List of Governors of Alabama

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

since January 17, 2011
Style The Honorable
Residence Alabama Governor's Mansion
Term length Four years, can succeed self once
Inaugural holder William Wyatt Bibb
Formation December 14, 1819
Deputy Lieutenant Governor of Alabama
Salary $119,950 (2013)[1]
Website http://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.

Picture Governor Took office Left office Appointed by
Portrait of a man facing the right. William Wyatt Bibb March 6, 1817[a] December 14, 1819 James 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.

Parties

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

#[e] Picture Governor Term start Term end Party Term[f] Lt. Governor[g][h]
1 William Wyatt Bibb.jpg   William Wyatt Bibb December 14, 1819 July 10, 1820 Democratic-
Republican
1[i] None
2 Thomas Bibb.jpg Thomas Bibb July 10, 1820 November 9, 1821 Democratic-
Republican
3 Pickensisrael.jpg Israel Pickens November 9, 1821 November 25, 1825 Democratic-
Republican
2
3
4 John murphy.jpg John Murphy November 25, 1825 November 25, 1829 Jackson
Democrat
4
5
5 Gabrielmoore.jpg Gabriel Moore November 25, 1829 March 3, 1831 Jackson
Democrat
6[j]
6 Blank.JPG Samuel B. Moore March 3, 1831 November 26, 1831 Democratic
7 JohnGayle.jpg John Gayle November 26, 1831 November 21, 1835 Democratic 7
8
8 Clement Comer Clay.jpg Clement Comer Clay November 21, 1835 July 17, 1837 Democratic 9[k]
9 Hugh McVay.jpg Hugh McVay July 17, 1837 November 30, 1837 Democratic
10 Arthur bagby.jpg Arthur P. Bagby November 30, 1837 November 22, 1841 Democratic 10
11
11 Hon. Benjamin Fitzpatrick, Ala - NARA - 528657.jpg Benjamin Fitzpatrick November 22, 1841 December 10, 1845 Democratic 12
13
12 Gov. Joshua L. Martin.jpg Joshua L. Martin December 10, 1845 December 16, 1847 Independent 14[l]
13 Governor Reuben Chapman.jpg Reuben Chapman December 16, 1847 December 17, 1849 Democratic 15
14 Governor Henry Watkins Collier.jpg Henry W. Collier December 17, 1849 December 20, 1853 Democratic 16
17
15 Blank.JPG John A. Winston December 20, 1853 December 1, 1857 Democratic 18
19
16 Blank.JPG Andrew B. Moore December 1, 1857 December 2, 1861 Democratic 20
21
17 Blank.JPG John Gill Shorter December 2, 1861 December 1, 1863 Democratic 22
18 Thomas Hill Watts 1860s.jpg Thomas H. Watts December 1, 1863 May 1, 1865 Democratic 23[m]
19 Lewis E. Parsons - Brady-Handy.jpg Lewis E. Parsons June 21, 1865 December 13, 1865 Democratic
20 Robert patton.jpg Robert M. Patton December 13, 1865 July 24, 1868 Pre-War Whig 24[n]
— WSwayne.jpg Wager Swayne March 2, 1867 July 14, 1868 Military —[o]
21 Blank.JPG William Hugh Smith July 24, 1868 November 26, 1870 Republican 25[p]
  Andrew J. Applegate[q]
Vacant
22 Blank.JPG Robert B. Lindsay November 26, 1870 November 17, 1872 Democratic 26[p] Edward H. Moren
23 Blank.JPG David P. Lewis November 17, 1872 November 24, 1874 Republican 27 Alexander McKinstry
24 George S. Houston - Brady-Handy.jpg George S. Houston November 24, 1874 November 28, 1878 Democratic 28 Robert F. Ligon
29 None
25 Rufus W, Cobb.jpg Rufus W. Cobb November 28, 1878 December 1, 1882 Democratic 30
31
26 EAO'Neal.jpg Edward A. O'Neal December 1, 1882 December 1, 1886 Democratic 32
33
27 GOVTHOMASSEAY.JPG Thomas Seay December 1, 1886 December 1, 1890 Democratic 34
35
28 Thomas Goode Jones CSA.jpg Thomas G. Jones December 1, 1890 December 1, 1894 Democratic 36
37
29 William c oates.jpg William C. Oates December 1, 1894 December 1, 1896 Democratic 38
30 Joseph F Johnston-photo portrait.jpg Joseph F. Johnston December 1, 1896 December 1, 1900 Democratic 39
40
— William D. Jelks.jpg William D. Jelks December 1, 1900 December 26, 1900 Democratic 41[r]
31 William-J-Samford.jpg William J. Samford December 1, 1900 June 11, 1901 Democratic
32 William D. Jelks.jpg William D. Jelks June 11, 1901 January 14, 1907 Democratic
42[s] Russell M. Cunningham
— Russell McWhortor Cunningham ca 1904.png Russell M. Cunningham April 25, 1904 March 5, 1905 Democratic —[t] Acting as governor
33 Braxton Bragg Comer.jpg B. B. Comer January 14, 1907 January 17, 1911 Democratic 43 Henry B. Gray
34 O'Neal1913.jpg Emmet O'Neal January 17, 1911 January 18, 1915 Democratic 44 Walter D. Seed, Sr.
35 Governor Charles Henderson.jpg Charles Henderson January 18, 1915 January 20, 1919 Democratic 45 Thomas Kilby
36 Thomas Kilby.jpg Thomas Kilby January 20, 1919 January 15, 1923 Democratic 46 Nathan Lee Miller
37 Governor William W. Brandon.jpg William W. Brandon January 15, 1923 January 17, 1927 Democratic 47 Charles S. McDowell
— Blank.JPG Charles S. McDowell July 10, 1924 July 11, 1924 Democratic —[u] Acting as governor
38 Bibb Graves.jpg Bibb Graves January 17, 1927 January 19, 1931 Democratic 48 William C. Davis
39 Blank.JPG Benjamin M. Miller January 19, 1931 January 14, 1935 Democratic 49 Hugh Davis Merrill
38 Bibb Graves.jpg Bibb Graves January 14, 1935 January 17, 1939 Democratic 50 Thomas E. Knight[q]
Vacant
40 Blank.JPG Frank M. Dixon January 17, 1939 January 19, 1943 Democratic 51 Albert A. Carmichael
41 Blank.JPG Chauncey Sparks January 19, 1943 January 20, 1947 Democratic 52 Leven H. Ellis
42 Blank.JPG Jim Folsom January 20, 1947 January 15, 1951 Democratic 53 James C. Inzer
43 Blank.JPG Gordon Persons January 15, 1951 January 17, 1955 Democratic 54 James Allen
42 Blank.JPG Jim Folsom January 17, 1955 January 19, 1959 Democratic 55 William G. Hardwick
44 Blank.JPG John M. Patterson January 19, 1959 January 14, 1963 Democratic 56 Albert Boutwell
45 George C Wallace.jpg George Wallace January 14, 1963 January 16, 1967 Democratic 57 James Allen
46 Lurleen wallace.jpg Lurleen Wallace January 16, 1967 May 7, 1968 Democratic 58[v] Albert Brewer
47 Brewer cropped.JPG Albert Brewer May 7, 1968 January 18, 1971 Democratic Vacant
45 George C Wallace.jpg George Wallace January 18, 1971 January 15, 1979 Democratic 59 Jere Beasley
60
— Jere Beasley.JPG Jere Beasley June 5, 1972 July 7, 1972 Democratic —[w] Acting as governor
48 Blank.JPG Fob James January 15, 1979 January 17, 1983 Democratic 61 George McMillan
45 George C Wallace.jpg George Wallace January 17, 1983 January 19, 1987 Democratic 62 Bill Baxley
49 Blank.JPG H. Guy Hunt January 19, 1987 April 22, 1993 Republican 63 Jim Folsom, Jr.[x]
64[y]
50 Liljim folsom.jpg Jim Folsom, Jr. April 22, 1993 January 16, 1995 Democratic Vacant
48 Blank.JPG Fob James January 16, 1995 January 18, 1999 Republican 65 Don Siegelman[x]
51 Don Siegelman at Netroots Nation 2008.jpg Don Siegelman January 18, 1999 January 20, 2003 Democratic 66 Steve Windom[z]
52 Governor Bob Riley.jpg Bob Riley January 20, 2003 January 17, 2011 Republican 67 Lucy Baxley[x]
68 Jim Folsom, Jr.[x]
53 Robert Bentley.jpg Robert J. Bentley January 17, 2011 Incumbent Republican 69 Kay Ivey
70[aa]

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. ^ Each term for which a governor is elected is listed here; if multiple governors served in a single term, due to resignations, deaths, and the like, then that term will be shared among those governors. If a governor was elected multiple times, then there will be multiple terms listed for that governor.
  7. ^ 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]
  8. ^ Lieutenant governors represented the same party as their governor unless noted.
  9. ^ William Wyatt Bibb died in office. As president of the state senate, Thomas Bibb filled the unexpired term.
  10. ^ Gabriel Moore resigned to take an elected seat in the U.S. Senate. As president of the state senate, Samuel B. Moore filled the unexpired term.
  11. ^ Clay resigned to take an elected seat in the U.S. Senate. As president of the state senate, McVay filled the unexpired term.
  12. ^ Martin was a Democrat who opposed party leaders and ran as an independent.[15]
  13. ^ Watts was arrested by Union forces soon after the American Civil War ended; he was released a few weeks later.[16] Parsons was appointed provisional governor by the Union occupation. Between Watts's arrest and Parsons's appointment, Alabama had no governor, and was under the direct rule of General George Henry Thomas.[17]
  14. ^ 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]
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ a b Lindsay was sworn into office on November 26, 1870, but 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]
  17. ^ a b Died in office.
  18. ^ At the start of Samford's term, he was out of state seeking medical treatment. Thus, as president of the state senate, Jelks acted as governor in his absence. Samford later died in office, and Jelks filled the unexpired term.[21]
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ Jelks was out of state for medical treatment for nearly a year, thus Cunningham acted as governor for that time.[22]
  21. ^ McDowell, as lieutenant governor, acted as governor for two days when Brandon was out of state for 21 days as a delegate for the 1924 Democratic National Convention.[3]
  22. ^ Lurleen Wallace left the state for 20 days for medical treatment; as lieutenant governor, Brewer became acting governor on July 25, 1967. Wallace returned to the state later that day.[3][23] Wallace later died in office, and as lieutenant governor, Brewer filled the unexpired term.
  23. ^ 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; thus he was acting governor for 32 days.[3]
  24. ^ a b c d Represented the Democratic Party.
  25. ^ Hunt was 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] As lieutenant governor, Jim Folsom, Jr., filled the unexpired term.
  26. ^ Represented the Republican Party.
  27. ^ Governor Bentley's 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. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 
  16. ^ "Alabama Governor Thomas Hill Watts". National Governors Association. Archived from