Politics
3.6k voters

The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time

Updated April 25, 2019 19.3k votes 3.6k voters 62.3k views68 items

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.
Photo:
...more
  • 1
    605
    168
    Dec. at 79 (1880-1959)
    Harry S. Truman, 1947-1949
  • 2
    423
    100
    Dec. at 71 (1801-1872)
    Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, 1861-1869
  • 3
    504
    203
    Dec. at 83 (1743-1826)
    George Washington, 1790-1793
  • 4
    501
    132
    Dec. at 81 (1767-1848)
    James Monroe, 1817-1825
  • 5
    276
    101
    Dec. at 73 (1758-1831)
    James Madison, 1811-1817
  • 6
    301
    108
    Dec. at 85 (1751-1836)
    Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809
  • 7
    208
    98
    Dec. at 70 (1782-1852)
    William Harrison, 1841, John Tyler, 1841-1843, and Millard Fillmore, 1850-1852
  • 8
    233
    125
    Dec. at 78 (1893-1971)
    Harry S. Truman, 1949-1953
  • 9
    302
    190
    Ronald Reagan, 1982-1989
  • 10
    183
    85
    Dec. at 67 (1838-1905)
    William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, 1898-1905
  • 11
    183
    101
    Dec. at 75 (1777-1852)
    John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829
  • 12
    160
    78
    Dec. at 80 (1755-1835)
    John Adams, 1800-1801
  • 13
    393
    270
    George H. W. Bush, 1989-1992
  • 14
    465
    327
    Bill Clinton, 1997-2001
  • 15
    162
    86
    Dec. at 84 (1871-1955)
    Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933-1944
  • 16
    587
    524
    Gerald Ford, 1973-1977
  • 17
    131
    80
    Dec. at 92 (1845-1937)
    Theodore Roosevelt, 1905-1909
  • 18
    196
    153
    Dec. at 71 (1888-1959)
    Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953-1959
  • 19
    112
    72
    Dec. at 86 (1862-1948)
    Warren G. Harding and Herbert Hoover, 1921-1925
  • 20
    414
    341
    George W. Bush, 2001-2005
  • 21
    543
    477
    George W. Bush, 2005-2009
  • 22
    116
    73
    Dec. at 85 (1808-1893)
    Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1877
  • 23
    74
    49
    Dec. at 62 (1830-1893)
    Benjamin Harrison, 1889-1892, and James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur, 1881-1881
  • 24
    788
    824
    Barack Obama, 2009-2013
  • 25
    72
    47
    Dec. at 49 (1900-1949)
    Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, 1944-1945