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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 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.

The Best Former US Secretaries of State Politicians
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  1. 1
    + 128
    - 39

    Uniontown, Pennsylvania, USA Harry S. Truman, 1947-1949

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  2. 2
    + 119
    - 37

    Braintree, Massachusetts, USA James Monroe, 1817-1825

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  3. 3
    + 121
    - 51

    Shadwell, Virginia, USA George Washington, 1790-1793

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  4. 4
    + 86
    - 30

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

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  5. 5
    + 69
    - 26

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

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  6. 6
    + 165
    - 94

    Fürth, Germany Gerald Ford, 1973-1977

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  7. 7
    + 69
    - 27

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

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  8. 8
    + 56
    - 25

    Salisbury, New Hampshire, USA William Harrison, 1841, John Tyler, 1841-1843, and Millard Fillmore, 1850-1852

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  9. 9
    + 61
    - 30

    Middletown, Connecticut, USA Harry S. Truman, 1949-1953

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  10. 10
    + 97
    - 62

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

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  11. 11
    + 72
    - 47

    New York City, New York, USA Ronald Reagan, 1982-1989

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  12. 12
    + 34
    - 17

    Germantown, Virginia, Virginia John Adams, 1800-1801

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  13. 13
    + 110
    - 85

    Smíchov, Czech Republic Bill Clinton, 1997-2001

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  14. 14
    + 37
    - 21

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

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  15. 15
    + 47
    - 31

    Virginia, USA John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829

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  16. 16
    + 54
    - 40

    Washington, D.C., USA Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953-1959

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  17. 17
    + 35
    - 23

    Tennessee, USA Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933-1944

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  18. 18
    + 26
    - 15

    Clinton, New York, USA Theodore Roosevelt, 1905-1909

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  19. 19
    + 44
    - 33

    Georgia, USA John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, 1961-1969

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  20. 20
    + 94
    - 81

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

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  21. 21
    + 29
    - 19

    Glens Falls, New York, USA Warren G. Harding and Herbert Hoover, 1921-1925

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  22. 22
    + 155
    - 141

    Birmingham, Alabama, USA George W. Bush, 2005-2009

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  23. 23
    + 43
    - 33

    Scranton, North Dakota, USA Bill Clinton, 1993-1997

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  24. 24
    + 24
    - 15

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

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  25. 25
    + 27
    - 18

    Paris, France Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1959-1961

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  26. 26
    + 32
    - 23

    New York City, New York, USA Herbert Hoover, 1929-1933

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  27. 27
    + 40
    - 31

    Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA George H. W. Bush, 1992-1993

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  28. 28
    + 214
    - 203

    Chicago, Illinois, USA Barack Obama, 2009-2013

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  29. 29
    + 18
    - 10

    Williamsburg, Virginia, USA George Washington, 1794-1795

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  30. 30
    + 27
    - 19

    Norfolk, New York, USA Richard Nixon, 1969-1973

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  31. 31
    + 27
    - 20

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

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  32. 32
    + 17
    - 12

    Salem, Massachusetts, USA George Washington, 1795-1800

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  33. 33
    + 20
    - 16

    Potsdam, New York, USA Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, 1925-1929

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  34. 34
    + 12
    - 8

    Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857

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  35. 35
    + 24
    - 21

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

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  36. 36
    + 12
    - 9

    Livermore, Maine, USA Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1869

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  37. 37
    + 10
    - 8

    Wilmington, Delaware, USA Grover Cleveland, 1885-1889

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  38. 38
    + 9
    - 7

    Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA James Madison, 1809-1811

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  39. 39
    + 17
    - 16

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

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  40. 40
    + 25
    - 25

    Salem, Illinois, USA Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1915

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  41. 41
    + 13
    - 12

    Lancaster, Ohio, USA William McKinley, 1897-1898

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  42. 42
    + 12
    - 11

    Oxford, Massachusetts, USA Grover Cleveland, 1895-1897

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  43. 43
    + 13
    - 13

    Watertown, New York, USA Woodrow Wilson, 1915-1920

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  44. 44
    + 10
    - 10

    Virginia, USA John Tyler, 1843-1844

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  45. 45
    + 26
    - 29

    Rumford, Maine, USA Jimmy Carter, 1980-1981

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  46. 46
    + 16
    - 18

    Brownsville, Pennsylvania, USA William Howard Taft, 1909-1913

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  47. 47
    + 8
    - 9

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

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  48. 48
    + 87
    - 100

    Aurora, Colorado, USA Barack Obama, 2013-

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  49. 49
    + 41
    - 49

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

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  50. 50
    + 12
    - 15

    Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts Theodore Roosevelt, 1909-1909

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