List of US Attorney General

Llist of US Attorney general is a long one as to date many prominent figures have enjoyed this post. 85 attorneys general have served the United States of America & among these only two attorneys got a chance to represent the country twice.

History of US Attorney General (AG)

Before tapping the list of US Attorney general, let’s embark on a journey to see when this position got created.

The Washington Territory Legislature formed the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) in January 1887 before Washington became a state. What role the attorney general plays in handling the state legal matters nationally & globally make their position strong in the cabinet.

The Legislature delegated to the Attorney General the duties of representing the territory in the Supreme and District Courts, offering legal advice to territorial authorities, advising prosecutors, and offering legal opinions on the U.S.

When Washington became a state in 1889, the state constitution codified the Role of the Attorney General as part of the executive branch. Since the establishment of the Office, the duties of the Attorney General have expanded tremendously, AG investigates all the legal matters of the State now.

From its modest origins as a tiny executive agency with no full-time employees to its current size, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) has become one of the most influential and important agencies in the state.


Three points arise from the past of the AGO:
  • The Office has gradually expanded as Attorney General and the legislature has increased the duties of the AGO.

  • The policies of the AGO have mirrored cultural developments and social shifts in our country and in American history.

  • The Office has become more involved in legal work aimed at protecting and strengthening the public health of Washingtonians and others.

Summary: The position of US Attorney general was first time created in 1887. Before this, there was no concept of an Attorney general in the US. Over the period the duties & responsibilities have been on the uprising. In recent years Attorney general’s appointment has been a hot talk of the town. Every president wants to have an attorney of his choice for this prime position.

List of US Attorney General

We are pretty much clear when the AG post was created. Now we will have a look at prominent US Attorney Generals to date.


85 Attorneys have served as the US Attorney General from September 26, 1789, till present under the presidency of 45 head of states of USA. The Current US Attorney General is William Barr.

The first US AG in history was Edmund Randolph who was from Virginia State & his serving period was September 26, 1789 -September 26, 1789.

George W.Bush was the only president who appointed 6 attorneys general in his period and interestingly this is the highest number so far.

Ulysses S. Grant , Richard Nixon & Donald Trump had 5 Attorney Generals under their presidency.

In history 10 Attorney General acted as Acting Attorney Generals.
Here is the list of US Attorney generals to date who has given golden years of their lives to serve the State.

No. Name No. Name No. Name No. Name No. Name No. Name
1 Edmund Randolph 16 Hugh S. Legaré 31 Amos T. Akerman 46 Charles Bonaparte 61 James P. McGranery 76 Dick Thornburgh
2 William Bradford 17 John Nelson 32 George Henry Williams 47 George W. Wickersham 62 Herbert Brownell Jr. 77 William Barr
3 Charles Lee 18 John Y. Mason 33 Edwards Pierrepont 48 James C. McReynolds 63 William P. Rogers 78 Janet Reno
4 Levi Lincoln Sr. 19 Nathan Clifford 34 Alphonso Taft 49 Thomas Watt Gregory 64 Robert F. Kennedy 79 John Ashcroft
5 John Breckinridge 20 Isaac Toucey 35 Charles Devens 50 A. Mitchell Palmer 65 Nicholas Katzenbach 80 Alberto Gonzales
6 Caesar Augustus Rodney 21 Reverdy Johnson 36 Wayne MacVeagh 51 Harry M. Daugherty 66 Ramsey Clark 81 Michael Mukasey
7 William Pinkney 22 John J. Crittenden 37 Benjamin H. Brewster 52 Harlan F. Stone 67 John N. Mitchell 82 Eric Holder
8 Richard Rush 23 Caleb Cushing 38 Augustus Garland 53 John G. Sargent 68 Richard Kleindienst 83 Loretta Lynch
9 William Wirt 24 Jeremiah S. Black 39 William H. H. Miller 54 William D. Mitchell 69 Elliot Richardson 84 Jeff Sessions
10 John Macpherson 25 Edwin Stanton 40 Richard Olney 55 Homer Stille Cummings 70 William B. Saxbe 85 William Barr
11 Roger B. Taney 26 Edward Bates 41 Judson Harmon 56 Frank Murphy 71 Edward H. Levi
12 Benjamin Franklin Butler 27 James Speed 42 Joseph McKenna 57 Robert H. Jackson 72 Griffin Bell
13 Felix Grundy 28 Henry Stanbery 43 John W. Griggs 58 Francis Biddle 73 Benjamin Civiletti
14 Henry D. Gilpin 29 William M. Evarts 44 Philander C. Knox 59 Tom C. Clark 74 William French Smith
15 John J. Crittenden 30 Ebenezer R. Hoar 45 William Henry Moody 60 J. Howard McGrath 75 Edwin Meese

PARTY Wise distribution of US AG:

If we do the analysis of the Attorney Generals under their political party heads, the list goes as follows.

Federalist (4)

Democratic-Republican (5)

Democratic (33)

Whig (4)

Republican (39)

The Democratic & Republican has appointed the larger chunk of the number, the reason being so straight, these are the only 2 political parties which are in the government from the last few decades.

Summary: 85 US Attorney generals have served this hot position. Only George W.Bush was the president who had 6 attorneys in his presidential period. 2 attorneys John J. Crittenden & William Barr have enjoyed serving the country twice. Republican is the political party who appointed 39 US Attorneys.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Here are a few now & then asked questions regarding the US Attorney General.

Who was the last attorney general of the United States?

Jeff Sessions from Alabama was serving as Attorney general & then & Matthew Whitaker worked as an acting Attorney before the appointment of William Barr.

What does the US attorney general do?

The primary responsibility of the Attorney General is: to represent the United States in legal matters. Supervise and direct the management and operation of the departments, committees, branches, and departments of the Department.

Has there ever been a female US Attorney General?

Since 1959, 34 states have named or elected women as attorneys-general. Pennsylvania had a record of three women holding office as Attorney General.

Who was the acting attorney general before William Barr?

Matthew George Whitaker (born October 29, 1969) is an American lawyer, lobbyist, and politician who served as Attorney General of the United States from November 7, 2018, to February 14, 2019.

How many United States attorneys are there?

Currently, there are 93 U.S. Attorneys: one for each of the 94 federal judicial districts, with the exception of Guam and Northern Marianas, where there is only one U.S. The Council represents the two districts. In addition to their headquarters, there are the several U.S. Lawyers operate smaller satellite offices in their districts

Conclusion:

List of US Attorney general is comprised of 85 AGs to date. Out of these 2 served twice & 10 were the acting AGs. The United States Attorney General (AG) is the director of the United States Department of Justice, the Chief Prosecutor of the United States Federal Government, and a member of the United States Cabinet. He holds a crucial position in the cabinet & serves the country on all legal fronts. Hope this read has been enjoyable & given insight on the list of US Attorney Generals.

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