• Politics

The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time

List RulesIncludes 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
    601
    166

    George Marshall

    Dec. at 78 (1880-1959)
    Harry S. Truman, 1947-1949
  • 2
    422
    99

    William H. Seward

    Dec. at 71 (1801-1872)
    Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, 1861-1869
  • 3
    502
    202

    Thomas Jefferson

    Dec. at 83 (1743-1826)
    George Washington, 1790-1793
  • 4
    499
    130

    John Quincy Adams

    Dec. at 80 (1767-1848)
    James Monroe, 1817-1825
  • 5
    274
    101

    James Monroe

    Dec. at 73 (1758-1831)
    James Madison, 1811-1817
  • 6
    299
    107

    James Madison

    Dec. at 85 (1751-1836)
    Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809
  • 7
    204
    97
    Dec. at 70 (1782-1852)
    William Harrison, 1841, John Tyler, 1841-1843, and Millard Fillmore, 1850-1852
  • 8
    232
    125
    Dec. at 78 (1893-1971)
    Harry S. Truman, 1949-1953
  • 9
    301
    188

    George P. Shultz

    Age: 100
    Ronald Reagan, 1982-1989
  • 10
    180
    85

    John Hay

    Dec. at 66 (1838-1905)
    William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, 1898-1905
  • 11
    183
    102

    Henry Clay

    Dec. at 75 (1777-1852)
    John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829
  • 12
    157
    78

    John Marshall

    Dec. at 79 (1755-1835)
    John Adams, 1800-1801
  • 13
    391
    267

    James Baker

    Age: 91
    George H. W. Bush, 1989-1992
  • 14
    460
    329

    Madeleine Albright

    Age: 84
    Bill Clinton, 1997-2001
  • 15
    585
    522

    Henry Kissinger

    Age: 98
    Gerald Ford, 1973-1977
  • 16
    161
    86
    Dec. at 83 (1871-1955)
    Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933-1944
  • 17
    129
    80
    Dec. at 91 (1845-1937)
    Theodore Roosevelt, 1905-1909
  • 18
    196
    152

    John Foster Dulles

    Dec. at 71 (1888-1959)
    Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953-1959
  • 19
    410
    344
    George W. Bush, 2001-2005
  • 20
    111
    71
    Dec. at 86 (1862-1948)
    Warren G. Harding and Herbert Hoover, 1921-1925
  • 21
    115
    72

    Hamilton Fish

    Dec. at 85 (1808-1893)
    Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1877
  • 22
    539
    481
    George W. Bush, 2005-2009
  • 23
    784
    820

    Hillary Clinton

    Age: 74
    Barack Obama, 2009-2013
  • 24
    72
    48

    James G. Blaine

    Dec. at 62 (1830-1893)
    Benjamin Harrison, 1889-1892, and James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur, 1881-1881
  • 25
    71
    47
    Dec. at 49 (1900-1949)
    Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, 1944-1945