The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, which is the federal government department responsible for international relations (foreign policy). The Secretary of State has a number of important functions such as: the organization and supervision of the Department of State and Foreign Service along with all other international U.S. activities, advising the President about foreign policy, negotiations and diplomacy with other countries, supervising immigration policy, communicating with Congress and U.S. citizens on matters of foreign policy and providing information and other services (such as passports) to citizens outside of U.S. borders. The Secretary of State is also a member of the Cabinet and the fourth in line to the President. Let’s find out which person was the first to take on this role.
Who was the first United States Secretary Of State?
An original position similar to the Secretary of State was called the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. This position existed from 1781 until 1789. The first Secretary of Foreign Affairs was Robert R. Livingston and the second was John Jay. The name of this office was changed to Secretary of State by George Washington in 1789 and new domestic powers and responsibilities were added to this position. Washington asked John Jay to continue in the new position, but he declined so Washington instead asked Thomas Jefferson to take the role. John Jay remained acting Secretary of State between September 26, 1789, and March 22, 1790 until Jefferson took office on March 22, 1790. Despite this, Thomas Jefferson is regarded as the first official Secretary of State.
Did you know?
After declining the Secretary of State role Washington offered John Jay the title of Chief Justice of the United States, which he accepted.
Hillary Clinton, the current Secretary of State (as of 2012), is the 67th person but only the 3rd woman to hold the position.