Carl Schurz

The Top 30 Presidential Cabinet Officers In American History

Presidents do not accomplish their goals and policies on their own, but rather depend on the best advice and counsel of their cabinet members.

Since the Presidential Cabinet idea was formulated by George Washington and the first Congress under the Constitution, we have had the creation over time of 15 Cabinet agencies, and some of those who have held Cabinet posts under Presidents have had a dramatic impact on their times.

Below is a list of what the author believes are those 30 Cabinet officers who have had the greatest effect on American history, without ranking them in any order:

Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury under George Washington

Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison

John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State under James Monroe

William Seward, Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson

Hamilton Fish, Secretary of State under Ulysses S. Grant

Carl Schurz, Secretary of the Interior under Rutherford B. Hayes

John Hay, Secretary of State under William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt

James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture under William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft

Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior under Woodrow Wilson

Charles Evans Hughes, Secretary of State under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge

Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge

Cordell Hull, Secretary of State under Franklin D. Roosevelt

Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior under Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman

Henry A. Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture under Franklin D. Roosevelt

Henry Morgenthau, Jr, Secretary of the Treasury under Franklin D. Roosevelt

Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor under Franklin D. Roosevelt

George C. Marshall, Secretary of State under Harry Truman

Dean Acheson, Secretary of State under Harry Truman

Stewart Udall, Secretary of the Interior under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

Robert F. Kennedy, Attorney General under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

W. Willard Wirtz, Secretary of Labor under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford

George Romney, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Richard Nixon

Cecil Andrus, Secretary of the Interior under Jimmy Carter

Elizabeth Dole, Secretary of Transportation under Ronald Reagan

Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton

Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services under Bill Clinton

Bruce Babbitt, Secretary of the Interior under Bill Clinton

Richard Riley, Secretary of Education under Bill Clinton

Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush and Barack Obama

Note that 25 Presidents and 12 of the 15 Cabinet Departments are included in this list. Nine Secretaries of State; three Secretaries of the Treasury; one Secretary of Defense; one Attorney General; six Secretaries of the Interior; two Secretaries of Agriculture; one Secretary of Commerce; three Secretaries of Labor; one Secretary of Health and Human Services; one Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; one Secretary of Transportation; and one Secretary of Education make up the list.

Also note that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had five cabinet members who made the list; Bill Clinton had four; and Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson had three each!

The Shame And Embarrassment Of Missouri: What Has Happened To The “Show Me” State?

Missouri is smack in the middle of the United States, and is the ultimate swing state, having successfully gone with the winner of the Presidency in every election since 1900, except for 1956 (picking Adlai Stevenson over Dwight D. Eisenhower) and 2008 (picking John McCain over Barack Obama).

However, both times the final result was not known for days, and the victory was only by about 4,000 votes statewide.

Missouri is also the state historically of the following statesmen:

President Harry Truman (1945-1953), who had served in the Senate from 1935-1945 (Democrat)
Senator Thomas Hart Benton (1821-1851) (Democrat)
Senator Carl Schurz (1869-1875) (Republican)
Senator Stuart Symington (1953-1977) (Democrat)
Senator John Danforth (1977-1995) (Republican)
Senator Thomas Eagleton (1969-1987) (Democrat)

But now, Missouri is represented by Senator Roy Blunt, who used to be one of the top Republicans in the House of Representatives, and has become connected to the Blunt Amendment proposal, allowing any employer to prevent medical services based on religious grounds to any employee, a measure defeated by the Democratic majority in the US Senate. This is seen as anti women, interfering with their right to have birth control as part of medical plans.

And now, Congressman Todd Akin, controversial for his comment about “legitimate” rape, but refusing to withdraw as the GOP nominee for the Senate seat of Senator Claire McCaskill, is putting Missouri into the strange position of possibly having both Senators on record as against the rights of women to control their own reproductive lives, and trying to prevent abortion if a victim of rape or incest, or her life itself is threatened, an extremely right wing position.

The Republican Party and Mitt Romney had backed away from support of Akin, but now that he is remaining in the race for the Senate, the question is whether the Republican Party will change its mind and end up supporting Akin’s candidacy financially.

This McCaskill-Akin race could well be the decisive one that determines whether the Democrats keep control of the US Senate, or if the Republicans gain control.

It would seem that McCaskill should win, not only because of the controversy raised by Akin, but because she has done a good job in her one term in the Senate.

But Missouri is an odd state, with strong evangelical roots, and it would be a major shame and embarrassment for the state were they to end up having two right wing Senators at the same time.

The state would lose all respect of political observers who see moderation as the way to get things done in the Senate, and it would be a major step backwards for women’s rights!

So everyone should contribute to this pivotal race, as the key one which could determine the political future in so many ways!

And it is up to Missouri voters to show they are indeed the “Show Me” state, and will not tolerate having an extreme right winger in the Senate, joining Senator Roy Blunt!

The Environmentally Oriented Presidents: A Poll, And Commentary On The Poll

Last week, CorporateKnights.com, which advertises itself as “The Company For Clean Capitalism”, and publishes a magazine, asked twelve environmental oriented organizations to rank our 43 Presidents on the issue of their “greenness”, a fascinating ranking!

They also held a press conference, which was shown on C Span, and Ralph Nader, the well known environmentalist and leader of Public Citizen, was on the panel discussing the results.

The conclusion was that eight Presidents deserved recognition, with three being way ahead of the other five on the issue of the environment.

The easy winner was Republican Theodore Roosevelt, followed by Republican Richard Nixon, and Democrat Jimmy Carter.

The other five in order were Democrat Barack Obama , Democratic -Republican Thomas Jefferson, Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt and Republican Gerald Ford tied for sixth, and Democrat Bill Clinton in last place among the eight.

While some might be surprised at Richard Nixon being second, actually the author of this blog well recognizes his leadership on the environment, and has pointed it out when teaching students about recent American history.

This author also fully agrees on TR as first, and Jimmy Carter as certainly the best one term President on the environment, and when one realizes that he was succeeded by a President, Republican Ronald Reagan, often judged the absolute worst on the environment,, it makes him feel very depressed!

Also, since Republican George W. Bush is rated the second worst to Reagan, and worst by some observers, it makes one wish that Ralph Nader had not run as a Green Party candidate in 2000, and taking almost 100,000 votes away from Al Gore, who would certainly have been a great environmental President, and had a major role in making Bill Clinton, who had a terrible record on the environment in Arkansas, able to make the present list as one of the better environmental Presidents.

It is pleasing to see Barack Obama as high as fourth on this list, with the potential to be more accomplished in a second term, and the record of Mitt Romney in action and words makes one concerned that he might be President, as every indication is that he would not put the environment high on his list of priorities, were he to win the White House.

Also, however, it must be said that it seems to this author that other Presidents should be commended for their environmental interests, including:

John Quincy Adams, who first promoted the idea of a cabinet office, the Department of the Interior, in the 1820s, but created a year after his death, in 1849.

Rutherford B. Hayes, who appointed one of the best Interior Secretaries in history, Carl Schurz, who did what he could on the environment, in the late 1870s.

Woodrow Wilson, who made major advances on the subject, in the second decade of the 20th century.

Harry Truman, who promoted environmental advancements in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, who in the 1960s, promoted environmental concerns, with their Interior Secretary Stewart Udall, appointed by Kennedy but kept on and given support by Johnson.

Also, the record clearly shows that It was Republican Presidents such as William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and George H. W. Bush, who took steps to harm the environment, on a lesser scale than Reagan and the second Bush, but still damaging.

So, not suprisingly, Democrata have been better than Republicans on the environment, but with the major exceptions of Theodore Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Rutherford B. Hayes.