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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    1743 George Washington, 1790-1793

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    1923 Gerald Ford, 1973-1977

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  3. 3
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    1880 Harry S. Truman, 1947-1949

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    1767 James Monroe, 1817-1825

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    1930 George H. W. Bush, 1989-1992

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    1801 Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, 1861-1869

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    1758 James Madison, 1811-1817

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    1751 Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809

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    1782 William Harrison, 1841, John Tyler, 1841-1843, and Millard Fillmore, 1850-1852

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    1954 George W. Bush, 2005-2009

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    1920 Ronald Reagan, 1982-1989

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    1937 Bill Clinton, 1997-2001

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    1777 John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829

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    1937 George W. Bush, 2001-2005

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    1893 Harry S. Truman, 1949-1953

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    1867 Herbert Hoover, 1929-1933

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    1755 John Adams, 1800-1801

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    1808 Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1877

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    1924 Ronald Reagan, 1981-1982

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    1838 William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, 1898-1905

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    1888 Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953-1959

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    1860 Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1915

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    1947 Barack Obama, 2009-2013

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    1930 George H. W. Bush, 1992-1993

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    1782 Andrew Jackson, 1829-1831

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    1853 William Howard Taft, 1909-1913

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    1882 Harry S. Truman, 1945-1947

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    1925 Bill Clinton, 1993-1997

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  29. 29
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    1745 George Washington, 1795-1800

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    1913 Richard Nixon, 1969-1973

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  31. 31
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    1871 Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933-1944

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    1895 Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1959-1961

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  33. 33
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    1791 James K. Polk, 1845-1849

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  34. 34
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    1856 Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, 1925-1929

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    1753 George Washington, 1794-1795

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    1782 John Tyler, 1844-1845

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    1862 Warren G. Harding and Herbert Hoover, 1921-1925

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    1782 James Buchanan, 1857-1860

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    1816 Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1869

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    1943 Barack Obama, 2013-

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    1835 Grover Cleveland, 1895-1897

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    1823 William McKinley, 1897-1898

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    1828 Grover Cleveland, 1885-1889

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    1790 John Tyler, 1843-1844

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  45. 45
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    1786 Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857

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  46. 46
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    1794 Millard Fillmore, 1852-1853

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  47. 47
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    1757 James Madison, 1809-1811

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  48. 48
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    1780 Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, 1834-1841

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  49. 49
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    1909 John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, 1961-1969

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  50. 50
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    Bainbridge Colby

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