The Best Former US Secretaries of State Politicians

The Best Former US Secretaries of State

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

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  2. 2
    + 161
    - 45

    Braintree, Massachusetts, USA James Monroe, 1817-1825

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  3. 3
    + 161
    - 65

    Shadwell, Virginia, USA George Washington, 1790-1793

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  4. 4
    + 111
    - 40

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

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  5. 5
    + 98
    - 35

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

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  6. 6
    + 91
    - 35

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

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  7. 7
    + 213
    - 134

    Fürth, Germany Gerald Ford, 1973-1977

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  8. 8
    + 79
    - 40

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

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  9. 9
    + 116
    - 75

    Texas, Contiguous United States, Area code 713 George H. W. Bush, 1989-1992

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  10. 10
    + 65
    - 37

    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
    + 86
    - 59

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

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  12. 12
    + 136
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    Prague, Czech Republic Bill Clinton, 1997-2001

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  13. 13
    + 48
    - 27

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

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  14. 14
    + 43
    - 23

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

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  15. 15
    + 60
    - 38

    Hanover County, Contiguous United States, United States of America John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829

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  16. 16
    + 36
    - 18

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

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  17. 17
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    Chicago, Illinois, United States of America Barack Obama, 2009-2013

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  18. 18
    + 127
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    Harlem, New York City, New York George W. Bush, 2001-2005

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  19. 19
    + 46
    - 29

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

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  20. 20
    + 41
    - 26

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

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  21. 21
    + 199
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    Birmingham, Alabama, United States of America George W. Bush, 2005-2009

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  22. 22
    + 29
    - 17

    New York City, Area code 917, Contiguous United States Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1877

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  23. 23
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    Contiguous United States, United States of America, United States Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953-1959

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  24. 24
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    Scranton, North Dakota, United States of America Bill Clinton, 1993-1997

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  25. 25
    + 34
    - 23

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

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  26. 26
    + 30
    - 21

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

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  27. 27
    + 42
    - 34

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

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  28. 28
    + 28
    - 20

    Île-de-France, Europe, Metropolitan France Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1959-1961

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  29. 29
    + 49
    - 42

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

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  30. 30
    + 30
    - 23

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

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  31. 31
    + 20
    - 14

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

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  32. 32
    + 18
    - 12

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

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  33. 33
    + 28
    - 23

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

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  34. 34
    + 19
    - 14

    Lancaster, Ohio, USA William McKinley, 1897-1898

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  35. 35
    + 32
    - 31

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

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  36. 36
    + 20
    - 18

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

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  37. 37
    + 12
    - 10

    Southbridge, Worcester County, United States of America Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857

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  38. 38
    + 12
    - 10

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

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  39. 39
    + 11
    - 9

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

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  40. 40
    + 20
    - 19

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

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  41. 41
    + 31
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    Rumford, Maine, United States of America Jimmy Carter, 1980-1981

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  42. 42
    + 12
    - 11

    Eastern United States, Northern New England, Livermore Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1869

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  43. 43
    + 9
    - 9

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

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  44. 44
    + 13
    - 14

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

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  45. 45
    + 14
    - 16

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

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  46. 46
    + 117
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    Aurora, Colorado, United States of America Barack Obama, 2013-

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  47. 47
    + 17
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    Fayette County, Pennsylvania, Contiguous United States William Howard Taft, 1909-1913

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  48. 48
    + 27
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    Clarksburg, WV Micropolitan Statistical Area, United States of America Jimmy Carter, 1977-1980

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  49. 49
    + 10
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    Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America Rutherford B. Hayes, 1877-1881

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  50. 50
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    Virginia, United States of America John Tyler, 1843-1844

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