List of governors of Tennessee

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Governor of Tennessee
Standard of the Governor of Tennessee.svg
Incumbent
Bill Haslam

since January 15, 2011
StyleThe Honorable
ResidenceTennessee Governor's Mansion
Term lengthFour years, renewable once
Inaugural holderJohn Sevier
1796
Websitewww.tn.gov/governor/
 
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Governor of Tennessee
Standard of the Governor of Tennessee.svg
Incumbent
Bill Haslam

since January 15, 2011
StyleThe Honorable
ResidenceTennessee Governor's Mansion
Term lengthFour years, renewable once
Inaugural holderJohn Sevier
1796
Websitewww.tn.gov/governor/

This is a list of people who have served as Governor of Tennessee.

The governor's term in office is limited by the Tennessee state constitution. The first constitution, enacted in 1796, set a term of two years for the governor and provided that no person could serve as governor for more than six years in any eight-year period.[1] The term of office was lengthened to four years, without the possibility of consecutive terms, by constitutional amendments adopted in 1953.[2] Under the current provisions of the state constitution, as amended in 1978, the governor is elected to a four-year term and may serve no more than two terms consecutively.[2][3]

For a period of nearly five decades in the 20th century, the Tennessee Democratic Party held the Tennessee governorship continuously. However, since 1967 no two successive governors have belonged to the same party.

According to the Tennessee Blue Book, Tennessee has had 49 governors, including the incumbent, Bill Haslam.[4] This tally does not include William Blount (the territorial governor) or Robert L. Caruthers (who never took office), though the Blue Book includes them in its list of governors.[5] All governors are counted only once, regardless of number of terms served (e.g., John Sevier is considered the 1st governor, rather than the 1st and 3rd governor). The Blue Book does not include Edward H. East in its list of governors.

Southwest Territory[edit]

The Territory South of the River Ohio, commonly called the Southwest Territory, was formed in 1790 from lands ceded by North Carolina to the United States government. The territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Tennessee in 1796.

Name
Term
Party
Life
State of Birth
Occupation
Notes
William BlountSeptember 20, 1790 – March 30, 1796Democratic-Republican1749–1800NCLand speculator[6]






State of Tennessee[edit]

Name
Term
Party
Life
State of Birth
Occupation
Notes
John SevierMarch 30, 1796 – September 23, 1801Democratic-Republican1745–1815VASoldier, pioneer
Archibald RoaneSeptember 23, 1801 – September 23, 1803Democratic-Republican1760–1819PALawyer
John SevierSeptember 23, 1803 – September 20, 1809Democratic-Republican1745–1815VASoldier, pioneer
Willie BlountSeptember 20, 1809 – September 27, 1815Democratic-Republican1768–1835NCLawyer, planter
Joseph McMinnSeptember 27, 1815 – October 1, 1821Democratic-Republican1758–1824PAMerchant
William CarrollOctober 1, 1821 – October 1, 1827Democratic-Republican1788–1844PAMerchant, soldier
Sam HoustonOctober 1, 1827 – April 16, 1829Democratic-Republican1793–1863VALawyer
William HallApril 16, 1829 – October 1, 1829Democratic1775–1856NCPlanter, soldier
William CarrollOctober 1, 1829 – October 12, 1835Democratic1788–1844PAMerchant, soldier
Newton CannonOctober 12, 1835 – October 14, 1839Whig1781–1841NCPlanter
James K. PolkOctober 14, 1839 – October 15, 1841Democratic1795–1849NCLawyer/President
James C. JonesOctober 15, 1841 – October 14, 1845Whig1809–1859TNLawyer
Aaron V. BrownOctober 14, 1845 – October 17, 1847Democratic1795–1859VALawyer
Neill S. BrownOctober 17, 1847 – October 16, 1849Whig1810–1886TNLawyer
William TrousdaleOctober 16, 1849 – October 16, 1851Democratic1790–1872NCLawyer
William B. CampbellOctober 16, 1851 – October 17, 1853Whig1807–1867TNLawyer
Andrew JohnsonOctober 17, 1853 – November 3, 1857Democratic1808–1875NCTailor, President
Isham G. HarrisNovember 3, 1857 – March 12, 1862Democratic1818–1897TNLawyer, U.S. Senator[7]
Andrew JohnsonMarch 12, 1862 – March 4, 1865Unionist/Military1808–1875NCTailor, President
Edward H. East
(acting)
March 4, 1865 – April 5, 1865Republican1830–1904TNLawyer[8]
William G. BrownlowApril 5, 1865 – February 25, 1869Republican1805–1877VAEditor, preacher
Dewitt Clinton SenterFebruary 25, 1869 – October 10, 1871Republican1830–1898TNLawyer
John C. BrownOctober 10, 1871 – January 18, 1875Democratic1827–1889TNLawyer
James D. PorterJanuary 18, 1875 – February 16, 1879Democratic1828–1912TNLawyer, educator
Albert S. MarksFebruary 16, 1879 – January 17, 1881Democratic1836–1891KYLawyer, chancellor
Alvin HawkinsJanuary 17, 1881 – January 15, 1883Republican1821–1905KYLawyer, judge
William B. BateJanuary 15, 1883 – January 17, 1887Democratic1826–1905TNLawyer, U.S. Senator
Robert Love TaylorJanuary 17, 1887 – January 19, 1891Democratic1850–1912TNLawyer, U.S. Senator
John P. BuchananJanuary 19, 1891 – January 16, 1893Farm-Labor1847–1930TNFarmer
Peter TurneyJanuary 16, 1893 – January 21, 1897Democratic1827–1903TNLawyer, judge
Robert Love TaylorJanuary 21, 1897 – January 16, 1899Democratic1850–1912TNLawyer, U.S. Senator
Benton McMillinJanuary 16, 1899 – January 19, 1903Democratic1845–1933KYLawyer, diplomat
James B. FrazierJanuary 19, 1903 – March 21, 1905Democratic1856–1937TNLawyer, U.S. Senator
John I. CoxMarch 21, 1905 – January 17, 1907Democratic1855–1946TNLawyer
Malcolm R. PattersonJanuary 17, 1907 – January 26, 1911Democratic1861–1935ALLawyer, judge
Ben W. HooperJanuary 26, 1911 – January 17, 1915Republican1870–1957TNLawyer
Tom C. RyeJanuary 17, 1915 – January 15, 1919Democratic1863–1953TNLawyer, judge
A. H. RobertsJanuary 15, 1919 – January 15, 1921Democratic1868–1946TNLawyer, judge
Alfred A. TaylorJanuary 15, 1921 – January 16, 1923Republican1848–1931TNLawyer
Austin PeayJanuary 16, 1923 – October 3, 1927Democratic1876–1927KYLawyer[9]
Henry Hollis HortonOctober 3, 1927 – January 17, 1933Democratic1866–1934ALLawyer, farmer
Harry Hill McAlisterJanuary 17, 1933 – January 15, 1937Democratic1875–1959TNLawyer
Gordon BrowningJanuary 15, 1937 – January 16, 1939Democratic1889–1976TNLawyer, judge
Prentice CooperJanuary 16, 1939 – January 16, 1945Democratic1895–1969TNLawyer
Jim Nance McCordJanuary 16, 1945 – January 16, 1949Democratic1879–1968TNEditor
Gordon BrowningJanuary 16, 1949 – January 15, 1953Democratic1889–1976TNLawyer, Judge
Frank G. ClementJanuary 15, 1953 – January 19, 1959Democratic1920–1969TNLawyer
Buford EllingtonJanuary 19, 1959 – January 15, 1963Democratic1907–1972MSFarmer
Frank G. ClementJanuary 15, 1963 – January 16, 1967Democratic1920–1969TNLawyer
Buford EllingtonJanuary 16, 1967 – January 16, 1971Democratic1907–1972MSFarmer
Winfield DunnJanuary 16, 1971 – January 18, 1975Republicanb. 1927MSDentist
Ray BlantonJanuary 18, 1975 – January 17, 1979Democratic1930–1996TNFarmer, businessman
Lamar AlexanderJanuary 17, 1979 – January 17, 1987Republicanb. 1940TNLawyer, US Senator
Ned McWherterJanuary 17, 1987 – January 21, 1995Democratic1930–2011TNBusinessman
Don SundquistJanuary 21, 1995 – January 18, 2003Republicanb. 1936ILBusinessman
Phil BredesenJanuary 18, 2003 – January 15, 2011Democraticb. 1943NJBusinessman
Bill HaslamJanuary 15, 2011 – presentRepublicanb. 1958TNBusinessman

Other high offices held by governors[edit]

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

NameGubernatorial termU.S. CongressOther offices held
HouseSenate
William Blount1790–1796 (territorial)SContinental Congressman from North Carolina
John Sevier1796–1801, 1803–1809HU.S. Representative from North Carolina; Governor of the State of Franklin
Sam Houston1827–1829HPresident of the Republic of Texas; U.S. Senator from Texas; Governor of Texas
William Hall1829H
Newton Cannon1835–1839H
James K. Polk1839–1841H11th President of the United States
James C. Jones1841–1845S
Aaron V. Brown1845–1847HUnited States Postmaster General
Neill S. Brown1847–1849United States Minister to Russia
William Trousdale1849–1851United States Minister to Brazil
William B. Campbell1851–1853H
Andrew Johnson1853–1857, 1862–1865HS17th President of the United States; 16th Vice President of the United States
Isham G. Harris1857–1862HS
William G. Brownlow1865–1869S
James D. Porter1875–1879United States Minister to Chile
William B. Bate1883–1887S
Robert Love Taylor1897–1899HS
Benton McMillin1899–1903HUnited States Minister to Peru; United States Minister to Guatemala
James B. Frazier1903–1905S*
Malcolm R. Patterson1907–1911H
Alfred A. Taylor1921–1923H
Gordon Browning1937–1939, 1949–1953H
Prentice Cooper1939–1945United States Ambassador to Peru
Jim Nance McCord1945–1949H
Ray Blanton1975–1979H
Lamar Alexander1979–1987SUnited States Secretary of Education
Don Sundquist1995–2003H

Living former governors[edit]

As of 21 November 2012 (2012-11-21), four former governors were alive, the oldest being Winfield Dunn (1971–1975, born 1927). The most recent death of governor was Ned McWherter (1987–1995), on April 4, 2011, who is also the most recently serving governor to have died.

NameGubernatorial termDate of birth
Winfield Dunn1971–1975(1927-07-01) July 1, 1927 (age 86)
Lamar Alexander1979–1987(1940-07-03) July 3, 1940 (age 73)
Don Sundquist1995–2003(1936-03-15) March 15, 1936 (age 77)
Phil Bredesen2003–2011(1943-11-21) November 21, 1943 (age 70)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Jonathan M. Atkins. "William Carroll" in Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture (online edition). Accessed January 27, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Government", Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture 
  3. ^ William Lyons, John M. Scheb, Billy Stair (2001). Government and politics in Tennessee. University of Tennessee Press. p. 48–49. ISBN 978-1-57233-141-9. 
  4. ^ "Office of the Governor," Tennessee Blue Book (2011–2012), p. 169.
  5. ^ "Past Governors," Tennessee Blue Book (2011–2012), pp. 547, 553.
  6. ^ Appointed governor by President George Washington
  7. ^ Harris continued issuing edicts as governor throughout the Civil War. Confederate Tennesseans elected Robert L. Caruthers as Harris's successor in 1863, but Caruthers never took office.
  8. ^ East was Tennessee Secretary of State from 1862–1865, appointed by Andrew Johnson, the military governor of the state under Union occupation during the American Civil War. After Johnson was inaugurated as Vice-President of the United States on March 4, 1865, East became the Acting Governor of Tennessee until William G. Brownlow, the "elected" governor of Tennessee, was inaugurated on April 5, 1865. The official Tennessee Blue Book does not include East in its list of former governors.
  9. ^ Peay is the only Governor of Tennessee to die in office and was succeeded by Lieutenant Governor Henry Horton.

References[edit]

Tennessee Government and Politics: Democracy in the Volunteer State p. 43, John R. Vile and Mark E. Byrnes. 1998, Vanderbilt University Press

External links[edit]