List of Governors of Michigan
|Governor of Michigan|
Seal of Michigan
|Residence||Michigan Governor's Mansion|
|Term length||Four years, renewable once|
|Inaugural holder||Stevens T. Mason|
The governor of Michigan is the head of the executive branch of Michigan's state government and serves as the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has a duty to enforce state laws; the power to either approve or veto appropriation bills passed by the Michigan Legislature; the power to convene the legislature; and the power to grant pardons, except in cases of impeachment. He or she is also empowered to reorganize the executive branch of the state government.
Michigan was originally part of French and British holdings, and administered by their colonial governors. After becoming part of the United States, numerous areas of what is today Michigan were originally part of the Northwest Territory, Indiana Territory and Illinois Territory, and administered by territorial governors. In 1805, the Michigan Territory was created, and five men served as territorial governors, until Michigan was granted statehood in 1837. Forty-eight individuals have held the position of state governor. The first female governor, Jennifer Granholm, was elected in 2003.
After Michigan gained statehood, governors held the office for a two-year term, until the 1963 Michigan Constitution changed the term to four years. The number of times an individual could hold the office was unlimited until a 1992 constitutional amendment imposed a lifetime term limit of two four-year governorships. The longest-serving governor in Michigan's history was William Milliken, who was promoted from lieutenant governor after Governor George W. Romney resigned, then was elected to three further successive terms.
Michigan was part of colonial New France until the Treaty of 1763 transferred ownership to the Kingdom of Great Britain. During this time, it was governed by the Lieutenants General of New France until 1627, the Governors of New France from 1627 to 1663, and the Governors General of New France until the transfer to Great Britain. The 1783 Treaty of Paris ceded the territory that is now Michigan to the United States as part of the end of the Revolutionary War, but British troops were not removed from the area until 1796. During the British ownership, their governors administrated the area as part of the Canadian territorial holdings.
Prior to becoming its own territory, parts of Michigan were administered by the governors of the Northwest Territory, the governors of the Indiana Territory and the governors of the Illinois Territory. On June 30, 1805, the Territory of Michigan was created, with General William Hull as the first territorial governor.
Governors of the Territory of Michigan
|#||Governor||Took office||Left office||Appointed by||Notes|
|1||Hull, WilliamWilliam Hull||March 1, 1805||October 29, 1813||Jefferson, ThomasThomas Jefferson|
|2||Cass, LewisLewis Cass||October 29, 1813||August 6, 1831||Madison, JamesJames Madison|
|3||Porter, George BryanGeorge Bryan Porter||August 6, 1831||July 6, 1834||Jackson, AndrewAndrew Jackson||[a]|
|–||Mason, Stevens T.Stevens T. Mason||July 6, 1834||September 19, 1835||—||[b]|
|4||Horner, John S.John S. Horner||September 19, 1835||July 3, 1836||Jackson, AndrewAndrew Jackson||[c]|
Governors of the State of Michigan
Michigan was admitted to the Union on January 26, 1837. The original 1835 Constitution of Michigan provided for the election of a governor and a lieutenant governor every 2 years. The fourth and current constitution of 1963 increased this term to four years. There was no term limit on governors until a constitutional amendment effective in 1993 limited governors to two terms.
Should the office of governor become vacant, the lieutenant governor becomes governor, followed in order of succession by the Secretary of State and the Attorney General. Prior to the current constitution, the duties of the office would devolve upon the lieutenant governor, without that person actually becoming governor. The term begins at noon on January 1 of the year following the election. Prior to the 1963 constitution, the governor and lieutenant governor were elected through separate votes, allowing them to be from different parties. In 1963, this was changed, so that votes are cast jointly for a governor and lieutenant governor of the same party.
|#||Governor||Took office||Left office||Party||Lt. Governor||Notes|
|1||Mason, Stevens T.Stevens T. Mason[c]||November 3, 1835||January 7, 1840||Democratic||Mundy, EdwardEdward Mundy|
|2||Woodbridge, WilliamWilliam Woodbridge||January 7, 1840||February 23, 1841||Whig||Gordon, James WrightJames Wright Gordon||[d]|
|3||Gordon, James WrightJames Wright Gordon||February 23, 1841||January 3, 1842||Whig||Drake, Thomas J.Thomas J. Drake||[e]|
|4||Barry, John S.John S. Barry||January 3, 1842||January 5, 1846||Democratic||Richardson, Origen D.Origen D. Richardson|
|5||Felch, AlpheusAlpheus Felch||January 5, 1846||March 3, 1847||Democratic||Greenly, William L.William L. Greenly||[d]|
|6||Greenly, William L.William L. Greenly||March 4, 1847||January 3, 1848||Democratic||Bush, Charles P.Charles P. Bush||[e]|
|7||Ransom, EpaphroditusEpaphroditus Ransom||January 3, 1848||January 7, 1850||Democratic||Fenton, William M.William M. Fenton|
|8||Barry, John S.John S. Barry||January 7, 1850||January 1, 1852||Democratic||Fenton, William M.William M. Fenton|
|9||McClelland, RobertRobert McClelland[f]||January 1, 1852||March 7, 1853||Democratic||Britain, CalvinCalvin Britain||[g]|
|Parsons, AndrewAndrew Parsons|
|10||Parsons, AndrewAndrew Parsons||March 8, 1853||January 3, 1855||Democratic||Griswold, GeorgeGeorge Griswold||[e]|
|11||Bingham, Kinsley S.Kinsley S. Bingham||January 3, 1855||January 5, 1859||Republican||Coe, GeorgeGeorge Coe|
|12||Wisner, MosesMoses Wisner||January 5, 1859||January 2, 1861||Republican||Fairfield, Edmund B.Edmund B. Fairfield|
|13||Blair, AustinAustin Blair||January 2, 1861||January 3, 1865||Republican||Birney, James M.James M. Birney|
|Williams, Joseph R.Joseph R. Williams|
|Backus, Henry T.Henry T. Backus|
|May, Charles S.Charles S. May|
|14||Crapo, Henry H.Henry H. Crapo||January 3, 1865||January 6, 1869||Republican||Grosvenor, EbenezerEbenezer Grosvenor|
|May, DwightDwight May|
|15||Baldwin, Henry P.Henry P. Baldwin||January 6, 1869||January 1, 1873||Republican||Bates, MorganMorgan Bates|
|16||Bagley, John J.John J. Bagley||January 1, 1873||January 3, 1877||Republican||Holt, Henry H.Henry H. Holt|
|17||Croswell, CharlesCharles Croswell||January 3, 1877||January 1, 1881||Republican||Sessions, AlonzoAlonzo Sessions|
|18||Jerome, DavidDavid Jerome||January 1, 1881||January 1, 1883||Republican||Crosby, Moreau S.Moreau S. Crosby|
|19||Begole, JosiahJosiah Begole||January 1, 1883||January 1, 1885||Democratic||Crosby, Moreau S.Moreau S. Crosby (Republican)|
|20||Alger, RussellRussell Alger||January 1, 1885||January 1, 1887||Republican||Buttars, ArchibaldArchibald Buttars|
|21||Luce, Cyrus G.Cyrus G. Luce||January 1, 1887||January 1, 1891||Republican||MacDonald, James H.James H. MacDonald|
|Ball, WilliamWilliam Ball|
|22||Winans, Edwin B.Edwin B. Winans||January 1, 1891||January 1, 1893||Democratic||Strong, JohnJohn Strong|
|23||Rich, John T.John T. Rich||January 1, 1893||January 1, 1897||Republican||Giddings, J. WightJ. Wight Giddings|
|Milnes, AlfredAlfred Milnes|
|McLaughlin, Joseph R.Joseph R. McLaughlin|
|24||Pingree, Hazen S.Hazen S. Pingree||January 1, 1897||January 1, 1901||Republican||Dunstan, Thomas B.Thomas B. Dunstan|
|Robinson, Orrin W.Orrin W. Robinson|
|25||Bliss, Aaron T.Aaron T. Bliss||January 1, 1901||January 1, 1905||Republican||Robinson, Orrin W.Orrin W. Robinson|
|Maitland, AlexanderAlexander Maitland|
|26||Warner, Fred M.Fred M. Warner||January 1, 1905||January 2, 1911||Republican||Maitland, AlexanderAlexander Maitland|
|Kelley, Patrick H.Patrick H. Kelley|
|27||Osborn, ChaseChase Osborn||January 2, 1911||January 1, 1913||Republican||Ross, John Q.John Q. Ross|
|28||Ferris, Woodbridge NathanWoodbridge Nathan Ferris||January 1, 1913||January 1, 1917||Democratic||Ross, John Q.John Q. Ross (Republican)|
|Dickinson, LurenLuren Dickinson (Republican)|
|29||Sleeper, AlbertAlbert Sleeper||January 1, 1917||January 1, 1921||Republican||Dickinson, LurenLuren Dickinson|
|30||Groesbeck, AlexAlex Groesbeck||January 1, 1921||January 1, 1927||Republican||Read, ThomasThomas Read|
|Welsh, George W.George W. Welsh|
|31||Green, Fred W.Fred W. Green||January 1, 1927||January 1, 1931||Republican||Dickinson, LurenLuren Dickinson|
|32||Brucker, Wilber M.Wilber M. Brucker||January 1, 1931||January 1, 1933||Republican||Dickinson, LurenLuren Dickinson|
|33||Comstock, WilliamWilliam Comstock||January 1, 1933||January 1, 1935||Democratic||Stebbins, Allen E.Allen E. Stebbins|
|34||Fitzgerald, FrankFrank Fitzgerald||January 1, 1935||January 1, 1937||Republican||Read, ThomasThomas Read|
|35||Murphy, FrankFrank Murphy||January 1, 1937||January 1, 1939||Democratic||Nowicki, Leo J.Leo J. Nowicki|
|36||Fitzgerald, FrankFrank Fitzgerald||January 1, 1939||March 16, 1939||Republican||Dickinson, LurenLuren Dickinson||[h]|
|37||Dickinson, LurenLuren Dickinson||March 16, 1939||January 1, 1941||Republican||Wilson, Matilda DodgeMatilda Dodge Wilson||[e]|
|38||Van Wagoner, MurrayMurray Van Wagoner||January 1, 1941||January 1, 1943||Democratic||Murphy, FrankFrank Murphy|
|39||Kelly, HarryHarry Kelly||January 1, 1943||January 1, 1947||Republican||Keyes, Eugene C.Eugene C. Keyes|
|Brown, Vernon J.Vernon J. Brown|
|40||Sigler, KimKim Sigler||January 1, 1947||January 1, 1949||Republican||Keyes, Eugene C.Eugene C. Keyes|
|41||Williams, G. MennenG. Mennen Williams||January 1, 1949||January 1, 1961||Democratic||Connolly, John W.John W. Connolly|
|Vandenberg, William C.William C. Vandenberg (Republican)|
|Reid, Clarence A.Clarence A. Reid (Republican)|
|Hart, Philip A.Philip A. Hart|
|Swainson, John B.John B. Swainson|
|42||Swainson, JohnJohn Swainson||January 1, 1961||January 1, 1963||Democratic||Lesinski, T. JohnT. John Lesinski|
|43||Romney, George W.George W. Romney||January 1, 1963||January 22, 1969||Republican||Lesinski, T. JohnT. John Lesinski (Democratic)||[i]|
|Milliken, WilliamWilliam Milliken|
|44||Milliken, WilliamWilliam Milliken||January 22, 1969||January 1, 1983||Republican||Schweigert, Thomas F.Thomas F. Schweigert||[j]|
|Brickley, James H.James H. Brickley|
|Damman, JamesJames Damman|
|Brickley, James H.James H. Brickley|
|45||Blanchard, JamesJames Blanchard||January 1, 1983||January 1, 1991||Democratic||Griffiths, MarthaMartha Griffiths|
|46||Engler, JohnJohn Engler||January 1, 1991||January 1, 2003||Republican||Binsfeld, ConnieConnie Binsfeld||[k]|
|Posthumus, DickDick Posthumus|
|47||Granholm, JenniferJennifer Granholm||January 1, 2003||January 1, 2011||Democratic||Cherry, Jr., John D.John D. Cherry, Jr.|
|48||Snyder, RickRick Snyder||January 1, 2011||Incumbent||Republican||Calley, BrianBrian Calley|
Other high offices held
Several governors also held other high positions within the state and federal governments. Eight governors served as U.S. House of Representatives members, while seven held positions in the U.S. Senate, all representing Michigan. Others have served as ambassadors, U.S. Cabinet members, and state and federal Supreme Court justices.
- * Denotes those offices for which the governor resigned the governorship.
Living former U.S. governors of Michigan
As of March 2017, there are four living former governors of Michigan. The most recent death of a former governor was that of George W. Romney (served 1963–69) on July 26, 1995, 18 days after his 88th birthday. Romney was also the most recently serving governor of Michigan to have died. The state's living former governors are:
|Governor||Gubernatorial term||Date of birth (and age)|
|William Milliken||1969–1983||March 26, 1922|
|James Blanchard||1983–1991||August 8, 1942|
|John Engler||1991–2003||October 12, 1948|
|Jennifer Granholm||2003–2011||February 5, 1959|
- Died in office.
- As Territorial Secretary, Mason was authorized to become Acting Governor, though there was no formal succession and he was never officially named as governor.
- Horner was appointed Secretary and Acting Governor to replace Stevens T. Mason. In October 1835, Michigan authorized a state constitution and elected Mason as governor of the new state, although the U.S. Congress did not recognize the state until 1837. Horner was mostly ignored by the people of Michigan and resigned to be Secretary of Wisconsin Territory in July 1836.
- Resigned to take a seat in the United States Senate.
- As lieutenant governor, acted as governor for unexpired term.
- After a new state constitution was drafted in 1850, McClelland was elected to a single one-year term in 1851. He was then re-elected to a full two-year term in 1852.
- Resigned to become United States Secretary of the Interior.
- Died in office.
- Resigned to become United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
- As lieutenant governor, acted as governor for unexpired term, and was later elected in his own right.
- Binsfeld served during the first two terms; Posthumus served the third term.
- "Former Governor Biographies: Michigan". National Governors Association. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- "Chronology of Michigan History" (PDF). Michigan Manual 2003–2004. Michigan Legislative Council. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
- "Constitution of 1835". Michigan Legislative Council. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
- "Constitution of 1850". Michigan Legislative Council. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
- "Constitution of 1963". Michigan Legislative Council. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
- "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries". The Council of State Governments. June 25, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
- 1963 Michigan Constitution, Article 5, Section 12
- 1963 Michigan Constitution, Article 5, Section 8
- 1963 Michigan Constitution, Article 5, Section 19
- 1963 Michigan Constitution, Article 5, Section 15
- 1963 Michigan Constitution, Article 5, Section 14
- 1963 Michigan Constitution, Article 5, Section 2
- "Chronology of Michigan History" (PDF). Michigan Manual 2003–2004. Michigan Legislative Council. pp. 1–5. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- "Laws of Illinois Territory". Western Illinois University. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
- Dunbar, Willis F. & May, George S. (1995). Michigan: A History of the Wolverine State (Third Revised ed.). William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. pp. 276–78. ISBN 9780802870551.
- Dunbar, Willis F. & May, George S. (1995). Michigan: A History of the Wolverine State (Third Revised ed.). William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. pp. 208–11. ISBN 9780802870551.
- 1835 Const. art. V, § 1
- MI Const. art. V, § 21
- MI Const. art. V, § 30
- MI Const. art. V, § 26
- 1835 Const. art. V, § 13
- "Executive Branch". State of Michigan. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
- 1835 Const. art. V, § 3
- Gardner, Washington (1913). History of Calhoun County, Michigan. Lewis Pub. Co. p. 220.
- "Former Lieutenant Governors". State of Michigan. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
- "Cass, Lewis (1782–1866)". Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- "Woodbridge, William (1780–1861)". Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- "McClelland, Robert (1807–1880)". Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- "Alger, Russell Alexander (1836–1907)". Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- "Michigan Governor Wilbur Marion Brucker". National Governors Association. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- "Michigan Governor Frank Murphy". National Governors Association. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- "Michigan Governor Gerhard Mennen Williams". National Governors Association. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- "Michigan Governor George Wilcken Romney". National Governors Association. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
- "Blanchard, James Johnston (1942–)". Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved January 1, 2013.