ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The USA's 69 Secretaries of State: from Thomas Jefferson to Rex Tillerson, 1789 - 2017

Updated on February 20, 2017

America began having a President and a Secretary of State in 1789, 13 years after the nation's birth in 1776.

The Secretary of State plays a critical role in the executive branch of the American government. Whomever holds that title becomes a key member of the president's cabinet of close advisors, as well as being considered the top American diplomat.

Secretaries of State are highly regarded in America as skilled negotiators and "elder statesmen" within the government.

The first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, wrote America's Declaration of Indepence thirteen years earlier. Another man, Daniel Webster, served two non-consecutive terms, in the early 1840's under presidents William Henry Harrison and John Tyler, and again, three presidents later, under Millard Fillmore, in the early 1850's.

Q: Did any become president?

A: Yes, 6 Secretaries of State later became President, and 1 almost became President: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren and James Buchanan all served as Secretary of State and later became President. Notice that these six became president relatively early in the nation's history. In fact, no Secretary of State has become president since James Buchanan in the late 1850s. However, Hillary Clinton was the only US Secretary of State to nearly become President. She ran for President in 2016 and won the popular vote, only to lose the electoral vote to Donald J. Trump.

Note: over 30 additional people NOT listed here served as "acting secretary of state" for a minimal period of time (a few days, weeks, or months) until a successor to the previous secretary could be named.

Here's the list of America's Secretaries of State:

31.  James G. Blaine (1889 - 1892) [Benjamin Harrison]

32.  John W. Foster (1892 - 1993) [Benjamin Harrison]

33.  Walter Q. Gresham (1893 - 1895) [Grover Cleveland]

34.  Richard Olney (1895 - 1897) [Grover Cleveland]

35.  John Sherman (1897 - 1898) [William McKinley]

36.  William R. Day (1898) [William McKinley]

37.  John M. Hay (1898 - 1905) [William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt]

38.  Elihu Root (1905 - 1909) [Theodore Roosevelt]

39.  Robert Bacon (1909) [Theodore Roosevelt]

40.  Philander C. Knox (1909 - 1913) [William H. Taft}

# - name (term) [president]

1.  Thomas Jefferson (1789 - 1793) [George Washington]

2.  Edmund Randolph (1794 - 1795) [George Washington]

3.  Timothy Pickering (1795 - 1800) [George Washington, John Adams]

4.  John Marshall (1800 - 1801) [John Adams]

5.  James Madison (1801 - 1809) [Thomas Jefferson]

6.  Robert Smith (1809 - 1811) [James Madison]

7.  James Monroe (1811 - 1814 and 1815 - 1817) [James Madison]

8.  John Quincy Adams (1817 - 1825) [James Monroe]

9.  Henry Clay (1825 - 1829) [John Quincy Adams]

10.  Martin Van Buren (1829 - 1831) [Andrew Jackson]

41. William Jennings Bryan (1913 -1915) [Woodrow Wilson]

42. Robert Lansing (1915 - 1920) [Woodrow Wilson]

43. Bainbridge Colby (1920 - 1921) [Woodrow Wilson]

44. Charles Evans Hughes (1921 - 1925) [Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge]

45. Frank B. Kellogg (1925 - 1929) [Calvin Coolidge, Herber Hoover]

46. Henry L. Stimson (1929 - 1933) [Herbert Hoover]

47. Cordell Hull (1933 - 1944) [Franklin D. Roosevelt]

48. Edward R. Stettinius, Jr. (1944 - 1945) [Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman]

49. James F. Byrnes (1945 - 1947) [Harry S. Truman]

50. George C. Marshall, Jr. (1947 - 1949) [Harry S. Truman]

11.  Edward Livingston (1831 - 1833) [Andrew Jackson]

12.  Louis McLane (1833 - 1834) [Andrew Jackson]

13.  John Forsyth (1834 - 1841) [Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren]

14.  Daniel Webster (1841 - 1843) [William Henry Harrison, John Tyler]

15.  Abel Upshur (1843 - 1844) [John Tyler]

16.  John C. Calhoun (1844 - 1845) [John Tyler]

17.  James Buchanan (1845 - 1849) [James K. Polk]

18.  John M. Clayton [1849 - 1850) [Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore]

19.  Daniel Webster (1850 - 1852) [Millard Fillmore]

20.  Edward Everett (1852 - 1853) [Millard Fillmore]

51.  Dean C. Acheson (1949 - 1953) [Harry S. Truman]

52.  John Foster Dulles (1953 - 1959) [Dwight Eisenhower]

53.  Christian A. Herter (1959 - 1961) [Dwight Eisenhower]

54.  David Dean Rusk (1961 - 1969) [John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson

55.  William P. Rogers (1969 - 1973) [Richard Nixon]

56.  Henry A. Kissinger (1973 - 1977) [Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford]

57.  Cyrus R. Vance (1977 - 1980) [Jimmy Carter]

58.  Edmund S. Muskie (1980 - 1981) [Jimmy Carter]

59.  Alexander M. Haig, Jr. (1981 - 1982) [Ronald Reagan]

60.  George P. Schultz (1982 - 1989) [Ronald Reagan]


21.  William L. Marcy (1853 - 1857) [Franklin Pierce]

22.  Lewis Cass (1857 - 1860) [James Buchanan]

23.  Jeremiah S. Black (1860 - 1861) [James Buchanan]

24.  William H. Seward (1861 - 1869) [Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson]

25.  Elihu B. Washburne (1869) [Ulysses Grant]

26.  Hamilton Fish (1869 - 1877) [Ulysses Grant]

27.  William M. Evarts (1877 - 1881) [Rutherford Hayes

28.  James G. Blaine (1881) [James Garfield, Chester Arthur]

29.  Frederick T. Frelinguysen (1881 - 1885) [Chester Arthur]

30.  Thomas F. Bayard, Sr. (1885 - 1889) [Grover Cleveland]

61. James A. Baker III (1989 - 1992) [George H. W. Bush]

62. Lawrence S. Eagleburger (1992 - 1993) [George H. W. Bush]

63. Warren Christopher (1993 - 1997) [Bill Clinton]

64. Madeleine K. Albright (1997 - 2001) [Bill Clinton]

65. Colin L. Powell (2001 - 2005) [George W. Bush]

66. Condolezza Rice (2005 - 2009) [George W. Bush]

67. Hillary Rodham Clinton (2009 - ) [Barack Obama]

68. John Kerry (2013 - 2017) [Barack Obama]

69. Rex Tillerson (2017 - present) [Donald J. Trump]

Copyright(C) 2009-2012 Thomas R. Zarecki. All Rights Reserved.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)