James A. McDougall (November 19, 1817-September 3, 1867) was an American politician.
Born in Bethlehem, New York, he was educated in the common schools, studied law, and settled in Pike County, Illinois in 1837. He practiced law in Cook County, Illinois.
In 1842 and 1844 he was elected Illinois Attorney General. He then entered the field of engineering and in 1849 originated and accompanied an exploring expedition to Rio del Norte, Gila and Colorado Rivers. After his adventures came to an end, he settled in San Francisco to practice law.
He was elected California Attorney General in 1850, served several terms in the California state legislature, and in 1852 was sent to the 33rd Congress as a Democrat. (He declined renomination in 1853.)
McDougall was elected to the United States Senate in 1860 and served until 1867. During his time in the Senate he served as chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Pacific Railroads.
McDougall was known as a "War Democrat", and was a delegate to the Chicago convention that nominated General George B. McClellan for president. On the expiration of his senatorial term he retired to Albany, New York. He was an eloquent and effective speaker.
He was originally buried in Lone Mountain Cemetery in San Francisco, that cemetery was renamed Calvary; his remains were reinterred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, California in 1942.
Preceded by: William M. Gwin U.S. Senator (Class 3) from California 1861-1867 Succeeded by: Cornelius Cole Preceded by: Edward J. C. Kewen Attorney General of California 1850 -1851 Succeeded by: Serranus Clinton Hastings