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
    + 56
    - 20

    Braintree, Massachusetts, United States of America James Monroe, 1817-1825

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 47
    - 17

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

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 63
    - 29

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

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 65
    - 32

    Shadwell, Virginia, United States of America George Washington, 1790-1793

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 37
    - 15

    Port Conway, Virginia, United States of America Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 38
    - 16

    Monroe Hall, Virginia, United States of America James Madison, 1811-1817

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 89
    - 58

    Fürth, Germany Gerald Ford, 1973-1977

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 62
    - 41

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

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 45
    - 27

    New York City, New York, United States of America Ronald Reagan, 1982-1989

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 32
    - 16

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

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 31
    - 18

    Virginia, United States of America John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 33
    - 20

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

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 96
    - 78

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

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 101
    - 84

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

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 18
    - 8

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

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 19
    - 9

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

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 34
    - 23

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

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 16
    - 7

    New York City, New York, United States of America Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1877

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 62
    - 52

    Prague, Czech Republic Bill Clinton, 1997-2001

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 20
    - 12

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

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 20
    - 12

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

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 23
    - 15

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

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 16
    - 9

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

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 19
    - 12

    Charleston, South Carolina, United States of America Harry S. Truman, 1945-1947

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 50
    - 43

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

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 14
    - 8

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

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 16
    - 10

    Kinderhook, New York, United States of America Andrew Jackson, 1829-1831

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 18
    - 12

    Paris, France Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1959-1961

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 23
    - 17

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

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 26
    - 20

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

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 32
    - 27

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

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 16
    - 11

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

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 26
    - 22

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

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  34. 34
    + 15
    - 11

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

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  35. 35
    + 12
    - 8

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

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 8
    - 4

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

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 8
    - 4

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

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  38. 38
    + 7
    - 3

    Southbridge, Massachusetts, United States of America Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 17
    - 14

    Cove Gap, Pennsylvania, United States of America James K. Polk, 1845-1849

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  40. 40
    + 16
    - 13

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

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  41. 41
    + 9
    - 6

    Lancaster, Ohio, United States of America William McKinley, 1897-1898

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 9
    - 6

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

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 9
    - 6

    Abbeville, South Carolina, United States of America John Tyler, 1844-1845

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 7
    - 4

    Wilmington, Delaware, United States of America Grover Cleveland, 1885-1889

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 7
    - 4

    Exeter, New Hampshire, United States of America James Buchanan, 1857-1860

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 7
    - 4

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

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  47. 47
    + 6
    - 3

    Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts Millard Fillmore, 1852-1853

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 6
    - 3

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

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  49. 49
    + 6
    - 3

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

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 20
    - 18

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

    ) open
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