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

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 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.
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  1. 1
    Up 28
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    1743 More
    George Washington, 1790-1793
  2. 2
    Up 29
    Down 8
    1880 More
    Harry S. Truman, 1947-1949
  3. 3
    Up 40
    Down 17
    1923 More
    Gerald Ford, 1973-1977
  4. 4
    Up 31
    Down 13
    1930 More
    George H. W. Bush, 1989-1992
  5. 5
    Up 50
    Down 29
    1954 More
    George W. Bush, 2005-2009
  6. 6
    Up 13
    Down 0
    1767 More
    James Monroe, 1817-1825
  7. 7
    Up 18
    Down 5
    1893 More
    Harry S. Truman, 1949-1953
  8. 8
    Up 38
    Down 23
    1937 More
    Bill Clinton, 1997-2001
  9. 9
    Up 12
    Down 1
    1758 More
    James Madison, 1811-1817
  10. 10
    Up 12
    Down 1
    1801 More
    Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, 1861-1869
  11. 11
    Up 15
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    1782 More
    William Harrison, 1841, John Tyler, 1841-1843, and Millard Fillmore, 1850-1852
  12. 12
    Up 13
    Down 3
    1751 More
    Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809
  13. 13
    Up 23
    Down 12
    1920 More
    Ronald Reagan, 1982-1989
  14. 14
    Up 16
    Down 6
    1882 More
    Harry S. Truman, 1945-1947
  15. 15
    Up 11
    Down 2
    1782 More
    Andrew Jackson, 1829-1831
  16. 16
    Up 22
    Down 12
    1924 More
    Ronald Reagan, 1981-1982
  17. 17
    Up 14
    Down 5
    1777 More
    John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829
  18. 18
    Up 15
    Down 6
    1867 More
    Herbert Hoover, 1929-1933
  19. 19
    Up 18
    Down 9
    1888 More
    Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953-1959
  20. 20
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    Down 1
    1745 More
    George Washington, 1795-1800
  21. 21
    Up 28
    Down 19
    1937 More
    George W. Bush, 2001-2005
  22. 22
    Up 15
    Down 7
    1913 More
    Richard Nixon, 1969-1973
  23. 23
    Up 21
    Down 13
    1930 More
    George H. W. Bush, 1992-1993
  24. 24
    Up 12
    Down 5
    1860 More
    Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1915
  25. 25
    Up 12
    Down 5
    1791 More
    James K. Polk, 1845-1849
  26. 26
    Up 14
    Down 7
    1853 More
    William Howard Taft, 1909-1913
  27. 27
    Up 6
    Down 1
    1755 More
    John Adams, 1800-1801
  28. 28
    Up 15
    Down 9
    1895 More
    Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1959-1961
  29. 29
    Up 21
    Down 15
    1925 More
    Bill Clinton, 1993-1997
  30. 30
    Up 10
    Down 5
    1838 More
    William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, 1898-1905
  31. 31
    Up 11
    Down 6
    1871 More
    Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933-1944
  32. 32
    Up 5
    Down 1
    1808 More
    Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1877
  33. 33
    Up 5
    Down 1
    1782 More
    John Tyler, 1844-1845
  34. 34
    Up 6
    Down 2
    1828 More
    Grover Cleveland, 1885-1889
  35. 35
    Up 6
    Down 2
    1790 More
    John Tyler, 1843-1844
  36. 36
    Up 6
    Down 2
    1753 More
    George Washington, 1794-1795
  37. 37
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    1856 More
    Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, 1925-1929
  38. 38
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    1816 More
    Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1869
  39. 39
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    1786 More
    Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857
  40. 40
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    1780 More
    Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, 1834-1841
  41. 41
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    1794 More
    Millard Fillmore, 1852-1853
  42. 42
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    1782 More
    James Buchanan, 1857-1860
  43. 43
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    Down 2
    1757 More
    James Madison, 1809-1811
  44. 44
    Up 33
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    1943 More
    Barack Obama, 2013-
  45. 45
    Up 8
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    new! Bainbridge Colby

  46. 46
    Up 8
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    1862 More
    Warren G. Harding and Herbert Hoover, 1921-1925
  47. 47
    Up 15
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    1914 More
    Jimmy Carter, 1980-1981
  48. 48
    Up 4
    Down 2
    1810 More
    James Buchanan, 1860-1861
  49. 49
    Up 4
    Down 2
    1817 More
    Chester A. Arthur, 1881-1885
  50. 50
    Up 7
    Down 5
    1835 More
    Grover Cleveland, 1895-1897

items 1 - 50 of 66

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