticStinson Anderson1
8Governor Thomas Ford.jpgThomas FordDecember 8, 1842December 9, 1846DemocraticJohn Moore1
9Augustus.C.French.jpgAugustus C. FrenchDecember 9, 1846January 10, 1853DemocraticJoseph Wells2[g]
William McMurtry
10Joel.A.Matteson.pngJoel Aldrich MattesonJanuary 10, 1853January 12, 1857DemocraticGustavus Koerner1
11William.H.Bissel.jpgWilliam Henry BissellJanuary 12, 1857March 18, 1860RepublicanJohn Wood12[h]
12John.Wood.pngJohn WoodMarch 18, 1860January 14, 1861RepublicanThomas Marshall[f]12[i]
13Richard.Yates.1.jpgRichard YatesJanuary 14, 1861January 16, 1865RepublicanFrancis Hoffmann1
14[j]Richard James Oglesby.jpgRichard J. OglesbyJanuary 16, 1865January 11, 1869RepublicanWilliam Bross1
15John.M.Palmer.jpgJohn M. PalmerJanuary 11, 1869January 13, 1873RepublicanJohn Dougherty1
14Richard James Oglesby.jpgRichard J. OglesbyJanuary 13, 1873January 23, 1873RepublicanJohn Lourie Beveridge12[k]
16John.L.Beveridge.1.jpgJohn Lourie BeveridgeJanuary 23, 1873January 8, 1877RepublicanJohn Early12[i]
Archibald Glenn[f]
17Shelby Moore Cullom - Brady-Handy.jpgShelby Moore CullomJanuary 8, 1877February 16, 1883RepublicanAndrew Shuman1 12[l][12]
John Marshall Hamilton
18John.Marshall.Hamilton.jpgJohn Marshall HamiltonFebruary 16, 1883January 30, 1885RepublicanWilliam Campbell12[i]
14Richard James Oglesby.jpgRichard J. OglesbyJanuary 30, 1885January 14, 1889RepublicanJohn Smith1
19Joseph.W.Fifer.jpgJoseph W. FiferJanuary 14, 1889January 10, 1893RepublicanLyman Ray1
20John Peter Altgeld.jpgJohn Peter AltgeldJanuary 10, 1893January 11, 1897DemocraticJoseph B. Gill1
21John.R.Tanner.jpgJohn R. TannerJanuary 11, 1897January 14, 1901RepublicanWilliam Northcott1
22Richard Yates Jr.jpgRichard Yates, Jr.January 14, 1901January 9, 1905RepublicanWilliam Northcott1
23Charles.S.Deneen.jpgCharles S. DeneenJanuary 9, 1905February 3, 1913[citation needed]RepublicanLawrence Sherman2
John G. Oglesby
24EFDunne.jpgEdward F. DunneFebruary 3, 1913January 8, 1917DemocraticBarratt O'Hara1
25Frank O Lowden portrait.jpgFrank O. LowdenJanuary 8, 1917January 10, 1921RepublicanJohn G. Oglesby1
26Lensmall.jpgLen SmallJanuary 10, 1921January 14, 1929RepublicanFred Sterling2
27Louis Lincoln Emmerson.jpgLouis L. EmmersonJanuary 14, 1929January 9, 1933RepublicanFred Sterling1
28Henry Horner.jpgHenry HornerJanuary 9, 1933October 6, 1940DemocraticThomas Donovan1 12[h]
John Henry Stelle
29John H. StelleOctober 6, 1940January 13, 1941DemocraticVacant12[i]
30Dwight H. Green cph.3b30070.jpgDwight H. GreenJanuary 13, 1941January 10, 1949RepublicanHugh W. Cross2
31AdlaiEStevenson1900-1965.jpgAdlai E. Stevenson IIJanuary 10, 1949January 12, 1953DemocraticSherwood Dixon1
32William G. StrattonJanuary 12, 1953January 9, 1961RepublicanJohn William Chapman2
33Otto Kerner cropped.pngOtto Kerner, Jr.January 9, 1961May 21, 1968DemocraticSamuel H. Shapiro1 12[m]
34Sam Shapiro.pngSamuel H. ShapiroMay 21, 1968January 13, 1969DemocraticVacant12[i]
35Richard B. Ogilvie.jpgRichard Buell OgilvieJanuary 13, 1969January 8, 1973RepublicanPaul Simon[f]1
36Dan WalkerJanuary 8, 1973January 10, 1977DemocraticNeil Hartigan1
37Bio thompson.jpgJames R. ThompsonJanuary 10, 1977January 14, 1991RepublicanDave O'Neal4[n]
George H. Ryan
38JimEdgar2013.pngJim EdgarJanuary 14, 1991January 11, 1999RepublicanBob Kustra2
392007 Governor George Ryan crop4.JPGGeorge H. RyanJanuary 11, 1999January 13, 2003RepublicanCorinne Wood1
40Blagojevich greeting students at Ill State U. in 2006.jpgRod BlagojevichJanuary 13, 2003January 29, 2009DemocraticPat Quinn1 12[o]
41Governor Pat Quinn.jpgPat QuinnJanuary 29, 2009IncumbentDemocraticSheila Simon1 12[p][q]
42Bruce RaunerJanuary 12, 2015Governor-electRepublicanEvelyn Sanguinetti1[r]


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Resigned.[citation needed]
  3. ^ Resigned to take elected seat in the United States House of Representatives.
  4. ^ As acting lieutenant governor, acted as governor for unexpired term.
  5. ^ Resigned.[citation needed]
  6. ^ a b c d Represented the Democratic Party.
  7. ^ French was the first governor elected under the provisions of the 1848 constitution, which shifted the election year, shortening his first term to two years. The constitutional convention called for new elections, and despite falling under the term limit he was allowed to run.[1]
  8. ^ a b Died in office.
  9. ^ a b c d e As lieutenant governor, acted as governor for unexpired term.
  10. ^ based on Rod R. Blagojevich, 40th governor and Jim Edgar is the 38th, Oglesby was the 14th governor all three occasions.
  11. ^ Resigned so that Lieutenant Governor Beveridge would appoint him to the United States Senate.
  12. ^ Resigned to take elected seat in the United States Senate.
  13. ^ Resigned to take seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
  14. ^ James Thompson's first term was only 2 years because a constitutional amendment had passed moving gubernatorial elections to coincide with Congressional midterms
  15. ^ Impeached and removed from office on charges of corruption.
  16. ^ As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term and was subsequently elected in his own right.
  17. ^ Governor Quinn's term expires on January 12, 2015.
  18. ^ Bruce Rauner was elected to office on November 4, 2014, and will take office on January 12, 2015.

Other high offices held[edit]

This is a table of congressional seats and other federal offices held by governors. All representatives and senators mentioned represented Illinois. * denotes those offices which the governor resigned to take.

GovernorGubernatorial termOther offices heldSources
Ninian Edwards1809–1818
Shadrach Bond1818–1822Delegate from Illinois Territory
John Reynolds1830–1834Representative*
William Lee D. Ewing1834Senator
Joseph Duncan1834–1838Representative
William Henry Bissell1857–1860Representative
Richard Yates1861–1865Representative, Senator
Richard J. Oglesby1865–1869
John M. Palmer1869–1873Senator
Shelby Moore Cullom1877–1883Representative, Senator*
Richard Yates1901–1905Representative
Charles S. Deneen1905–1913Senator
Frank O. Lowden1917–1921Representative
Adlai Stevenson1949–1953Ambassador to the United Nations
William Stratton1953–1961Representative
Otto Kerner, Jr.1961–1968Seventh Circuit Court Judge*
Rod Blagojevich2003–2009Representative

Living former governors[edit]

As of September 2014, five former governors were alive, the oldest being Dan Walker (1973–1977, born 1922). The most recent death of a former governor was that of William Stratton (1953–1961), who died on March 2, 2001. The most recently serving governor to die was Richard Buell Ogilvie, who left office on January 8, 1973 and died on May 10, 1988 at the age of 65.

GovernorGubernatorial termDate of birth
Dan Walker1973–1977(1922-08-06) August 6, 1922 (age 92)
James R. Thompson1977–1991(1936-05-08) May 8, 1936 (age 78)
Jim Edgar1991–1999(1946-07-22) July 22, 1946 (age 68)
George Ryan1999–2003(1934-02-24) February 24, 1934 (age 80)
Rod Blagojevich2003–2009(1956-12-10) December 10, 1956 (age 57)


  1. ^ IL Const. art. V
  2. ^ Robert P. Howard (1988), Mostly Good and Competent Men: Illinois Governors, 1818–1988, Illinois Issues and the Illinois State Historical Society, 39–40.
  3. ^ 1818 Const. art. III, § 2
  4. ^ 1818 Const. art. III, § 3
  5. ^ 1848 Const. art. IV, § 3
  6. ^ 1818 Const. art. III, § 3
  7. ^ 1818 Const. art. III, § 13
  8. ^ 1818 Const. art. III, § 18
  9. ^ 1848 Const. art. IV, § 19
  10. ^ IL Const. art. V, § 6
  11. ^ IL Const. art. V, § 4
  12. ^ Resigned when? NGA says 5th or 16th[citation needed]