James McDowell (* October 13, 1795 in Rockbridge County, Virginia; † August 24, 1851 in Lexington, Virginia ) was an American politician and from 1843 to 1846 Governor of Virginia. Between 1846 and 1851 he represented this state in the U.S. House of Representatives.
James McDowell, had classical training. Among other things, he studied at the present-day Washington and Lee University, Yale University and Princeton University, where he graduated in 1817. McDowell then still studying law and was admitted as a lawyer, but without ever take up this profession.
McDowell joined the Democratic Party, founded by Andrew Jackson. Between 1831 and 1835, and again in 1838 he was a member of the House of Representatives from Virginia. Between January 5, 1843 to January 1, 1846, he was governor of his state. During this time, a law was passed, according to which a free school system was introduced in each district after two thirds of the voters had agreed to this. In addition, in McDowell's tenure was the beginning of the Mexican - American War, which includes Virginia had to make a contribution. After the death of William Taylor McDowell was elected to succeed him in Congress. He exercised this mandate from after two elections between 6 March 1846 and 3 March 1851.
After the end of his term in the House of Representatives McDowell withdrew from politics. He died in the same year at his estate " Col Alto " in Lexington., With his wife Susanna Smith Preston he had nine children. His daughter Sally was up to her divorce with Francis Thomas married, which was 1842-1845 Governor of Maryland and this state represented twice in the U.S. House of Representatives. Moreover, Governor McDowell was related to U.S. Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri.