Politics The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time  

Keaton
Originally by
16.1k votes 2.6k voters 50.6k views 68 items

List Rules 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.
list ordered by

1
496 160
George Marshall is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 79 (1880-1959) - Harry S. Truman, 1947-1949

2
441 168
Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 83 (1743-1826) - George Washington, 1790-1793

3
397 115
John Quincy Adams is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 81 (1767-1848) - James Monroe, 1817-1825

4
331 101
William H. Seward is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 71 (1801-1872) - Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, 1861-1869

5
257 91
James Madison is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 85 (1751-1836) - Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809

6
232 91
James Monroe is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 73 (1758-1831) - James Madison, 1811-1817

7
540 349
Henry Kissinger is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
age 95 - Gerald Ford, 1973-1977

8
332 203
James Baker is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
age 88 - George H. W. Bush, 1989-1992

9
237 146
George P. Shultz is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
age 98 - Ronald Reagan, 1982-1989

10
142 72
John Hay is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 67 (1838-1905) - William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, 1898-1905

11
518 388
Condoleezza Rice is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
age 64 - George W. Bush, 2005-2009

12
165 87
Daniel Webster is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 70 (1782-1852) - William Harrison, 1841, John Tyler, 1841-1843, and Millard Fillmore, 1850-1852

13
183 110
Dean Acheson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 78 (1893-1971) - Harry S. Truman, 1949-1953

14
129 67
John Marshall is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 80 (1755-1835) - John Adams, 1800-1801

15
363 282
Colin Powell is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
age 81 - George W. Bush, 2001-2005

16
153 93
Henry Clay is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 75 (1777-1852) - John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829

17
363 300
Madeleine Albright is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
age 81 - Bill Clinton, 1997-2001

18
159 120
John Foster Dulles is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 71 (1888-1959) - Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953-1959

19
108 73
Elihu Root is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 92 (1845-1937) - Theodore Roosevelt, 1905-1909

20
118 88
Cordell Hull is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 84 (1871-1955) - Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933-1944

21
86 68
Charles Evans Hughes is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 86 (1862-1948) - Warren G. Harding and Herbert Hoover, 1921-1925

22
108 101
William Jennings Bryan is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 65 (1860-1925) - Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1915

23
85 71
Hamilton Fish is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 85 (1808-1893) - Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1877

24
64 56
Frank B. Kellogg is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 81 (1856-1937) - Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, 1925-1929

25
84 73
Henry L. Stimson is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 83 (1867-1950) - Herbert Hoover, 1929-1933

26
64 51
Edmund Randolph is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 60 (1753-1813) - George Washington, 1794-1795

27
56 47
Robert Bacon is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 59 (1860-1919) - Theodore Roosevelt, 1909-1909

28
89 78
Martin Van Buren is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 80 (1782-1862) - Andrew Jackson, 1829-1831

29
115 109
Dean Rusk is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 85 (1909-1994) - John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, 1961-1969

30
52 38
John Forsyth is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 61 (1780-1841) - Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, 1834-1841

31
60 56
Christian Herter is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 71 (1895-1966) - Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1959-1961

32
58 53
Timothy Pickering is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 84 (1745-1829) - George Washington, 1795-1800

33
759 839
Hillary Clinton is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
age 71 - Barack Obama, 2009-2013

34
53 42
James G. Blaine is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 63 (1830-1893) - Benjamin Harrison, 1889-1892, and James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur, 1881-1881

35
53 42
Edward Stettinius, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 49 (1900-1949) - Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, 1944-1945

36
60 50
John Sherman is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 77 (1823-1900) - William McKinley, 1897-1898

37
96 98
Lawrence Eagleburger is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 81 (1930-2011) - George H. W. Bush, 1992-1993

38
73 65
James F. Byrnes is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 90 (1882-1972) - Harry S. Truman, 1945-1947

39
68 61
William P. Rogers is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 88 (1913-2001) - Richard Nixon, 1969-1973

40
48 37
Robert Smith is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 85 (1757-1842) - James Madison, 1809-1811

41
122 137
Warren Christopher is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 86 (1925-2011) - Bill Clinton, 1993-1997

42
114 138
Alexander Haig is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 86 (1924-2010) - Ronald Reagan, 1981-1982

43
46 35
William L. Marcy is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 71 (1786-1857) - Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857

44
44 35
Elihu B. Washburne is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 71 (1816-1887) - Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1869

45
42 32
Thomas F. Bayard is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 70 (1828-1898) - Grover Cleveland, 1885-1889

46
37 35
William M. Evarts is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 83 (1818-1901) - Rutherford B. Hayes, 1877-1881

47
44 39
Philander C. Knox is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 68 (1853-1921) - William Howard Taft, 1909-1913

48
78 78
Cyrus Vance is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 85 (1917-2002) - Jimmy Carter, 1977-1980

49
304 392
John Kerry is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
age 75 - Barack Obama, 2013-

50
40 36
Richard Olney is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Died at 82 (1835-1917) - Grover Cleveland, 1895-1897