John McLean (Illinois politician)

For other people named John McLean, see John McLean (disambiguation).
John McLean
United States Senator
from Illinois
In office
November 23, 1824  March 3, 1825
Preceded by Ninian Edwards
Succeeded by Elias Kane
In office
March 4, 1829  October 14, 1830
Preceded by Jesse B. Thomas
Succeeded by David J. Baker
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois's at-large congressional district
In office
December 3, 1818  March 3, 1819
Preceded by Inaugural Holder
Succeeded by Daniel P. Cook
2nd and 6th Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives
In office
December 4, 1820  December 2, 1822
Preceded by John Messenger
Succeeded by William M. Alexander
In office
December 4, 1826  March 4, 1829
Preceded by David Blackwell
Succeeded by William Lee D. Ewing
Personal details
Born (1791-02-04)February 4, 1791
Greensboro, North Carolina
Died October 14, 1830(1830-10-14) (aged 39)
Shawneetown, Illinois
Political party Democratic-Republican
Profession lawyer
Religion Christian

John McLean (February 4, 1791 – October 14, 1830) was a United States Representative and a Senator from Illinois. He was the brother of Finis McLean and uncle of James David Walker.

Born near Guilford Court House (now Greensboro), Guilford County, North Carolina, February 4, 1791, McLean moved with his parents to Logan County, Kentucky in 1795. He moved to Illinois Territory in 1815. After studying law, he was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Shawneetown, Gallatin County, Illinois. When Illinois was admitted as a State into the Union, McLean was elected to the Fifteenth Congress and served from December 3, 1818, to March 3, 1819. He failed to be re-elected in 1818 to the Sixteenth Congress. He was also an unsuccessful candidate for congress in the 1820 and 1822 elections. He was elected to the Illinois State House of Representatives in 1820, 1826, and 1828, and served as speaker.

In 1824, McLean was elected to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Ninian Edwards and served from November 23, 1824 to March 3, 1825. He was unsuccessful in a bid for re-election, not managing to get more than 12 votes of the 27 needed in the legislature through 10 ballots,[1] but resumed the practice of law.

He was again elected to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1829, until his death, aged 39, in Shawneetown, Illinois in 1830. He was interred in Westwood Cemetery, near Shawneetown.


McLean County, Illinois is named after him.[2]


  1. Edwardsville Spectator, Dec. 7, 1824.
  2. Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 194.

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
State entered union
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's at-large congressional district

December 3, 1818 March 3, 1819
Succeeded by
Daniel P. Cook
United States Senate
Preceded by
Ninian Edwards
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Illinois
Served alongside: Jesse B. Thomas
Succeeded by
Elias K. Kane
Preceded by
Jesse B. Thomas
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Illinois
Served alongside: Elias K. Kane
Succeeded by
David J. Baker
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