At the onset of the 1960s, Terry Sanford was elected the 65th governor of North Carolina. A lifelong Democrat, Sanford championed improving the state’s educational system at all levels, embodied the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, strove to fight poverty, and desired to expand the Research Triangle Park. Despite serving only one term, Sanford’s programs transformed Southern politics, specifically in education and race relations, and contributed to his legacy as a political hero in the New South.
The gubernatorial impeachment of William Woods Holden serves as the only one of its kind in North Carolina history. A brilliant journalist, editor, and lawyer, Holden’s political achievements would ultimately be masked by his shortcomings, including reform failure, an inability to stabilize the state during Reconstruction, and prompting an bloody war with the Ku Klux Klan.
Lawyer by profession, planter at heart, Gabriel Holmes’ 1821-1824 term as governor of North Carolina included a push for agricultural reform at the onset of industrialization, an integration of agrarian practices in higher education, and a commitment to the platform of the waning Democratic-Republican Party.
A Jacksonian turned Whig politician, John Branch served as three terms as Governor of North Carolina and championed internal improvements in the Tar Heel State. He later held federal posts, including Secretary of Navy, Congressman, and territorial governor of Florida. After the scandalous Eaton Affair, a disenchanted Branch left the Democratic Party to help create a new Whig Party in North Carolina.
A Warren County native, William Miller served as North Carolina’s attorney general and governor. His gubernatorial term spanned across the War of 1812 and he purchased the Canova Statue during the Era of Good Feelings.
Never politically ambitious, Elias Carr represents what some scholars have called the last in a “fading tradition of planter governors.” The Edgecombe County native and Democrat with Populist tendencies served as governor from 1893 to 1897. During the last two years of his administration, Carr’s vision was tempered by Fusion politics.
The first governor to live in the current executive mansion, Daniel Fowle died while in office. He is most known for advocating for a college for women that later was called University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Curtis Hooks Brogden served the state of North Carolina for half a century as a state representative, state senator, state comptroller, U.S. Congressman, lieutenant governor, and finally as the 42nd governor.
Alfred Moore Scales was born on November 26, 1827 in Rockingham County on his family’s plantation, Ingleside. Caldwell first studied at the Caldwell Institute in Greensboro before transferring to the University of North Carolina in 1845. Scales studied law under the tutelage of Judge William Battle and passed the bar exam in 1852.
A Randolph County native, Jonathan Worth was a Reconstruction Governor. During the antebellum era, Worth as a state legislator stood against nullification and refused to attend the state secession convention. He became a reluctant Confederate, however. After the South was divided into military districts, Worth refused to run for reelection and was removed from office after William Holden’s election.