The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time

Originally By 10k votes 1.6k voters 39k views 66 items tags f p @

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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    Fayette County, Pennsylvania, Contiguous United States Harry S. Truman, 1947-1949

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  2. 2
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    most listed
    Shadwell, Virginia, USA George Washington, 1790-1793

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  3. 3
    + 259
    - 66


    Braintree, Massachusetts, USA James Monroe, 1817-1825

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  4. 4
    + 214
    - 62


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

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  5. 5
    + 164
    - 57


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

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  6. 6
    + 347
    - 210


    Germany, Fürth Gerald Ford, 1973-1977

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  7. 7
    + 145
    - 59


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

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  8. 8
    + 142
    - 91


    New York City, New York, USA Ronald Reagan, 1982-1989

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  9. 9
    + 199
    - 134


    Houston, Texas, United States of America George H. W. Bush, 1989-1992

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  10. 10
    + 129
    - 71


    Middletown, Connecticut, USA Harry S. Truman, 1949-1953

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  11. 11
    + 337
    - 255


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

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  12. 12
    + 81
    - 44


    Louisville metropolitan area, Washington Township, Salem William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, 1898-1905

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  13. 13
    + 110
    - 55


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

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  14. 14
    + 100
    - 52


    Hanover County, Contiguous United States, United States of America John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829

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  15. 15
    + 69
    - 36


    Oneida County, Contiguous United States, New York Theodore Roosevelt, 1905-1909

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  16. 16
    + 229
    - 180


    New York City, USA, New York George W. Bush, 2001-2005

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  17. 17
    + 76
    - 39


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

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  18. 18
    + 103
    - 72


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

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  19. 19
    + 228
    - 187


    Smíchov, Czech Republic Bill Clinton, 1997-2001

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  20. 20
    + 81
    - 49


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

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  21. 21
    + 57
    - 37


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

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  22. 22
    + 45
    - 22


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

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  23. 23
    + 60
    - 36


    Kinderhook, New York, USA Andrew Jackson, 1829-1831

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  24. 24
    + 45
    - 29


    Paris, France Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1959-1961

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  25. 25
    + 39
    - 24


    Salem, Massachusetts, USA George Washington, 1795-1800

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  26. 26
    + 43
    - 30


    Contiguous United States, New York, Potsdam Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, 1925-1929

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  27. 27
    + 81
    - 60


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

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  28. 28
    + 52
    - 33


    New York City, New York, USA Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1877

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  29. 29
    + 62
    - 43


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

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  30. 30
    + 42
    - 23


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

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  31. 31
    + 35
    - 22


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

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  32. 32
    + 89
    - 79


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

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  33. 33
    + 540
    - 537


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

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  34. 34
    + 54
    - 37


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

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  35. 35
    + 48
    - 37


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

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  36. 36
    + 65
    - 56


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

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  37. 37
    + 33
    - 17


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

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  38. 38
    + 30
    - 17


    Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA James Madison, 1809-1811

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  39. 39
    + 63
    - 52


    Illinois, United States of America, United States Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1915

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  40. 40
    + 77
    - 84


    Lower Merion Township, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania Ronald Reagan, 1981-1982

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  41. 41
    + 24
    - 18


    Boston, Massachusetts, USA Rutherford B. Hayes, 1877-1881

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  42. 42
    + 29
    - 19


    Livermore, Maine, USA Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1869

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  43. 43
    + 28
    - 17


    Southbridge Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857

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  44. 44
    + 201
    - 234


    Aurora, Colorado, USA Barack Obama, 2013-

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  45. 45
    + 24
    - 17


    Wilmington, Delaware, USA Grover Cleveland, 1885-1889

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  46. 46
    + 33
    - 28


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

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  47. 47
    + 22
    - 17


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

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  48. 48
    + 29
    - 26


    Brownsville, Pennsylvania, USA William Howard Taft, 1909-1913

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  49. 49
    + 25
    - 22


    Oxford, Massachusetts, USA Grover Cleveland, 1895-1897

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  50. 50
    + 27
    - 25


    West Brownsville, Pennsylvania, USA Benjamin Harrison, 1889-1892, and James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur, 1881-1881

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