The Best Former US Secretaries of State Politicians
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The Best Former US Secretaries of State

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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 of today and even a handful of people who went on to take the highest office in the land as President of the United States of America. These men and women have served in one of the most important and prominent positions not only in the United States but as viewed from those abroad and most have done so excellently.

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 on foreign affairs to advise the President on such matters, participate in negotiations with other countries, deals with immigration and is responsible for Americans working, traveling or serving overseas, among other duties.

Serving as Secretary of State means a job filled with lots of travel, something the 2013 outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did impressively as she visited a record 112 countries during her time in the office. Only one other Secretary of State logged more travel miles, and not by much. Condoleeza Rice, who served as Secretary of State immediately before Clinton 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.

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

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  Name
  1. 1
    Up 21
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    1743 More
    George Washington, 1790-1793
  2. 2
    Up 38
    Down 13
    1954 More
    George W. Bush, 2005-2009
  3. 3
    Up 22
    Down 6
    1930 More
    George H. W. Bush, 1989-1992
  4. 4
    Up 27
    Down 10
    1923 More
    Gerald Ford, 1973-1977
  5. 5
    Up 20
    Down 6
    1930 More
    George H. W. Bush, 1992-1993
  6. 6
    Up 24
    Down 11
    1937 More
    George W. Bush, 2001-2005
  7. 7
    Up 19
    Down 7
    1920 More
    Ronald Reagan, 1982-1989
  8. 8
    Up 26
    Down 13
    1937 More
    Bill Clinton, 1997-2001
  9. 9
    Up 11
    Down 1
    1893 More
    Harry S. Truman, 1949-1953
  10. 10
    Up 17
    Down 6
    1880 More
    Harry S. Truman, 1947-1949
  11. 11
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    Down 2
    1782 More
    William Harrison, 1841, John Tyler, 1841-1843, and Millard Fillmore, 1850-1852
  12. 12
    Up 13
    Down 3
    1867 More
    Herbert Hoover, 1929-1933
  13. 13
    Up 11
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    1777 More
    John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829
  14. 14
    Up 18
    Down 8
    1924 More
    Ronald Reagan, 1981-1982
  15. 15
    Up 20
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    1925 More
    Bill Clinton, 1993-1997
  16. 16
    Up 13
    Down 4
    1882 More
    Harry S. Truman, 1945-1947
  17. 17
    Up 7
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    1782 More
    Andrew Jackson, 1829-1831
  18. 18
    Up 12
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    1913 More
    Richard Nixon, 1969-1973
  19. 19
    Up 29
    Down 20
    1943 More
    Barack Obama, 2013-
  20. 20
    Up 9
    Down 2
    1791 More
    James K. Polk, 1845-1849
  21. 21
    Up 10
    Down 3
    1860 More
    Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1915
  22. 22
    Up 12
    Down 5
    1853 More
    William Howard Taft, 1909-1913
  23. 23
    Up 13
    Down 6
    1888 More
    Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953-1959
  24. 24
    Up 14
    Down 7
    1895 More
    Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1959-1961
  25. 25
    Up 5
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    1758 More
    James Madison, 1811-1817
  26. 26
    Up 5
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    1745 More
    George Washington, 1795-1800
  27. 27
    Up 6
    Down 1
    1751 More
    Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809
  28. 28
    Up 8
    Down 3
    1856 More
    Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, 1925-1929
  29. 29
    Up 7
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    1862 More
    Warren G. Harding and Herbert Hoover, 1921-1925
  30. 30
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    1782 More
    John Tyler, 1844-1845
  31. 31
    Up 3
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    1755 More
    John Adams, 1800-1801
  32. 32
    Up 3
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    1767 More
    James Monroe, 1817-1825
  33. 33
    Up 13
    Down 9
    1914 More
    Jimmy Carter, 1980-1981
  34. 34
    Up 4
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    1801 More
    Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, 1861-1869
  35. 35
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    new! Bainbridge Colby

  36. 36
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    1947 More
    Barack Obama, 2009-2013
  37. 37
    Up 7
    Down 4
    1838 More
    William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, 1898-1905
  38. 38
    Up 7
    Down 4
    1871 More
    Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933-1944
  39. 39
    Up 9
    Down 6

    Edward Stettinius, Jr.

    1900 More
    Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, 1944-1945
  40. 40
    Up 10
    Down 7
    1917 More
    Jimmy Carter, 1977-1980
  41. 41
    Up 12
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    1909 More
    John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, 1961-1969
  42. 42
    Up 3
    Down 1
    1757 More
    James Madison, 1809-1811
  43. 43
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    Thomas F. Bayard

    1828 More
    Grover Cleveland, 1885-1889
  44. 44
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    1794 More
    Millard Fillmore, 1852-1853
  45. 45
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    Down 1
    1790 More
    John Tyler, 1843-1844
  46. 46
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    1753 More
    George Washington, 1794-1795
  47. 47
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    1816 More
    Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1869
  48. 48
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    1786 More
    Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857
  49. 49
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    Down 1
    1782 More
    James Buchanan, 1857-1860
  50. 50
    Up 3
    Down 1
    1780 More
    Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, 1834-1841

items 1 - 50 of 66

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