Attorney Generals of the United States

We’re taking a look at the names of the attorney generals because we like to see how many people that hold the same position have the same first name.

One notable example right on this site is the name Kennedy (as a boy’s name), which many people associate primarily with President John F. Kennedy. We found three men with the given name Kennedy who all grew up to be politicians, all given the name well before JFK ran for President.

Of course, there is no guarantee that naming your child Kennedy will destine him — or her, since nowadays it is more popular as a girl’s name —  for a career in politics, but you’ve got to admit, it’s a strange coincidence.

The United States Attorney General is the head of the United States Department of Justice and the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government. The attorney general is the chief lawyer of the U.S. government. The names William and John are the most common names on the list of U.S. Attorney Generals. Interestingly, two even have the same second name. William Henry Harrison Miller was born a year before the death of the 9th President, William Henry Harrison. He was appointed attorney general by another Harrison — President Benjamin Harrison.

12 Attorney Generals have been named William
William Bradford 1794-1795
William Pinkney 1811-1814
William Wirt 1817-1829
William Maxwell Evarts1868-1869
William Henry Harrison Miller 1889-1893
William Henry Moody 1904-1906
William Dewitt Mitchell 1929-1933
William Pierce Rogers 1957-1961
William Ramsey Clark 1967-1969
William Bart Saxbe 1974-1975
William French Smith 1981-1985
William Pelham Barr 1991-1993

None of the Williams had the middle name John. One John had the middle name William.

9 Attorney Generals have been named John
John Breckinridge 1805-1806
John MacPherson Berrien 1829-1831
John Jordan Crittenden 1841, 1850-1853
John Nelson 1843-1845
John Young Mason 1845-1846
John William Griggs 1898-1901
John Garibaldi Sargent 1925-1929
John Newton Mitchell 1969-1972
John David Ashcroft 2001-2005

4 Attorney Generals have been named James
James Speed 1864-1866
James Clark McReynolds 1913-1914
James Howard McGrath 1949-1952
James Patrick McGranery 1952-1953

4 Attorney Generals have been named Richard
Richard Rush 1814-1817
Richard Olney 1893-1895
Richard Gordon Kleindienst 1972-1973
Richard Lewis Thornburgh 1988-1991

3 Attorney Generals have been named Benjamin
Benjamin Franklin Butler 1833-1838
Benjamin Harris Brewster 1881-1885
Benjamin Richard Civiletti 1979-1981

3 Attorney Generals have been named Charles
Charles Lee 1795-1801
Charles Devens 1877-1881
Charles Joseph Bonaparte 1906-1909 (a grandson of
Napoleon I’s brother, Jerome)

2 Attorney Generals have been named Edward and
one was named Edwards
Edward Bates 1861-1864
Edwards Pierrepont 1875-1876
Edward Hirsch Levi 1975-1977

2 Attorney Generals have been named Edwin
Edwin McMasters Stanton 1860-1861
Edwin Meese, III 1985-1988

2 Attorney Generals have been named George
George Henry Williams 1871-1875
George Woodward Wichersham 1909-1913

2 Attorney Generals have been named Henry
Henry Dilworth Gilpin 1840-1841
Henry Stanbery1866-1868

2 Attorney Generals have been named Isaac
Isaac Toucey 1848-1849
Isaac Wayne MacVeagh 1881

2 Attorney Generals have been named Robert
Robert Houghwout Jackson 1940-1941
Robert Francis Kennedy 1961-1964

2 Attorney Generals have been named Thomas
Thomas Watt Gregory 1914-1919
Thomas Campbell Clark 1945-1949

Only One Attorney General Named:
Alberto R. Gonzales 2005-2007
Alexander Mitchell Palmer 1919-1921
Alphonso Taft 1876-1877
Amos Tappan Akerman 1870-1871
Augustus Hill Garland 1885-1889
Caesar Augustus Rodney 1807-1811
Caleb Cushing 1853-1857
Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar 1869-1870
Edmund Jennings Randolph 1789-1794
Elliot Lee Richardson 1973
Eric Holder 2009-2015
Felix Grundy 1838-1839
Francis Beverly Biddle 1941-1945
Frank Murphy 1939-1940
Griffin Boyette Bell 1977-1979
Harlan Fiske Stone 1924-1925
Harry Micajah Daugherty 1921-1924
Herbert Brownell, Jr. 1953-1957
Homer Stillé Cummings 1933-1939
Hugh Swinton Legaré 1841-1843
Janet Reno 1993-2001
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions (2017-present)
Jeremiah Sullivan Black 1857-1860
Joseph McKenna 1897-1898
Judson Harmon 1895-1897
Levi Lincoln 1801-1805
Loretta E. Lynch 2015-2017
Michael B. Mukasey 2007-2009
Nathan Clifford 1846-1848
Nicholas deBelleville Katzenbach 1965-1966
Philander Chase Knox 1901-1904
*Reverdy Johnson 1849-1850
Roger Brooke Taney 1831-1833

*Reverdy was named after his maternal grandfather, a descendant of French Huguenots

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