The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time Politicians

The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time

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List Criteria: Includes former and current Secretaries of State appointed by the President.

People who've served as US Secretary of State include some of the biggest names in the history of American politics.  Many of the most talked-about politicians even went on to become President of the United States of America. These men and women have served in one of the most important and prominent positions in the world.

The office of the United States Secretary of State is the person in charge of the United States Department of State, which deals primarily with foreign affairs. This person specializes in foreign affairs, and advises the President on such matters, participates in negotiations with other countries, deals with immigration, and is responsible for regulating Americans working, traveling, or serving overseas. 

Serving as Secretary of State means a job filled with lots of travel - something that the 2013 Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, did impressively. Clinton visited a record 112 countries during her time in the office, and helped foster a rapport between the US and other countries's leaders. Only one other Secretary of State logged more travel miles, and not by much. Condoleeza Rice, who served as Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, notched a record 1,059,247 miles traveling.

While many are appointed Secretary of State after losing presidential elections, others did it the other way around and went on to become President later. James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren and Thomas Jefferson all served as Secretary of State as well as President. Clearly those lucky few who have been appointed Secretary of State, like John Kerry in 2013, are in good company.
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  1. 1
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    Uniontown, Pennsylvania, United States of America Harry S. Truman, 1947-1949

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  2. 2
    + 192
    - 51
    John Quincy Adams is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time


    John Quincy Adams Braintree, Massachusetts, USA James Monroe, 1817-1825

  3. 3
    + 202
    - 76
    Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time

    most listed
    Thomas Jefferson Shadwell, Virginia, USA George Washington, 1790-1793

  4. 4
    + 150
    - 49
    William H. Seward is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time


    William H. Seward Florida, New York, United States of America Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, 1861-1869

  5. 5
    + 123
    - 43
    James Madison is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time


    James Madison Port Conway, Virginia, USA Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809

  6. 6
    + 113
    - 46
    James Monroe is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time


    James Monroe Monroe Hall, Virginia, Virginia James Madison, 1811-1817

  7. 7
    + 259
    - 164
    Henry Kissinger is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time


    Henry Kissinger Fürth, Germany Gerald Ford, 1973-1977

  8. 8
    + 100
    - 53


    Middletown, Connecticut, United States of America Harry S. Truman, 1949-1953

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  9. 9
    + 86
    - 45


    Salisbury, New Hampshire, United States of America William Harrison, 1841, John Tyler, 1841-1843, and Millard Fillmore, 1850-1852

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  10. 10
    + 180
    - 126


    Czech Republic, Smíchov Bill Clinton, 1997-2001

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  11. 11
    + 103
    - 71


    New York City, New York, United States of America Ronald Reagan, 1982-1989

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  12. 12
    + 77
    - 45
    Henry Clay is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time


    Henry Clay Virginia, USA John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829

  13. 13
    + 59
    - 31


    Contiguous United States, United States of America, United States John Adams, 1800-1801

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  14. 14
    + 63
    - 36
    Cordell Hull is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time


    Cordell Hull Tennessee, United States of America Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933-1944

  15. 15
    + 74
    - 48


    Scranton, North Dakota, United States of America Bill Clinton, 1993-1997

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  16. 16
    + 50
    - 26
    Elihu Root is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time


    Elihu Root Clinton, New York, United States of America Theodore Roosevelt, 1905-1909

  17. 17
    + 142
    - 109


    Texas, USA, Houston George H. W. Bush, 1989-1992

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  18. 18
    + 59
    - 37
    John Hay is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time


    John Hay Washington Township, Salem, Indiana William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, 1898-1905

  19. 19
    + 172
    - 131


    George W. Bush, 2001-2005

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  20. 20
    + 251
    - 209
    Condoleezza Rice is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time


    Condoleezza Rice Birmingham, Alabama, United States of America George W. Bush, 2005-2009

  21. 21
    + 67
    - 45


    Georgia, United States of America John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, 1961-1969

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  22. 22
    + 30
    - 14


    Williamsburg, Virginia, United States of America George Washington, 1794-1795

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  23. 23
    + 53
    - 33


    New York City, Area code 917, Contiguous United States Herbert Hoover, 1929-1933

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  24. 24
    + 30
    - 14


    Salem, Massachusetts, United States of America George Washington, 1795-1800

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  25. 25
    + 44
    - 27
    James F. Byrnes is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time


    James F. Byrnes Charleston, South Carolina, USA Harry S. Truman, 1945-1947

  26. 26
    + 39
    - 23


    New York City, Area code 917, Contiguous United States Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1877

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  27. 27
    + 78
    - 58


    Washington, D.C., United States of America Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953-1959

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  28. 28
    + 41
    - 25
    Martin Van Buren is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time


    Martin Van Buren Kinderhook, New York, USA Andrew Jackson, 1829-1831

  29. 29
    + 30
    - 15


    Ohio, United States, with Territories William McKinley, 1897-1898

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  30. 30
    + 45
    - 29


    Warren County, Glens Falls, Contiguous United States Warren G. Harding and Herbert Hoover, 1921-1925

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  31. 31
    + 37
    - 22


    Paris, France Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1959-1961

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  32. 32
    + 24
    - 10


    Contiguous United States, United States of America, United States Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, 1834-1841

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  33. 33
    + 51
    - 36
    William Jennings Bryan is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time


    William Jennings Bryan Salem, Illinois, USA Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1915

  34. 34
    + 22
    - 9


    Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States of America James Madison, 1809-1811

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  35. 35
    + 40
    - 25


    Norfolk, New York, United States of America Richard Nixon, 1969-1973

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  36. 36
    + 411
    - 382
    Hillary Clinton is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time


    Hillary Clinton Chicago, Illinois, United States of America Barack Obama, 2009-2013

  37. 37
    + 55
    - 41


    Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States of America George H. W. Bush, 1992-1993

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  38. 38
    + 23
    - 13


    Livermore, Maine, United States of America Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1869

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  39. 39
    + 21
    - 11
    Thomas F. Bayard is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time


    Thomas F. Bayard Wilmington, Delaware, USA Grover Cleveland, 1885-1889

  40. 40
    + 29
    - 19


    Chicago, Illinois, United States of America Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, 1944-1945

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  41. 41
    + 21
    - 12


    Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857

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  42. 42
    + 25
    - 16


    Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts Theodore Roosevelt, 1909-1909

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  43. 43
    + 29
    - 21
    Frank B. Kellogg is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time


    Frank B. Kellogg Potsdam, New York, United States of America Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, 1925-1929

  44. 44
    + 45
    - 37
    Edmund Muskie is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time


    Edmund Muskie Rumford, Maine, United States of America Jimmy Carter, 1980-1981

  45. 45
    + 152
    - 155


    Aurora, USA, Colorado Barack Obama, 2013-

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  46. 46
    + 22
    - 15


    Worcester County, Oxford, United States of America Grover Cleveland, 1895-1897

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  47. 47
    + 18
    - 13


    Eastern United States, Boston, Area code 617 Rutherford B. Hayes, 1877-1881

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  48. 48
    + 17
    - 13


    Virginia, United States of America John Tyler, 1843-1844

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  49. 49
    + 37
    - 35


    Clarksburg, West Virginia, USA Jimmy Carter, 1977-1980

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  50. 50
    + 19
    - 17


    Watertown, New York, United States of America Woodrow Wilson, 1915-1920

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