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
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 $112,895 (2009)[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] In addition, the first governor, William Wyatt Bibb, served as the only governor of 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 government in exile, so there was a single line of governors. Following the end of the American Civil War during Reconstruction, it 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

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

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

Governor Gubernatorial term Other offices held Sources
Bibb, William WyattWilliam Wyatt Bibb 1817–1820 Representative and Senatordagger from Georgia [25][26]
Pickens, IsraelIsrael Pickens 1821–1825 Representative from North Carolina, Senator [27]
Murphy, JohnJohn Murphy 1825–1829 Representative [28]
Moore, GabrielGabriel Moore 1829–1831 Representative, Senator* [29]
Gayle, JohnJohn Gayle 1831–1835 Representative [30]
Clay, Clement ComerClement Comer Clay 1835–1837 Representative, Senator* [31]
Bagby, Arthur P.Arthur P. Bagby 1837–1841 Senator, Minister to Russia [32]
Fitzpatrick, BenjaminBenjamin Fitzpatrick 1841–1845 Senator (including as President pro tempore) [33]
Martin, Joshua L.Joshua L. Martin 1845–1847 Representative [34]
Chapman, ReubenReuben Chapman 1847–1849 Representative [35]
Winston, John A.John A. Winston 1853–1857 Elected to the Senate but was refused his seat [36]
Shorter, John GillJohn Gill Shorter 1861–1863 Provisional Confederate Deputydagger [37][38]
Watts, Thomas H.Thomas H. Watts 1863–1865 Confederate States Attorney General [39]
Parsons, Lewis E.Lewis E. Parsons 1865 Elected to the Senate but was refused his seat [17]
Lewis, David P.David P. Lewis 1872–1874 Provisional Confederate Deputy [40]
Houston, George S.George S. Houston 1874–1878 Representative, Senator [41]
Johnston, Joseph F.Joseph F. Johnston 1896–1900 Senator [42]
Samford, William J.William J. Samford 1900–1901 Representative [43]
Comer, B. B.B. B. Comer 1907–1911 Senator [44]
Riley, BobBob Riley 2003–2011 Representative [45]

Living former governors[edit]

As of April 2011, seven former governors were alive. The most recent death of a former governor was that of H. Guy Hunt (1987–1993), who died on January 30, 2009.

Governor Term of office Date of birth
John M. Patterson 1959–1963 (1921-09-27) September 27, 1921 (age 92)
Albert Brewer 1968–1971 (1928-10-26) October 26, 1928 (age 85)
Jere Beasley 1972 (acting) (1935-12-12) December 12, 1935 (age 78)
Fob James 1979–1983,
1995–1999
(1934-09-15) September 15, 1934 (age 79)
Jim Folsom, Jr. 1993–1995 (1949-05-14) May 14, 1949 (age 65)
Don Siegelman 1999–2003 (1946-02-24) February 24, 1946 (age 68)
Bob Riley 2003–2011 (1944-10-03) October 3, 1944 (age 69)

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 is not yet term limited.

References[edit]

General
Constitutions
Specific
  1. ^ "Governor Salary". Tuscaloosa News. April 5, 2003. Retrieved April 30, 2010. 
  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. R