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
Style The Honorable
Residence Tennessee Governor's Mansion
Term length Four years, renewable once
Inaugural holder John Sevier
1796
Website www.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 Blount September 20, 1790 – March 30, 1796 Democratic-Republican 1749–1800 NC Land speculator [6]






State of Tennessee[edit]

Name
Term
Party
Life
State of Birth
Occupation
Notes
John Sevier March 30, 1796 – September 23, 1801 Democratic-Republican 1745–1815 VA Soldier, pioneer
Archibald Roane September 23, 1801 – September 23, 1803 Democratic-Republican 1760–1819 PA Lawyer
John Sevier September 23, 1803 – September 20, 1809 Democratic-Republican 1745–1815 VA Soldier, pioneer
Willie Blount September 20, 1809 – September 27, 1815 Democratic-Republican 1768–1835 NC Lawyer, planter
Joseph McMinn September 27, 1815 – October 1, 1821 Democratic-Republican 1758–1824 PA Merchant
William Carroll October 1, 1821 – October 1, 1827 Democratic-Republican 1788–1844 PA Merchant, soldier
Sam Houston October 1, 1827 – April 16, 1829 Democratic-Republican 1793–1863 VA Lawyer
William Hall April 16, 1829 – October 1, 1829 Democratic 1775–1856 NC Planter, soldier
William Carroll October 1, 1829 – October 12, 1835 Democratic 1788–1844 PA Merchant, soldier
Newton Cannon October 12, 1835 – October 14, 1839 Whig 1781–1841 NC Planter
James K. Polk October 14, 1839 – October 15, 1841 Democratic 1795–1849 NC Lawyer/President
James C. Jones October 15, 1841 – October 14, 1845 Whig 1809–1859 TN Lawyer
Aaron V. Brown October 14, 1845 – October 17, 1847 Democratic 1795–1859 VA Lawyer
Neill S. Brown October 17, 1847 – October 16, 1849 Whig 1810–1886 TN Lawyer
William Trousdale October 16, 1849 – October 16, 1851 Democratic 1790–1872 NC Lawyer
William B. Campbell October 16, 1851 – October 17, 1853 Whig 1807–1867 TN Lawyer
Andrew Johnson October 17, 1853 – November 3, 1857 Democratic 1808–1875 NC Tailor, President
Isham G. Harris November 3, 1857 – March 12, 1862 Democratic 1818–1897 TN Lawyer, U.S. Senator [7]
Andrew Johnson March 12, 1862 – March 4, 1865 Unionist/Military 1808–1875 NC Tailor, President
Edward H. East
(acting)
March 4, 1865 – April 5, 1865 Republican 1830–1904 TN Lawyer [8]
William G. Brownlow April 5, 1865 – February 25, 1869 Republican 1805–1877 VA Editor, preacher
Dewitt Clinton Senter February 25, 1869 – October 10, 1871 Republican 1830–1898 TN Lawyer
John C. Brown October 10, 1871 – January 18, 1875 Democratic 1827–1889 TN Lawyer
James D. Porter January 18, 1875 – February 16, 1879 Democratic 1828–1912 TN Lawyer, educator
Albert S. Marks February 16, 1879 – January 17, 1881 Democratic 1836–1891 KY Lawyer, chancellor
Alvin Hawkins January 17, 1881 – January 15, 1883 Republican 1821–1905 KY Lawyer, judge
William B. Bate January 15, 1883 – January 17, 1887 Democratic 1826–1905 TN Lawyer, U.S. Senator
Robert Love Taylor January 17, 1887 – January 19, 1891 Democratic 1850–1912 TN Lawyer, U.S. Senator
John P. Buchanan January 19, 1891 – January 16, 1893 Farm-Labor 1847–1930 TN Farmer
Peter Turney January 16, 1893 – January 21, 1897 Democratic 1827–1903 TN Lawyer, judge
Robert Love Taylor January 21, 1897 – January 16, 1899 Democratic 1850–1912 TN Lawyer, U.S. Senator
Benton McMillin January 16, 1899 – January 19, 1903 Democratic 1845–1933 KY Lawyer, diplomat
James B. Frazier January 19, 1903 – March 21, 1905 Democratic 1856–1937 TN Lawyer, U.S. Senator
John I. Cox March 21, 1905 – January 17, 1907 Democratic 1855–1946 TN Lawyer
Malcolm R. Patterson January 17, 1907 – January 26, 1911 Democratic 1861–1935 AL Lawyer, judge
Ben W. Hooper January 26, 1911 – January 17, 1915 Republican 1870–1957 TN Lawyer
Tom C. Rye January 17, 1915 – January 15, 1919 Democratic 1863–1953 TN Lawyer, judge
A. H. Roberts January 15, 1919 – January 15, 1921 Democratic 1868–1946 TN Lawyer, judge
Alfred A. Taylor January 15, 1921 – January 16, 1923 Republican 1848–1931 TN Lawyer
Austin Peay January 16, 1923 – October 3, 1927 Democratic 1876–1927 KY Lawyer [9]
Henry Hollis Horton October 3, 1927 – January 17, 1933 Democratic 1866–1934 AL Lawyer, farmer
Harry Hill McAlister January 17, 1933 – January 15, 1937 Democratic 1875–1959 TN Lawyer
Gordon Browning January 15, 1937 – January 16, 1939 Democratic 1889–1976 TN Lawyer, judge
Prentice Cooper January 16, 1939 – January 16, 1945 Democratic 1895–1969 TN Lawyer
Jim Nance McCord January 16, 1945 – January 16, 1949 Democratic 1879–1968 TN Editor
Gordon Browning January 16, 1949 – January 15, 1953 Democratic 1889–1976 TN Lawyer, Judge
Frank G. Clement January 15, 1953 – January 19, 1959 Democratic 1920–1969 TN Lawyer
Buford Ellington January 19, 1959 – January 15, 1963 Democratic 1907–1972 MS Farmer
Frank G. Clement January 15, 1963 – January 16, 1967 Democratic 1920–1969 TN Lawyer
Buford Ellington January 16, 1967 – January 16, 1971 Democratic 1907–1972 MS Farmer
Winfield Dunn January 16, 1971 – January 18, 1975 Republican b. 1927 MS Dentist
Ray Blanton January 18, 1975 – January 17, 1979 Democratic 1930–1996 TN Farmer, businessman
Lamar Alexander January 17, 1979 – January 17, 1987 Republican b. 1940 TN Lawyer, US Senator
Ned McWherter January 17, 1987 – January 21, 1995 Democratic 1930–2011 TN Businessman
Don Sundquist January 21, 1995 – January 18, 2003 Republican b. 1936 IL Businessman
Phil Bredesen January 18, 2003 – January 15, 2011 Democratic b. 1943 NJ Businessman
Bill Haslam January 15, 2011 – present Republican b. 1958 TN Businessman

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.

Name Gubernatorial term U.S. Congress Other offices held
House Senate
William Blount 1790–1796 (territorial) S Continental Congressman from North Carolina
John Sevier 1796–1801, 1803–1809 H U.S. Representative from North Carolina; Governor of the State of Franklin
Sam Houston 1827–1829 H President of the Republic of Texas; U.S. Senator from Texas; Governor of Texas
William Hall 1829 H
Newton Cannon 1835–1839 H
James K. Polk 1839–1841 H 11th President of the United States
James C. Jones 1841–1845 S
Aaron V. Brown 1845–1847 H United States Postmaster General
Neill S. Brown 1847–1849 United States Minister to Russia
William Trousdale 1849–1851 United States Minister to Brazil
William B. Campbell 1851–1853 H
Andrew Johnson 1853–1857, 1862–1865 H S 17th President of the United States; 16th Vice President of the United States
Isham G. Harris 1857–1862 H S
William G. Brownlow 1865–1869 S
James D. Porter 1875–1879 United States Minister to Chile
William B. Bate 1883–1887 S
Robert Love Taylor 1897–1899 H S
Benton McMillin 1899–1903 H United States Minister to Peru; United States Minister to Guatemala
James B. Frazier 1903–1905 S*
Malcolm R. Patterson 1907–1911 H
Alfred A. Taylor 1921–1923 H
Gordon Browning 1937–1939, 1949–1953 H
Prentice Cooper 1939–1945 United States Ambassador to Peru
Jim Nance McCord 1945–1949 H
Ray Blanton 1975–1979 H
Lamar Alexander 1979–1987 S United States Secretary of Education
Don Sundquist 1995–2003 H

Living former governors[edit]

As of August 2014, 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.

Name Gubernatorial term Date of birth
Winfield Dunn 1971–1975 (1927-07-01) July 1, 1927 (age 87)
Lamar Alexander 1979–1987 (1940-07-03) July 3, 1940 (age 74)
Don Sundquist 1995–2003 (1936-03-15) March 15, 1936 (age 78)
Phil Bredesen 2003–2011 (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]