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United States Secretary of State

From Academic Kids

The Seal of the United States Secretary of State
The Seal of the United States Secretary of State

The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the President's Cabinet.

The current Secretary is former United States National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

Contents

History

On January 10, 1781, the Second Continental Congress created the office of "Secretary for Foreign Affairs" to head a "Department of Foreign Affairs". It wasn't until seven months later, on August 10, 1781, that the Continental Congress finally managed to elect a Secretary for Foreign Affairs. Robert R. Livingston was unable to take office until October 20, 1781.

This office ceased operation on March 4, 1789, when the Articles of Confederation gave way to the Constitution. On July 27, 1789, George Washington signed a congressional bill into law reauthorizing an executive Department of Foreign Affairs headed by a Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Congress then passed another law giving certain additional domestic responsibilities to the new Department and changing its name to the Department of State and the name of head of the department to the Secretary of State, and Washington approved this act on September 15, 1789. The new domestic duties assigned to the newly renamed department were receipt, publication, distribution, and preservation of laws of the United States, custody of the Great Seal of the United States, authentication of copies and preparation of commissions of executive branch appointments, and finally custody of the books, papers, and records of the Continental Congress including the Constitution itself and the Declaration of Independence.

The title of Secretary of State is British in origin. At the time of American independence "Secretary of State" was a title given to senoir members of the King's cabinet, ie: "Secretary of State in Charge of Colonies." The position of "Secretary of State of The United States" was thus intended to be the most general and important office in the US government, behind the Presidency.

Functions

Most of the original domestic functions of the Department of State have been transferred to other agencies. Those that remain in the Department are: storage and use of the Great Seal, performance of protocol functions for the White House, drafting of certain Presidential proclamations, formally accepting notice of the president's resignation, and replies to public inquiries. In addition, the Secretary performs such duties as the President is required, in accordance with the United States Constitution, relating to correspondence, commission, or instructions to U.S. ministers or consuls abroad, and to conduct negotiations with foreign representatives. The Secretary has also served as principal adviser to the President in the determination and execution of U.S. foreign policy and in recent decades has become responsible for overall direction, coordination, and supervision of interdepartmental activities of the U.S. Government overseas, except for certain military activities.

As the highest-ranking Cabinet member, the Secretary of State is fourth in line to succeed the Presidency, after the Vice President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and President pro tempore of the Senate. (See the entire United States presidential line of succession).

Oath of Office

The Oath of Office for the Vice President, Secretary of State, and other federal employees is as follows:

"I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

Lists of Secretaries of State

Secretaries for Foreign Affairs

Name Term of Office
Robert R. Livingston October 20, 1781June 4, 1783
John Jay May 7, 1784March 3, 1789

Secretaries of State

Name Term of Office President(s) served under
Thomas Jefferson March 22, 1790December 31, 1793 George Washington
Edmund Randolph January 2, 1794August 20, 1795 George Washington
Timothy Pickering December 10, 1795May 12, 1800 George Washington, John Adams
John Marshall June 13, 1800February 4, 1801 John Adams
James Madison May 2, 1801March 3, 1809 Thomas Jefferson
Robert Smith March 6, 1809April 1, 1811 James Madison
James Monroe April 2, 1811September 30, 1814

February 28, 1815March 3, 1817

James Madison
John Quincy Adams March 5, 1817March 3, 1825 James Monroe
Henry Clay March 7, 1825March 3, 1829 John Quincy Adams
Martin Van Buren March 28, 1829May 23, 1831 Andrew Jackson
Edward Livingston May 24, 1831May 29, 1833 Andrew Jackson
Louis McLane May 29, 1833June 30, 1834 Andrew Jackson
John Forsyth July 1, 1834March 3, 1841 Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren
Daniel Webster March 6, 1841May 8, 1843 William Henry Harrison, John Tyler
Abel Parker Upshur July 24, 1843February 28, 1844 John Tyler
John Caldwell Calhoun April 1, 1844March 10, 1845 John Tyler [1]
James Buchanan March 10, 1845March 7, 1849 James K. Polk [1]
John Clayton March 8, 1849July 22, 1850 Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore
Daniel Webster July 23, 1850October 24, 1852 Millard Fillmore
Edward Everett November 6, 1852March 3, 1853 Millard Fillmore
William Learned Marcy March 7, 1853March 6, 1857 Franklin Pierce [1]
Lewis Cass March 6, 1857December 14, 1860 James Buchanan
Jeremiah Sullivan Black December 17, 1860March 5, 1861 James Buchanan [1]
William Henry Seward March 5, 1861March 4, 1869 Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson
Elihu Benjamin Washburne March 5, 1869March 16, 1869 Ulysses S. Grant
Hamilton Fish March 17, 1869March 12, 1877 Ulysses S. Grant [1]
William Maxwell Evarts March 12, 1877March 7, 1881 Rutherford B. Hayes [1]
James Gillespie Blaine March 7, 1881December 19, 1881 James Garfield, Chester A. Arthur
Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen December 19, 1881March 6, 1885 Chester A. Arthur [1]
Thomas F. Bayard March 7, 1885March 6, 1889 Grover Cleveland [1]
James Gillespie Blaine March 7, 1889June 4, 1892 Benjamin Harrison
John W. Foster June 29, 1892February 23, 1893 Benjamin Harrison
Walter Q. Gresham March 7, 1893May 28, 1895 Grover Cleveland
Richard Olney June 10, 1895March 5, 1897 Grover Cleveland [1]
John Sherman March 6, 1897April 27, 1898 William McKinley
William R. Day April 28, 1898September 16, 1898 William McKinley
John Hay September 30, 1898July 1, 1905 William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt
Elihu Root July 19, 1905January 27, 1909 Theodore Roosevelt
Robert Bacon January 27, 1909March 5, 1909 Theodore Roosevelt [1]
Philander C. Knox March 6, 1909March 5, 1913 William Howard Taft [1]
William Jennings Bryan March 5, 1913June 9, 1915 Woodrow Wilson
Robert Lansing June 24, 1915February 13, 1920 Woodrow Wilson
Bainbridge Colby March 23, 1920March 4, 1921 Woodrow Wilson
Charles Evans Hughes March 5, 1921March 4, 1925 Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge
Frank B. Kellogg March 5, 1925March 28, 1929 Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover
Henry L. Stimson March 28, 1929March 4, 1933 Herbert Hoover
Cordell Hull March 4, 1933November 30, 1944 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Edward Stettinius Jr. December 1, 1944June 27, 1945 Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman
James F. Byrnes July 3, 1945January 21, 1947 Harry S. Truman
George Catlett Marshall January 21, 1947January 20, 1949 Harry S. Truman
Dean Acheson January 21, 1949January 20, 1953 Harry S. Truman
John Foster Dulles January 21, 1953April 22, 1959 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Christian Herter April 22, 1959January 20, 1961 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dean Rusk January 21, 1961January 20, 1969 John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson
William P. Rogers January 22, 1969September 3, 1973 Richard M. Nixon
Henry A. Kissinger September 22, 1973January 20, 1977 Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford
Cyrus Vance January 23, 1977April 28, 1980 Jimmy Carter
Edmund Sixtus Muskie May 8, 1980January 18, 1981 Jimmy Carter
Alexander Meigs Haig, Jr. January 22, 1981July 5, 1982 Ronald Reagan
George P. Shultz July 16, 1982January 20, 1989 Ronald Reagan
James Baker January 25, 1989August 23, 1992 George H. W. Bush
Lawrence Eagleburger December 8, 1992January 19, 1993 George H. W. Bush
Warren Christopher January 20, 1993January 17, 1997 Bill Clinton
Madeleine Albright January 23, 1997January 19, 2001 Bill Clinton
Colin Powell January 20, 2001January 26, 2005 George W. Bush
Condoleezza Rice January 26, 2005 – present George W. Bush

[1] In addition to the President listed, this Secretary of State served for a brief period of time (8 days or less) under that President's successor until a replacement could be named and confirmed.

Acting Secretaries of State

If the Secretary resigns, the United States Deputy Secretary of State serves as Acting Secretary of State until the President and Senate approve a formal replacement.

Name Term of Service
John Jay March 4 – 22, 1790
Timothy Pickering August 20 – December 9, 1795
Charles Lee May 13 – June 5, 1800
John Marshall February 4 – March 4, 1801
Levi Lincoln March 5 – May 1, 1801
John Graham March 4 – 9, 1817
Richard Rush March 10 – September 22, 1817
Daniel Brent March 4 – 7, 1825
James A. Hamilton March 4 – 27, 1829
Jacob L. Martin March 4 – 5, 1841
Hugh S. Legar May 9 – June 20, 1843
William S. Derrick June 21 – 23, 1843
Abel P. Upshur June 24 – July 23, 1843
John Nelson (lawyer) February 29 – March 31, 1844
Charles M. Conrad October 25 – November 5, 1852
William Hunter March 4 – 7, 1853
William Hunter December 15 – 16, 1860
William F. Wharton June 4 – 29, 1892
William F. Wharton February 24 – March 6, 1893
Edwin F. Uhl May 28 – June 9, 1895
Alvey A. Adee September 17 – 29, 1898
Francis B. Loomis July 1 – 18, 1905
Robert Lansing June 9 – 23, 1915
Frank L. Polk February 14 – March 12, 1920
Joseph C. Crew June 28 – July 3, 1945
H. Freeman Matthews January 20 – 21, 1953
Livingston T. Merchant January 20 – 21, 1961
Charles E. Bohlen January 20 – 22, 1969
Kenneth Rush September 3 – 22, 1973
Philip C. Habib January 20 – 23, 1977
Warren Christopher April 28 – May 2, 1980
David Newsom May 2 – 3, 1980
Richard N. Cooper May 3, 1980
David Newsom May 3 – 4, 1980
Warren Christopher May 4 – 8, 1980
Walter J. Stoessel, Jr. July 5 – 16, 1982
Michael H. Armacost January 20 – 25, 1989
Lawrence Eagleburger August 23 – December 8, 1992
Arnold Lee Kantor January 20, 1993
Frank G. Wisner January 20, 1993

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