List of Governors of Illinois
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.
Governor of the Territory of Illinois
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.
|Picture||Governor||Took office||Left office||Appointed by|
|Ninian Edwards||March 1, 1809||October 6, 1818||James Madison|
Governors of the State of Illinois
The first Illinois Constitution, ratified in 1818, provided that a governor be elected every four years for a term starting on the first Monday in the December following an election. The constitution of 1848 moved the start of the term to the second Monday in January. Governors were not allowed to succeed themselves until the 1870 constitution, which removed this limit.
The office of lieutenant governor was created in the first constitution, to exercise the power of governor if that office becomes vacant. The 1848 constitution changed this to say the power "devolves" upon the lieutenant governor in case of a vacancy. The current constitution of 1970 made it so that, in the event of a vacancy, the lieutenant becomes governor, and the governor and lieutenant governor are now elected on the same ticket.
|#||Picture||Governor||Took office||Left office||Party||Lt. Governor||Terms[a]|
|1||Shadrach Bond||October 6, 1818||December 5, 1822||Independent||Pierre Menard||1|
|2||Edward Coles||December 5, 1822||December 6, 1826||Independent||Adolphus Hubbard||1|
|3||Ninian Edwards||December 6, 1826||December 6, 1830||Adams-Clay
|4||John Reynolds||December 6, 1830||November 17, 1834||Democratic||Zadok Casey[b]||1⁄2[c]|
|William Lee D. Ewing|
|5||William Lee D. Ewing||November 17, 1834||December 3, 1834||Democratic||Vacant||1⁄2[d]|
|6||Joseph Duncan||December 3, 1834||December 7, 1838||Whig||Alexander Jenkins[e]||1|
|William H. Davidson[f]|
|7||Thomas Carlin||December 7, 1838||December 8, 1842||Democratic||Stinson Anderson||1|
|8||Thomas Ford||December 8, 1842||December 9, 1846||Democratic||John Moore||1|
|9||Augustus C. French||December 9, 1846||January 10, 1853||Democratic||Joseph Wells||2[g]|
|10||Joel Aldrich Matteson||January 10, 1853||January 12, 1857||Democratic||Gustavus Koerner||1|
|11||William Henry Bissell||January 12, 1857||March 18, 1860||Republican||John Wood||1⁄2[h]|
|12||John Wood||March 18, 1860||January 14, 1861||Republican||Thomas Marshall[f]||1⁄2[i]|
|13||Richard Yates||January 14, 1861||January 16, 1865||Republican||Francis Hoffmann||1|
|14[j]||Richard J. Oglesby||January 16, 1865||January 11, 1869||Republican||William Bross||1|
|15||John M. Palmer||January 11, 1869||January 13, 1873||Republican||John Dougherty||1|
|14||Richard J. Oglesby||January 13, 1873||January 23, 1873||Republican||John Lourie Beveridge||1⁄2[k]|
|16||John Lourie Beveridge||January 23, 1873||January 8, 1877||Republican||John Early||1⁄2[i]|
|17||Shelby Moore Cullom||January 8, 1877||February 16, 1883||Republican||Andrew Shuman||1 1⁄2[l]|
|John Marshall Hamilton|
|18||John Marshall Hamilton||February 16, 1883||January 30, 1885||Republican||William Campbell||1⁄2[i]|
|14||Richard J. Oglesby||January 30, 1885||January 14, 1889||Republican||John Smith||1|
|19||Joseph W. Fifer||January 14, 1889||January 10, 1893||Republican||Lyman Ray||1|
|20||John Peter Altgeld||January 10, 1893||January 11, 1897||Democratic||Joseph B. Gill||1|
|21||John R. Tanner||January 11, 1897||January 14, 1901||Republican||William Northcott||1|
|22||Richard Yates, Jr.||January 14, 1901||January 9, 1905||Republican||William Northcott||1|
|23||Charles S. Deneen||January 9, 1905||February 3, 1913||Republican||Lawrence Sherman||2|
|John G. Oglesby|
|24||Edward F. Dunne||February 3, 1913||January 8, 1917||Democratic||Barratt O'Hara||1|
|25||Frank O. Lowden||January 8, 1917||January 10, 1921||Republican||John G. Oglesby||1|
|26||Len Small||January 10, 1921||January 14, 1929||Republican||Fred E. Sterling||2|
|27||Louis L. Emmerson||January 14, 1929||January 9, 1933||Republican||Fred E. Sterling||1|
|28||Henry Horner||January 9, 1933||October 6, 1940||Democratic||Thomas Donovan||1 1⁄2[h]|
|John Henry Stelle|
|29||John H. Stelle||October 6, 1940||January 13, 1941||Democratic||Vacant||1⁄2[i]|
|30||Dwight H. Green||January 13, 1941||January 10, 1949||Republican||Hugh W. Cross||2|
|31||Adlai E. Stevenson II||January 10, 1949||January 12, 1953||Democratic||Sherwood Dixon||1|
|32||William G. Stratton||January 12, 1953||January 9, 1961||Republican||John William Chapman||2|
|33||Otto Kerner, Jr.||January 9, 1961||May 21, 1968||Democratic||Samuel H. Shapiro||1 1⁄2[m]|
|34||Samuel H. Shapiro||May 21, 1968||January 13, 1969||Democratic||Vacant||1⁄2[i]|
|35||Richard Buell Ogilvie||January 13, 1969||January 8, 1973||Republican||Paul Simon[f]||1|
|36||Dan Walker||January 8, 1973||January 10, 1977||Democratic||Neil Hartigan||1|
|37||James R. Thompson||January 10, 1977||January 14, 1991||Republican||Dave O'Neal||4[n]|
|George H. Ryan|
|38||Jim Edgar||January 14, 1991||January 11, 1999||Republican||Bob Kustra||2|
|39||George H. Ryan||January 11, 1999||January 13, 2003||Republican||Corinne Wood||1|
|40||Rod Blagojevich||January 13, 2003||January 29, 2009||Democratic||Pat Quinn||1 1⁄2[o]|
|41||Pat Quinn||January 29, 2009||January 12, 2015||Democratic||Sheila Simon||1 1⁄2[p]|
|42||Bruce Rauner||January 12, 2015||Incumbent||Republican||Evelyn Sanguinetti||1[q]|
- 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.
- Resigned.
- Resigned to take elected seat in the United States House of Representatives.
- As acting lieutenant governor, acted as governor for unexpired term.
- Resigned.
- Represented the Democratic Party.
- 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.
- Died in office.
- As lieutenant governor, acted as governor for unexpired term.
- based on Rod R. Blagojevich, 40th governor and Jim Edgar is the 38th, Oglesby was the 14th governor all three occasions.
- Resigned so that Lieutenant Governor Beveridge would appoint him to the United States Senate.
- Resigned to take elected seat in the United States Senate.
- Resigned to take seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
- James Thompson's first term was only 2 years because a constitutional amendment had passed moving gubernatorial elections to coincide with Congressional midterms
- Impeached and removed from office on charges of corruption.
- As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term and was subsequently elected in his own right.
- Governor Rauner's term expires on January 14, 2019.
Other high offices held
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.
|Governor||Gubernatorial term||Other offices held||Sources|
|Shadrach Bond||1818–1822||Delegate from Illinois Territory|
|William Lee D. Ewing||1834||Senator|
|William Henry Bissell||1857–1860||Representative|
|Richard Yates||1861–1865||Representative, Senator|
|Richard J. Oglesby||1865–1869
|John M. Palmer||1869–1873||Senator|
|Shelby Moore Cullom||1877–1883||Representative, Senator*|
|Charles S. Deneen||1905–1913||Senator|
|Frank O. Lowden||1917–1921||Representative|
|Adlai Stevenson||1949–1953||Ambassador to the United Nations|
|Otto Kerner, Jr.||1961–1968||Seventh Circuit Court Judge*|
Living former governors
As of January 2015[update], six 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.
|Governor||Gubernatorial term||Date of birth|
|Dan Walker||1973–1977||August 6, 1922|
|James R. Thompson||1977–1991||May 8, 1936|
|Jim Edgar||1991–1999||July 22, 1946|
|George Ryan||1999–2003||February 24, 1934|
|Rod Blagojevich||2003–2009||December 10, 1956|
|Pat Quinn||2009–2015||December 16, 1948|
- IL Const. art. V
- Robert P. Howard (1988), Mostly Good and Competent Men: Illinois Governors, 1818–1988, Illinois Issues and the Illinois State Historical Society, 39–40.
- 1818 Const. art. III, § 2
- 1818 Const. art. III, § 3
- 1848 Const. art. IV, § 3
- 1818 Const. art. III, § 3
- 1818 Const. art. III, § 13
- 1818 Const. art. III, § 18
- 1848 Const. art. IV, § 19
- IL Const. art. V, § 6
- IL Const. art. V, § 4
- Resigned when? NGA says 5th or 16th