The Best Former US Secretaries of State Politicians

The Best Former US Secretaries of State

by  5,499 votes 895 voters 22,610 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
    + 162
    - 46

    Uniontown, Pennsylvania, United States of America Harry S. Truman, 1947-1949

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  2. 2
    + 149
    - 43

    Braintree, Massachusetts, USA James Monroe, 1817-1825

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  3. 3
    + 151
    - 62

    Shadwell, Virginia, USA George Washington, 1790-1793

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  4. 4
    + 103
    - 38

    Florida, New York, USA Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, 1861-1869

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  5. 5
    + 90
    - 34

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

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  6. 6
    + 83
    - 34

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

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  7. 7
    + 203
    - 127

    Fürth, Germany Gerald Ford, 1973-1977

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  8. 8
    + 72
    - 37

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

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  9. 9
    + 113
    - 72

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

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  10. 10
    + 61
    - 35

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

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  11. 11
    + 82
    - 57

    New York City, Area code 917, Contiguous United States Ronald Reagan, 1982-1989

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  12. 12
    + 130
    - 99

    Prague, Europe, Czech Republic Bill Clinton, 1997-2001

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  13. 13
    + 40
    - 22

    Germantown, Virginia, United States of America John Adams, 1800-1801

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  14. 14
    + 44
    - 26

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

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  15. 15
    + 118
    - 93

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

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  16. 16
    + 55
    - 37

    Virginia, USA John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829

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  17. 17
    + 293
    - 255

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

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  18. 18
    + 42
    - 27

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

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  19. 19
    + 185
    - 164

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

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  20. 20
    + 30
    - 18

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

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  21. 21
    + 37
    - 25

    New York City, New York, United States of America Herbert Hoover, 1929-1933

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  22. 22
    + 48
    - 38

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

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  23. 23
    + 59
    - 49

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

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  24. 24
    + 48
    - 39

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

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  25. 25
    + 25
    - 17

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

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  26. 26
    + 41
    - 33

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

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  27. 27
    + 30
    - 23

    Glens Falls, New York, United States of America Warren G. Harding and Herbert Hoover, 1921-1925

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  28. 28
    + 27
    - 20

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

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  29. 29
    + 27
    - 20

    Paris, France Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1959-1961

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  30. 30
    + 18
    - 11

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

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  31. 31
    + 28
    - 22

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

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  32. 32
    + 17
    - 13

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

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  33. 33
    + 25
    - 22

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

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  34. 34
    + 20
    - 17

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

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  35. 35
    + 12
    - 9

    Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857

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  36. 36
    + 29
    - 28

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

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  37. 37
    + 12
    - 10

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

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  38. 38
    + 18
    - 17

    Chicago metropolitan area, Illinois, Chicago Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, 1944-1945

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  39. 39
    + 15
    - 14

    Lancaster, Ohio, USA William McKinley, 1897-1898

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  40. 40
    + 30
    - 31

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

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  41. 41
    + 10
    - 9

    Wilmington, Delaware, USA Grover Cleveland, 1885-1889

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  42. 42
    + 9
    - 8

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

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  43. 43
    + 109
    - 125

    Aurora, Colorado, United States of America Barack Obama, 2013-

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  44. 44
    + 12
    - 14

    Oxford, Massachusetts, United States of America Grover Cleveland, 1895-1897

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  45. 45
    + 17
    - 20

    Brownsville, Pennsylvania, United States of America William Howard Taft, 1909-1913

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  46. 46
    + 10
    - 12

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

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  47. 47
    + 25
    - 30

    Cove Gap, Pennsylvania, USA James K. Polk, 1845-1849

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  48. 48
    + 8
    - 10

    Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, 1834-1841

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  49. 49
    + 13
    - 16

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

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  50. 50
    + 13
    - 16

    Eastern United States, Boston, Jamaica Plain Theodore Roosevelt, 1909-1909

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