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
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    Died at 83 (1743-1826) George Washington, 1790-1793

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 55
    - 25

    Died at 79 (1880-1959) Harry S. Truman, 1947-1949

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 43
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    Died at 81 (1767-1848) James Monroe, 1817-1825

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 39
    - 15

    Died at 71 (1801-1872) Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, 1861-1869

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 78
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    age 92 Gerald Ford, 1973-1977

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 32
    - 12

    Died at 73 (1758-1831) James Madison, 1811-1817

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 57
    - 35

    age 85 George H. W. Bush, 1989-1992

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 30
    - 13

    Died at 85 (1751-1836) Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 40
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    age 95 Ronald Reagan, 1982-1989

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 28
    - 14

    Died at 70 (1782-1852) William Harrison, 1841, John Tyler, 1841-1843, and Millard Fillmore, 1850-1852

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 84
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    age 61 George W. Bush, 2005-2009

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 28
    - 15

    Died at 75 (1777-1852) John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 31
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    Died at 71 (1888-1959) Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953-1959

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 29
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    Died at 78 (1893-1971) Harry S. Truman, 1949-1953

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 17
    - 7

    Died at 80 (1755-1835) John Adams, 1800-1801

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 18
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    Died at 86 (1862-1948) Warren G. Harding and Herbert Hoover, 1921-1925

    ) open
  17. 17
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    age 78 Bill Clinton, 1997-2001

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 20
    - 11

    Died at 67 (1838-1905) William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, 1898-1905

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 15
    - 7

    Died at 85 (1808-1893) Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1877

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 80
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    age 68 Barack Obama, 2009-2013

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 13
    - 6

    Died at 84 (1745-1829) George Washington, 1795-1800

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 15
    - 8

    Died at 80 (1782-1862) Andrew Jackson, 1829-1831

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 18
    - 11

    Died at 90 (1882-1972) Harry S. Truman, 1945-1947

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 22
    - 15

    Died at 83 (1867-1950) Herbert Hoover, 1929-1933

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 16
    - 10

    Died at 68 (1853-1921) William Howard Taft, 1909-1913

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 17
    - 11

    Died at 84 (1871-1955) Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933-1944

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 31
    - 25

    Died at 86 (1924-2010) Ronald Reagan, 1981-1982

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 44
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    age 78 George W. Bush, 2001-2005

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 16
    - 11

    Died at 77 (1791-1868) James K. Polk, 1845-1849

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  30. 30
    + 17
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    Died at 71 (1895-1966) Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1959-1961

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 21
    - 16

    Died at 85 (1909-1994) John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, 1961-1969

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  32. 32
    + 26
    - 22

    Died at 86 (1925-2011) Bill Clinton, 1993-1997

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  33. 33
    + 24
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    Died at 81 (1930-2011) George H. W. Bush, 1992-1993

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 16
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    Died at 65 (1860-1925) Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1915

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 15
    - 11

    Died at 88 (1913-2001) Richard Nixon, 1969-1973

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  36. 36
    + 12
    - 8

    Died at 92 (1845-1937) Theodore Roosevelt, 1905-1909

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 8
    - 4

    Died at 60 (1753-1813) George Washington, 1794-1795

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  38. 38
    + 12
    - 9

    Died at 81 (1856-1937) Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, 1925-1929

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  39. 39
    + 9
    - 6

    Died at 77 (1823-1900) William McKinley, 1897-1898

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  40. 40
    + 9
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    Died at 82 (1835-1917) Grover Cleveland, 1895-1897

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  41. 41
    + 7
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    Died at 70 (1828-1898) Grover Cleveland, 1885-1889

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  42. 42
    + 7
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    Died at 54 (1790-1844) John Tyler, 1843-1844

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  43. 43
    + 7
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    Died at 71 (1816-1887) Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1869

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  44. 44
    + 7
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    Died at 84 (1782-1866) James Buchanan, 1857-1860

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  45. 45
    + 6
    - 3

    Died at 71 (1794-1865) Millard Fillmore, 1852-1853

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  46. 46
    + 6
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    Died at 71 (1786-1857) Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857

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  47. 47
    + 6
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    Died at 61 (1780-1841) Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, 1834-1841

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  48. 48
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    Died at 85 (1757-1842) James Madison, 1809-1811

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  49. 49
    + 7
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    Died at 68 (1782-1850) John Tyler, 1844-1845

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  50. 50
    + 5
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    Died at 73 (1810-1883) James Buchanan, 1860-1861

    ) open
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