Font Size: AAA

Angus W. McLean (1925-1929)

Governor Angus W. McLean (1925-1929), or the "Businessman's Govenor", improved North Carolina's economy during the 1920s. He made significant strides for education in the state. Image courtesy of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History

Governor Angus W. McLean (1925-1929), or the "Businessman's Govenor", improved North Carolina's economy during the 1920s. He made significant strides for education in the state. Image courtesy of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History


Following a successful career in law, business, and finance, Governor Angus Wilton McLean implemented sensible fiscal and economic policies during his 1925-1929 term as North Carolina governor. Born in 1870 to a farming family in Robeson County, McLean was educated as a lawyer by the University of North Carolina. After graduating, McLean served North Carolina as an auspicious lawyer, mill-owner, banker, and public servant. In 1920, prior to his tenure as governor, McLean moved from his home in Lumberton, NC to Washington, D.C. to serve under President Woodrow Wilson as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.  In 1924, McLean defeated Josiah W. Bailey in the state’s gubernatorial race by a convincing margin.

Though he began his career practicing law, McLean soon transitioned to public service and politics. As the representative of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, McLean, according to North Carolina historian William S. Powell, played an integral role in the construction of a rail line from the Atlantic Coast Line to his hometown of Lumberton.  McLean went on, writes Powell, to found “three textile mills and a profitable bank” in North Carolina.  After serving as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, the Democrat set his sights on North Carolina’s top elected position.

Called the “Businessman’s Governor” by some, McLean helped streamline the state’s fiscal management and thereby amplified the economic prosperity of North Carolinians in the 1920s.  By means of the Advisory Budget Commission, McLean secured the governorship as the head manager of the state budget.  This move generated a $2.5 million surplus by the end of his term, which, his successor, O. Max Gardner, claimed permitted North Carolina to avoid bankruptcy during the Depression in the following decade.  McLean actively recruited business to North Carolina, standardized wage and work schedules for state employees, and voted against more confining labor laws including workers’ compensation.  

Governor McLean heavily invested into the state’s future prosperity.  Keen on improving North Carolina’s educational system, McLean allotted large sums to K-12 and higher education public programs to help foster North Carolina’s young minds.  According to historian Powell, by the time McLean left office, over half of the state’s total revenues went into North Carolina education.  McLean was also concerned with developing the state’s infrastructure.  Significant revenue was raised via bonds aiding in the construction and maintenance of roads to improve development and commerce.  

Upon the completion of his term, McLean resumed practicing law until his death in April 1935 in Washington, D.C.  He is buried in Lumberton, North Carolina.  


Sources:

William S. Powell, North Carolina Through Four Centuries (Chapel Hill, 1989); Michael Hill, ed. The Governors of North Carolina (Raleigh, 2007); Lindley S. Butler and Alan Watson, eds., The North Carolina Experience: An Interpretive & Documentary Experience (Chapel Hill, 1984)

By ,


See Also:

Related Categories: Political History, New Deal/ Great Depression, Business and Industry, Governors
Related Encyclopedia Entries: Charles Woodmason (1720?-1776?), Herman Husband (1724-1795), Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760), Edmund Fanning (1737-1808), Watauga Association, Edward Vail (1717-1777), Sandy Creek Baptists, John Sevier (1745-1815), Marriage, History of, Shubal Stearns (1706-1771), Johnston Riot Act, Hillsborough Riot (1770), Hillsborough Confrontation (1768), Skimmington, American Revenue Act, James Emerson (1736-1786), Battle of Alamance, James Few (1746-1771), The Nutbush Address (1765), Henderson Walker (1659 - 1704), Caleb Bradham (1867-1934), Affirmations, Tryonís Stamp Act Assembly, Non-Importation Movement, Ratification Debates, Containerization, Headache Powders, Goody's Headache Powder, Cotton Textile Institute, Brookings Plan, Capital Punishment , Wake County (1771), Royal Governor William Tryon (1729 - 1788), The North Carolina Highway Patrol, Benjamin Everett Jordan (1896 - 1974), The Conservative Manifesto, Josiah Bailey (1873-1946), LFPINC (Lowest Food Prices in North Carolina), James G. Babb (1932- ), Richard J. Salem (1947- ), North Carolina Mutual Life, P&P Chair Company, Carolina Rocker, James W. Cannon (1852-1921), Cheerwine, Federal Emergency Relief Administration, Texas Pete, Krispy Kreme, William Henry Belk (1862 - 1952), B. C. Powders, Stanback (headache powder), Edwin A. Morris (1903-1998), Camel Cigarettes, Charles Albert Cannon (1892-1971), Richard Joshua "R.J." Reynolds (1850-1918), John Merrick (1859-1919), Aaron McDuffie Moore (1863-1923), Heilig-Meyers Furniture, State Fruit: Scuppernong Grape, Joe Louis Dudley (1937- ), Waste Industries USA, Inc, Outer Banks, Onslow County (1734), Durham County (1881), Guilford County (1771), Edward R. Murrow (1908 - 1965), Duplin County (1750), Cabarrus County (1792), Parker David Robbins (1834-1917), Granville County (1746), Wilson County (1855), Penland School of Crafts, Roses, North Carolina Resorts, Thomas Henry Davis (1918-1999), Andy Griffith (1926 - 2012), WBTV, Ava Gardner (1922 - 1990)
Related Commentary: Nothing Says It Better Than A Good Quote, A New Light "Infestation": Charles Woodmason on Colonial Piedmont Religion, Tryon's Ferry: Myth or Fact, Schoolmaster Yorke and The Tories, Comparing the Occupy Movement to Our Regulator Rebellion, 1771 Alamance: The First Battle of Our American Revolution, An Overlooked Jeffersonian Argument: Thomas H. Hall and Internal Improvement Legislation, Josiah Bailey and the Creation of a Post-World War II Conservatism, Works Progress Administration (WPA): One Failure to End the Great Depression
Related Lesson Plans: A Missionary of English Civilization to the Piedmont: Backcountry Religion and One Manís Perspective, Can God Be on Both Sides?: The Role of Religion and Politics during the North Carolina Regulation
Timeline: 1916-1945
Region: Statewide

© 2014 John Locke Foundation | 200 West Morgan St., Raleigh, NC 27601, Voice: (919) 828-3876
Website design & development by DesignHammer Media Group, LLC. Building Smarter Websites.