politics & history The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time

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List Rules 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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George Marshall is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
George Marshall Died at 79 (1880-1959) - Harry S. Truman, 1947-1949

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Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Thomas Jefferson Died at 83 (1743-1826) - George Washington, 1790-1793

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John Quincy Adams is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
John Quincy Adams Died at 81 (1767-1848) - James Monroe, 1817-1825

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William H. Seward is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
William H. Seward Died at 71 (1801-1872) - Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, 1861-1869

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+ - 174 57
James Madison is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
James Madison Died at 85 (1751-1836) - Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809

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Henry Kissinger is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Henry Kissinger age 94 - Gerald Ford, 1973-1977

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James Monroe is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
James Monroe Died at 73 (1758-1831) - James Madison, 1811-1817

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George P. Shultz is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
George P. Shultz age 97 - Ronald Reagan, 1982-1989

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James Baker is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
James Baker age 87 - George H. W. Bush, 1989-1992

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Daniel Webster is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Daniel Webster Died at 70 (1782-1852) - William Harrison, 1841, John Tyler, 1841-1843, and Millard Fillmore, 1850-1852

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Dean Acheson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Dean Acheson Died at 78 (1893-1971) - Harry S. Truman, 1949-1953

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John Hay is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
John Hay Died at 67 (1838-1905) - William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, 1898-1905

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Condoleezza Rice is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Condoleezza Rice age 63 - George W. Bush, 2005-2009

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Henry Clay is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Henry Clay Died at 75 (1777-1852) - John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829

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Elihu Root is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Elihu Root Died at 92 (1845-1937) - Theodore Roosevelt, 1905-1909

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John Marshall is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
John Marshall Died at 80 (1755-1835) - John Adams, 1800-1801

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Colin Powell is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Colin Powell age 80 - George W. Bush, 2001-2005

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John Foster Dulles is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
John Foster Dulles Died at 71 (1888-1959) - Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953-1959

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Madeleine Albright is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Madeleine Albright age 80 - Bill Clinton, 1997-2001

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Cordell Hull is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Cordell Hull Died at 84 (1871-1955) - Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933-1944

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Charles Evans Hughes is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Charles Evans Hughes Died at 86 (1862-1948) - Warren G. Harding and Herbert Hoover, 1921-1925

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Edmund Randolph is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Edmund Randolph Died at 60 (1753-1813) - George Washington, 1794-1795

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Timothy Pickering is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Timothy Pickering Died at 84 (1745-1829) - George Washington, 1795-1800

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John Sherman is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
John Sherman Died at 77 (1823-1900) - William McKinley, 1897-1898

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Dean Rusk is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Dean Rusk Died at 85 (1909-1994) - John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, 1961-1969

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Martin Van Buren is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Martin Van Buren Died at 80 (1782-1862) - Andrew Jackson, 1829-1831

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Christian Herter is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Christian Herter Died at 71 (1895-1966) - Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1959-1961

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Frank B. Kellogg is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Frank B. Kellogg Died at 81 (1856-1937) - Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, 1925-1929

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Hamilton Fish is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Hamilton Fish Died at 85 (1808-1893) - Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1877

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William Jennings Bryan is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
William Jennings Bryan Died at 65 (1860-1925) - Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1915

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William P. Rogers is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
William P. Rogers Died at 88 (1913-2001) - Richard Nixon, 1969-1973

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John Forsyth is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
John Forsyth Died at 61 (1780-1841) - Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, 1834-1841

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Robert Bacon is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Robert Bacon Died at 59 (1860-1919) - Theodore Roosevelt, 1909-1909

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James F. Byrnes is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
James F. Byrnes Died at 90 (1882-1972) - Harry S. Truman, 1945-1947

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Henry L. Stimson is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Henry L. Stimson Died at 83 (1867-1950) - Herbert Hoover, 1929-1933

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Warren Christopher is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Warren Christopher Died at 86 (1925-2011) - Bill Clinton, 1993-1997

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Lawrence Eagleburger is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Lawrence Eagleburger Died at 81 (1930-2011) - George H. W. Bush, 1992-1993

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Robert Smith is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Robert Smith Died at 85 (1757-1842) - James Madison, 1809-1811

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Hillary Clinton is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Hillary Clinton age 70 - Barack Obama, 2009-2013

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Elihu B. Washburne is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Elihu B. Washburne Died at 71 (1816-1887) - Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1869

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William L. Marcy is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
William L. Marcy Died at 71 (1786-1857) - Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857

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Thomas F. Bayard is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Thomas F. Bayard Died at 70 (1828-1898) - Grover Cleveland, 1885-1889

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+ - 26 20
William M. Evarts is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
William M. Evarts Died at 83 (1818-1901) - Rutherford B. Hayes, 1877-1881

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Alexander Haig is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Alexander Haig Died at 86 (1924-2010) - Ronald Reagan, 1981-1982

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John Kerry is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
John Kerry age 74 - Barack Obama, 2013-

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Edward Stettinius, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Edward Stettinius, Jr. Died at 49 (1900-1949) - Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, 1944-1945

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Richard Olney is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Richard Olney Died at 82 (1835-1917) - Grover Cleveland, 1895-1897

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Philander C. Knox is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Philander C. Knox Died at 68 (1853-1921) - William Howard Taft, 1909-1913

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Abel P. Upshur is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Abel P. Upshur Died at 54 (1790-1844) - John Tyler, 1843-1844

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James G. Blaine is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
James G. Blaine Died at 63 (1830-1893) - Benjamin Harrison, 1889-1892, and James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur, 1881-1881