Politicians

The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time 

Keaton
Originally by
Updated April 25, 2019 20.2k votes 3.3k voters 58.5k 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
George Marshall is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Dec. at 79 (1880-1959)
Harry S. Truman, 1947-1949
2
Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Dec. at 83 (1743-1826)
George Washington, 1790-1793
3
John Quincy Adams is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Dec. at 81 (1767-1848)
James Monroe, 1817-1825
4
William H. Seward is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Dec. at 71 (1801-1872)
Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, 1861-1869
5
Henry Kissinger is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Age: 96
Gerald Ford, 1973-1977
6
James Madison is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Dec. at 85 (1751-1836)
Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809
7
James Monroe is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Dec. at 73 (1758-1831)
James Madison, 1811-1817
8
James Baker is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Age: 89
George H. W. Bush, 1989-1992
9
Condoleezza Rice is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Age: 65
George W. Bush, 2005-2009
10
George P. Shultz is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Age: 99
Ronald Reagan, 1982-1989
11
Madeleine Albright is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Madeleine Albright Age: 82
Bill Clinton, 1997-2001
12
Dean Acheson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Dec. at 78 (1893-1971)
Harry S. Truman, 1949-1953
13
Colin Powell is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Age: 82
George W. Bush, 2001-2005
14
Daniel Webster is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Dec. at 70 (1782-1852)
William Harrison, 1841, John Tyler, 1841-1843, and Millard Fillmore, 1850-1852
15
Henry Clay is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Dec. at 75 (1777-1852)
John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829
16
John Hay is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Dec. at 67 (1838-1905)
William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, 1898-1905
17
Hillary Clinton is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Age: 72
Barack Obama, 2009-2013
18
John Marshall is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Dec. at 80 (1755-1835)
John Adams, 1800-1801
19
John Foster Dulles is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Dec. at 71 (1888-1959)
Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953-1959
20
Elihu Root is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Dec. at 92 (1845-1937)
Theodore Roosevelt, 1905-1909
21
Dean Rusk is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Dec. at 85 (1909-1994)
John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, 1961-1969
22
William Jennings Bryan ... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Dec. at 65 (1860-1925)
Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1915
23
Charles Evans Hughes is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Dec. at 86 (1862-1948)
Warren G. Harding and Herbert Hoover, 1921-1925
24
Cordell Hull is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Dec. at 84 (1871-1955)
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933-1944
25
Hamilton Fish is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time
Dec. at 85 (1808-1893)
Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1877