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  • James R. Thompson (1936 - 2020)
    Robert Thompson Jr. (May 8, 1936 – August 14, 2020), also known as Big Jim Thompson, was the 37th and longest-serving governor of the US state of Illinois, serving from 1977 to 1991. A moderate Republi...
  • Otto Kerner, Jr. (1908 - 1976)
    I was the governor of Illinois from 1960-1968 and was appointed chairman of the Kerner Commission on Civil Disobedience in 1968 which culminated in the publication of the Kerner Report, stating that th...
  • J.B. Pritzker
    Robert (J.B.) Pritzker (born January 19, 1965) is a venture capitalist, entrepreneur, philanthropist and private business owner in the United States. He is managing partner and co-founder of Pritzker G...
  • Dan Walker, Governor (1922 - 2015)
    J. "Dan" Walker (August 6, 1922 – April 29, 2015) was an American lawyer, businessman and Democratic politician from Illinois. He was the 36th Governor of Illinois from 1973 to 1977. He was raised in S...
  • George Ryan, Governor
    Homer Ryan Sr. (born February 24, 1934) was the 39th Governor of the U.S. state of Illinois from 1999 until 2003. He was a member of the Republican Party. Ryan received national attention for his 1999 ...

The Governor of Illinois is the head of the executive branch of Illinois's 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.

List of Governors of Illinois

Governors of the State of Illinois

Illinois was admitted to the Union on December 3, 1818, consisting of the southern portion of Illinois Territory; the remainder was assigned to Michigan Territory.

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.