Politics

Secretaries of state who became president

Updated 11:00 PM ET, Thu August 11, 2016
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Thomas Jefferson was the country's first secretary of state and third president. In between those positions, he served as John Adams' vice president. Hulton Archive/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
James Madison served as secretary of state in the Jefferson administration before ascending to the presidency in 1809. As secretary, Madison played an important role in negotiating the Louisiana Purchase. MPI/Getty Images
James Monroe was secretary of state under James Madison before becoming President in 1817. Monroe served as minister to both France and Britain in the early days of the republic. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
John Quincy Adams had an exceptionally strong resume going into the presidency, but he was defeated after one term. In addition to serving as secretary of state under James Monroe, Adams had been an accomplished lawyer, diplomat and US senator. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Martin Van Buren -- known as the Little Magician for his height and political acumen -- was secretary of state under Andrew Jackson, then served as Jackson's vice president before replacing him as president in 1837. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
James Buchanan was the country's 17th secretary of state and 15th president. Historians have generally derided him as one of the worst presidents in American history for failing to prevent the Civil War. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
James Blaine served as secretary of state under James Garfield until shortly after Garfield's assassination. Blaine lost his bid at the presidency to Democrat Grover Cleveland but then served as secretary of state a second time under Cleveland's successor, Benjamin Harrison. He made a final unsuccessful run for the White House in 1892. MPI/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Alexander Haig was the last former secretary of state to run for president, doing so in 1988. He sought the Republican Party's nomination, but he performed poorly in the polls and withdrew early in the primary process. Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
While some treat the State Department as a steppingstone to the White House, several men have made the reverse jump. The most recent is John Kerry, right, who was the Democratic nominee in 2004. Nebraska politician William Jennings Bryan took the top diplomatic post after running as the Democratic candidate in three presidential elections. Getty Images
Hillary Clinton would be the seventh former secretary of state to serve as president and the first in more than 150 years if elected in November. Kevin Winter/Getty Images