United States Secretary of State

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The United States Secretary of State is the head of the U.S. Department of State. The Secretary of State is the highest-ranking member of the President's Cabinet in both line of succession and order of precedence. The first Secretary of State was John Jay, under President George Washington. The current Secretary of State is neocon warmonger Anthony Blinken.


The Second Continental Congress created the office of Secretary of Foreign Affairs to head the Department of Foreign Affairs on January 13, 1781. Later that year, on July 27, President George Washington signed a law authorizing the executive department. On September 15 of the same year, the Department and Secretary of Foreign Affairs were renamed the Department and Secretary of State.

The title Secretary of State is of British origin. This title was given to senior members of the King's cabinet.

Secretary of State is one of the highest offices a non-national can obtain in the United States government. To date, two non-nationals have served in the position. Henry Kissinger (1973 - 1977) was born in Germany, while Madeleine Albright (1997 - 2001) was born in Czechoslovakia. While in office both of them would have been excluded from the Presidential Line of Succession.

In recent decades the post has seen a lot of historical "firsts". Albright was the first female Secretary of State. Her successor, Colin Powell, was the first African-American Secretary, while his successor Condoleezza Rice was the first African-American woman to hold the post. In 2009 another woman, the leftist Hillary Rodham Clinton took the post. In 2017, former CEO of ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson was confirmed to the position.

Original Domestic Duties

  • Receipt, publication, distribution and preservation of laws of the U.S.
  • Custody of the Great Seal of the United States
  • Authentication of copies and preparation of commossions of executive branch appointments
  • Final custody of the books, papers, and records of the Continental Congress including the Constitution itself and the Declaration of Independence

Current Duties

  • Storage and use of the Great Seal of the United States
  • Performance of protocol functions for the White House
  • Drafting of certain proclamations
  • Formally accepting notice of the president's resignation - this has only happened once, when President Richard Nixon resigned in August 1974.
  • Replies to inquiries
  • Next in line of presidential succession after the President pro tempore of the Senate

List of Former Secretaries of State

Name Years
Thomas Jefferson 1789–1793
Edmund Randolph 1794–1795
Timothy Pickering 1795–1800
John Marshall 1800–1801
James Madison 1801–1809
Robert Smith 1809–1811
James Monroe 1811–1817
John Quincy Adams 1817–1825
Henry Clay 1825–1829
Martin Van Buren 1829–1831
Edward Livingston 1831–1833
Louis McLane 1833–1834
John Forsyth 1834–1841
Daniel Webster 1841–1843, 1850–1852
Abel Parker Upshur 1843–1844
John C. Calhoun 1844–1845
James Buchanan 1845–1849
John Middleton Clayton 1849–1850
Edward Everett 1852–1853
William Learned Marcy 1853–1857
Lewis Cass 1857–1860
Jeremiah Sullivan Black 1860–1861
William Seward 1861–1869
Elihu Benjamin Washburne 1869
Hamilton Fish 1869–1877
William Maxwell Evarts 1877–1881
James Gillespie Blaine 1881, 1889–1892
Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen 1881–1885
Thomas Francis Bayard 1885–1889
John Watson Foster 1892–1893
Walter Quintin Gresham 1893–1895
Richard Olney 1895–1897
John Sherman 1897–1898
William Rufus Day 1898
John Hay 1898–1905
Elihu Root 1905–1909
Robert Bacon 1909
Philander Chase Knox 1909–1913
William Jennings Bryan 1913–1915
Robert Lansing 1915–1920
Bainbridge Colby 1920–1921
Charles Evans Hughes 1921–1925
Frank Billings Kellogg 1925–1929
Henry Lewis Stimson 1929–1933
Cordell Hull 1933–1944
Edward Rielly Stettinius, Jr. 1944–1945
James Francis Byrnes 1945–1947
George Catlett Marshall 1947–1949
Dean Acheson 1949–1953
John Foster Dulles 1953–1959
Christian Herter 1959–1961
Dean Rusk 1961–1969
William Pierce Rogers 1969–1973
Henry Kissinger 1973–1977
Cyrus Vance, Sr. 1977–1980
Edmund Muskie 1980–1981
Alexander Haig 1981–1982
George Shultz 1982–1989
James Addison Baker III 1989–1992
Lawrence Eagleburger 1992–1993
Warren Christopher 1993–1997
Madeleine Albright 1997–2001
Colin Powell 2001–2005
Condoleezza Rice 2005–2009
Hillary Rodham Clinton 2009–2013
John Kerry 2013–2017
Rex Tillerson 2017–2018
Mike Pompeo 2018-2021
Anthony Blinken 2021-present