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List of Governors of Massachusetts

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Governor of Massachusetts

Part the Second, Chapter II, Section I, Article I of the Massachusetts Constitution reads,

There shall be a supreme executive magistrate, who shall be styled, The Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and whose title shall be — His Excellency.

With the writing of that sentence in 1780, the executive branch of the new Commonwealth came into being. The Governor of Massachusetts is the chief executive of the Commonwealth, and is supported by a number of subordinate officers. He, like most other state officers, senators, and representatives, was originally elected annually. Eventually this was changed to a two-year term, and currently is a four-year term. The Governor of Massachusetts does not receive a palace, other official residence, or housing allowance. Instead, he continues to reside in his private residence. The title of "His Excellency" is a throwback to the executives of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Province of New England, and Royal Colony of Massachusetts, all of whom as royal appointees were afforded this title.

The governor also serves as Commander-in-Chief of the Commonwealth's armed forces, a position the power of which has declined as the states of the United States have become less individual nations and more subnational units.

Succession

According to the constitution, whenever the chair of the governor is vacant, the lieutenant governor shall take over as governor. The first time this came into use was five years after the constitution's adoption, when in 1785 Governor John Hancock resigned his post with five months remaining before the inauguration of Gov. James Bowdoin.

No Single Governor

Whenever both the governor and his lieutenant left their offices vacant, the Governor's Council was charged with acting as governor. Gov. Increase Sumner died in office on June 7, 1799, leaving Lt. Gov. Moses Gill as Governor of the Commonwealth. Governor Gill never received a lieutenant, and died himself on May 20, 1800.

For the ten days between Governor Gill's death and Gov. Caleb Strong's inauguration, the Governor's Council became the executive arm of the Commonwealth's government. Its chair, Thomas Dawes, was the closest person to governor during this time, but was at no point named governor.

New and Current Line of Succession

Article LV of the Constitution annulled this line of succession and created a new line that did not entrust the governorship to an eight-member council. The new and current line of succession is as follows:

List of Massachusetts Governors

Colonial governors can be found at page for the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Governor             Took Office     Left Office Party              
John Hancock 1780 1785   None
Thomas Cushing 1785 1785   None
James Bowdoin 1785 1787   None
John Hancock 1787 1793   None
Samuel Adams 1793 1797   None
Increase Sumner 1797 1799 Federalist
Moses Gill 1799 1800   None
Caleb Strong 1800 1807 Federalist
James Sullivan 1807 1808 Democratic-Republican
Levi Lincoln 1808 1809 Democratic-Republican
Christopher Gore 1809 1810 Federalist
Elbridge Gerry 1810 1812 Democratic-Republican
Caleb Strong 1812 1816 Federalist
John Brooks 1816 1823 Federalist
William Eustis 1823 1825 Democratic-Republican
Marcus Morton 1825 1825 Democratic-Republican
Levi Lincoln, Jr. 1825 1834 Democratic-Republican
John Davis 1834 1835 Whig
Samuel Armstrong 1835 1836 Whig
Edward Everett 1836 1840 Whig
Marcus Morton 1840 1841 Democrat
John Davis 1841 1843 Whig
Marcus Morton 1843 1844 Democrat
George N. Briggs 1844 1851 Whig
George S. Boutwell 1851 1853 Democrat
John H. Clifford 1853 1854 Whig
Emory Washburn 1854 1855 Whig
Henry J. Gardner 1855 1858 Know-Nothing
Nathaniel P. Banks 1858 1861 Republican
John A. Andrew 1861 1866 Republican
Alexander H. Bullock 1866 1869 Republican
William Claflin 1869 1872 Republican
William B. Washburn 1872 1874 Republican
Thomas Talbot 1874 1875 Republican
William Gaston 1875 1876 Democrat
Alexander H. Rice 1876 1879 Republican
Thomas Talbot 1879 1880 Republican
John D. Long 1880 1883 Republican
Benjamin F. Butler 1883 1884 Democrat
George D. Robinson 1884 1887 Republican
Oliver Ames 1887 1890 Republican
John Q. A. Brackett 1890 1891 Republican
William E. Russell 1891 1894 Democrat
Frderic T. Greenhalge 1894 1896 Republican
Roger Wolcott 1896 1900 Republican
Winthrop M. Crane 1900 1903 Republican
John L. Bates 1903 1905 Republican
William L. Douglas 1905 1906 Democrat
Curtis Guild, Jr. 1906 1909 Republican
Ebenezer S. Draper 1909 1911 Republican
Eugene N. Foss 1911 1914 Democrat
David I. Walsh 1914 1916 Democrat
Samuel W. McCall 1916 1919 Republican
Calvin Coolidge 1919 1921 Republican
Channing H. Cox 1921 1925 Republican
Alvan T. Fuller 1925 1929 Republican
Frank G. Allen 1929 1931 Republican
Joseph B. Ely 1931 1935 Democrat
James Michael Curley 1935 1937 Democrat
Charles F. Hurley 1937 1939 Democrat
Leverett Saltonstall 1939 1945 Republican
Maurice J. Tobin 1945 1947 Democrat
Robert F. Bradford 1947 1949 Republican
Paul A. Dever 1949 1953 Democrat
Christian Herter 1953 1957 Republican
Foster Furcolo 1957 1961 Democrat
John A. Volpe 1961 1963 Republican
Endicott Peabody 1963 1965 Democrat
John A. Volpe 1965 1969 Republican
Francis W. Sargent 1969 1975 Republican
Michael Dukakis 1975 1979 Democrat
Edward J. King 1979 1983 Democrat
Michael Dukakis 1983 1991 Democrat
William F. Weld 1991 1997 Republican
Argeo Paul Cellucci 1997 2001 Republican
Jane M. Swift 2001 2003 Republican
Willard Mitt Romney 2003 present Republican
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