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Alexander, Nathaniel (1756-1808)

A surgeon and Revolutionary War Patriot, Alexander was a Jeffersonian who incorporated Federalist policy into his politics.  He championed internal improvements and played an instrumental role in the repeal of the Court Act of 1806, thereby allowing each county to have a court.  Charlotte Motor Speedway sits on what was his homestead.

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Williams, Benjamin (1751-1814)

A Revolutionary War Patriot, North Carolina Governor, and U.S. Congressman, Williams used a middle-of-the-road strategy to achieve political success with Federalists and Republicans while serving as Governor.

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Ashe, Samuel (1725-1813)

The Judge presiding over the landmark case Bayard v. Singleton (1785), Ashe served three one-year terms as Governor and was an ardent Federalist at the beginning of his term.  He soon supported state’s rights and Jeffersonian ideals.

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Sanford, Terry (1917 -1998)

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.  

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Holden, William Woods (1818-1892)

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. 

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Morehead, John Motley

Known as the “Father of Modern North Carolina,” John Motley Morehead was the 29th governor of the Tar Heel State from 1841-1845. 

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Swain

The twenty-sixth governor of North Carolina from 1832-1835, David Lowry Swain was born in Buncombe County and later went on to be the third President of the University of North Carolina.

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Iredell, James, Jr. (1788-1853)

In 1827, Iredell became the twenty-third governor of North Carolina but resigned a year later to fill the North Carolina Senate seat vacated by Nathaniel Macon.  Although Iredell relayed the importance of improved roads and waterways during his administration, he led North Carolina when the state’s finances were meager and insufficient for one with visions of implementing internal improvement plans.

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Holt, Thomas Michael (1831-1896)

An industrialist who later entered into the political arena as a friend of farmers, Thomas Michael Holt served North Carolina as its 47th governor.  His administration is known for supporting higher education and returning elective control to localities.

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Carr, Elias (1839-1900)

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.