Posts Tagged Harry Truman
President Barack Obama has been President for more than four years, and is in the crucial first year of his second and last term in the White House.
The time for applause over his second term victory is over, and he must face the facts that his administration is in crisis, caused by his own lack of outfront leadership over what goes on during his watch in the Oval Office!
The Benghazi matter is being politicized, but more needs to be revealed about that tragedy, and no coverup is going to work, although it seems clear there is no “smoking gun” on that issue.
The confusion over the IRS checking out conservative and Tea Party groups is reprehensible, and it must be made clear who was involved, people appointed by the President, or civil service bureaucrats who have gone way beyond their authority, and abused their positions. Heads must roll, and if it is the bureaucracy, then the whole agency must be cleaned up of those who have broken the law, and prosecutions must follow quickly!
The Associated Press matter, if related to national security matters, must also be revealed in total, as media should never be interfered with by the Justice Department, and a full investigation must be pursued, with Attorney General Eric Holder properly recusing himself in this matter.
The point is, that despite Republicans gleefully jumping on these controversies, it is yet possible that nothing that Obama could have done would have been able to prevent these controversies, but he MUST be proactive, not laid back and withdrawn, which has too often been his mode of operation in his first term.
Obama is in danger of ending up like other second term Presidencies, in the midst of scandals which undermine their legacy, no matter how good those legacies might be.
Progressives do not want Obama to end up in the troubled historical legacy of such predecessors as:
Ulysses S. Grant–Credit Mobilier Scandals
Harry Truman–several minor scandals
Dwight D. Eisenhower—Sherman Adams Scandal
Richard Nixon–Watergate Scandal
Ronald Reagan–Iran Contra Scandal
Bill Clinton–Monica Lewinksy–Paul Jones Scandals
George W. Bush—Scooter Libby Scandal
The only way to avoid this fate is PROMPT, ASSERTIVE, PROACTIVE leadership by our 44th President, who has done so much good, and should not allow his enemies to destroy him by a policy of passivity, and leading from behind!
Former George W. Bush “brain” Karl Rove is totally delusional, as yesterday, he declared on Fox News Channel that George W. Bush belonged with the “greats” among the Presidency, including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan!
This is the same man who failed to elect most of the Republicans that he supported through his campaign organization, wasting hundreds of millions of dollars from wealthy patrons who believed he knew who to back and could win seats in Congress.
This is the same man who said on Election night that Mitt Romney was going to win, and denied the obvious Barack Obama victory when it was already happening!
Bush will make the list of Presidents as one of the FAILURES of the Presidency, in the company of James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Warren G. Harding, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin Pierce.
Rove has conveniently forgotten Theodore Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Thomas Jefferson, Lyndon B. Johnson, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy, all of whom rank better than Ronald Reagan, who might be number 11, but not in the top ten of all Presidents!
And Bill Clinton may eventually rank above Reagan as well, and Barack Obama might also make the top ten to twelve list, when he has left the Presidency, and passions have cooled down!
A very important measurement of Presidential leadership is to evaluate their interest in the advancement of science, and their willingness to support scientific research as a major part of their administrative goals.
Sadly, many Presidents have shown a lack of interest in the advancement of science, and presently, we have a group of KNOW NOTHINGS in the Republican Party who would rather promote religion in government, and deny evolution and global warming, and are generally antagonistic to any suggestion of the advancement of science, such as Barack Obama newly suggesting an investment through the National Institutes of Health to fund $100 million to work on the mapping of the human brain, which could lead to research and advancement in the study of mental illness, and such other major problems as Alzheimers Disease and Parkinson Disease. But in the Sequester environment we are now in, and the push for austerity by the GOP, it will be difficult for the vision of the study of the brain to be understood as a worthwhile and significant investment!
In any case, the Presidents who can be seen as having advanced science include the following,
Thomas Jefferson–arguably the most science oriented of all Presidents, a true genius and intellectual, who sponsored the Lewis and Clark Expedition for its scientific value, as well as the exploration of a large part of the American continent.
John Quincy Adams—a promoter of federal support of the arts and sciences, and helped to promote astronomical studies, and helped to form the Smithsonian Institution, for which he laid the cornerstone in 1846, as well as the US Naval Observatory.
Abraham Lincoln—-promoted the scientific study of agriculture, and signed legislation establishing the National Academy of Sciences.
James A. Garfield—tragically killed early in his term, but a promoter of mathematical studies, devising a mathematical proof of the Pythagorean Theorem, and promoted funding for agricultural research. Garfield was a great intellectual, and in many ways, was a tragic loss of a President whose potential for greatness was lost so quickly!
Theodore Roosevelt—was a great promoter of nature and conservation of natural resources, quadrupling our national parks and national forest lands. He also set up the US Forestry Service, and went on a dangerous trip to map the Amazon River Basin and discover new species of animal and plant life.
Herbert Hoover—a brilliant mining engineer, and elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences, and a great intellectual, who was sadly a disaster in the White House, despite his credentials.
Franklin D. Roosevelt—managed the challenge of the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression, in his promotion of forest conservation, watersheds, and agriculture, and also worked with Albert Einstein and others in development of the atomic bomb to help win World War II.
Harry Truman—signed legislation setting up the National Science Foundation, and saw the need for greater funding of scientific research.
Dwight D. Eisenhower—promoted the beginning of the space program and the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in response to the Russian putting of Sputnik I in space in 1957.
John F. Kennedy—promoted the space program goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s, and was a great promoter of science in other ways as well.
Lyndon B. Johnson—promoted the completion of the moon landing, and encouraged more students to go into science through federal fellowships and grants.
Jimmy Carter—received a Bachelor of Science degree with specialty in nuclear physics from the US Naval Academy, and promoted energy conservation research, with creation of the Energy Department in the cabinet, and signed legislation for the original funding of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Ronald Reagan—promoted the Space Shuttle and a space station, and although flawed, wanted to encourage a system to stop nuclear attack, known as the Strategic Defense Initiative.
Bill Clinton—promoted the Human Genome Project and the International Space Station as important for the advancement of science.
Barack Obama—is now promoting human brain research, and has called for action against global warming, and the importance of the study of evolution in science classes.
The month of April is a particularly historic month in America’s past in so many ways, with 20 significant events listed below.
April 2, 1917—President Woodrow Wilson asks the Congress for a declaration of war against Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Turks.
April 4, 1968—The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
April 6, 1917—Congress votes for entrance into World War I against Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Turks.
April 9, 1865—General Robert E. Lee surrenders to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia, marking the official end of the Civil War.
April 12, 1861—The Civil War begins, with the South Carolina attack on the federal military fort, Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.
April 12, 1945—President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Georgia, and Harry Truman becomes President.
April 13, 1743—President Thomas Jefferson is born in Virginia.
April 14, 1865—President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC, dying the next morning at 722 AM
April 17, 1961—A failed attempt to overthrow Cuban leader Fidel Castro failed, coming to be known as the Bay of Pigs fiasco, and helped to lead to the later Cuban Missile Crisis, the greatest challenge faced by President John F. Kennedy.
April 18, 1775—The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, inspiring the first armed uprising against British oppression, occurred.
April 18, 1906—The highly destructive San Francisco Earthquake occurred, destroying much of the city, and killing 4,000 people.
April 19, 1775—The American Revolution began, with the Battle of Lexington and Concord outside Boston, Massachusetts.
April 19, 1993—The Waco, Texas tragedy of the death of 82 people in the Branch Davidian religious compound, consumed by fire, after an intervention by armored vehicles and federal agents occurred, inspiring conspiracy theories which led to the event below.
April 19, 1995—The worst domestic terrorist act in American history occurred, when Timothy McVeigh blew up the Oklahoma City Federal Building, killing 168 people and wounding about a thousand others.
April 20, 1914—The Ludlow Massacre of miners by company hired National Guardsmen, killing 19 people, occurred in Colorado over a desire for recognition of the United Mine Workers for the coal miners.
April 20, 1999—The Columbine Massacre in Littleton, Colorado, led to the worst mass shooting of students and teachers in public schools until the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut.
April 21, 1836— The Battle of San Jacinto near Houston, Texas, led to the victory of Texans led by Sam Houston over the Mexican army of General Santa Anna, leading to Texas Independence.
April 22, 1994—President Richard Nixon dies at the age of 81.
April 24, 1800—The national library of America, the Library of Congress, is established in Washington, DC.
April 30, 1789—George Washington is inaugurated as the first American President at Federal Hall in Lower Manhattan.
Three American Presidents in the last hundred years have been faced by foreign crises leading to war, and disrupting their domestic intentions for their second term of office. All three hoped to accomplish much more internally, but were distracted and diverted by major wars they could not avoid.
Woodrow Wilson had accomplished the most domestic reform in American history of any President until his time, but then World War I intruded, and his second term was dominated by the war and its aftermath.
Franklin D. Roosevelt had surpassed Woodrow Wilson in domestic accomplishments in his first term with his New Deal, but his second term became one of growing concern over the threat of the Japanese Empire to our territories (Hawaii, Guam, The Philippines) in the Pacific, plus the growing threat of Fascism and Nazism represented by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany in Europe—leading to concern of its effect on our traditional European friends if not formal allies, Great Britain and France. Although America would not enter World War II until FDR’s third term, the threat of war was ever present, and divided this nation in a massive way between internationalists and isolationists.
Harry Truman had a much more difficult time domestically, and had to deal with the Cold War with the Soviet Union, but hoped to promote a Fair Deal in his second term, but instead had to deal with the Korean War.
Now, Barack Obama faces the growing threat of real war with two nations who have lunatic leadership, and are capable of provoking major wars, emboldened by their nuclear intentions—Iran and North Korea.
Iran moves ahead on nuclear development, unaffected by the major nations bringing pressure and economic sanctions on them, and still seen as potentially able to threaten the survival of Israel, and cause a major cut off of oil in the Straits of Hormuz. While President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is leaving in June, it is clear that the Ayatollah Khamenei and the extremist Shiite Muslim leadership really dictates policy, and that anything is possible, including war.
North Korea, under its new young (30) leader, Kim Jong Un, has now declared that the truce agreement which ended the Korean War sixty years ago is null and void; has been testing nuclear weapons against international outcry, including China; and has threatened this past week that it might launch a pre-emptive nuclear attack on South Korea and the United States. This all seems bluster, but who can say for sure?
So our need as a nation to face the possibility of war with two international outlaws makes the whole budget issue much more complex, and makes the odds of more domestic reform activities all the harder to accomplish.
Much like Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry Truman, Barack Obama may face being a war President against his will, and his Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will be sorely tested over the next four years in their hope to avoid a war, just as we are trying to exit a war in Afghanistan, after having done just that in Iraq!
When one looks at the relationships between Presidents and Vice Presidents historically, it is clear that most Presidents look at their Vice Presidents and see their own mortality; often see the Vice President as a rival; often have disdain for the Vice President; and often do not support the Vice President in his Presidential ambitions to follow the President in office.
Examples of the above abound:
George Washington ignored John Adams, and Adams lamented that he was in an office that had no influence or respect.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were at constant odds, being of different political parties, and elected together by the early quirks of the Electoral College, later resolved by the 12th Amendment to the Constitution in 1804.
Thomas Jefferson literally refused to recognize Aaron Burr, after Burr tried to steal the Presidency from him in 1800, with Burr’s contention that he and Jefferson had ended up in a “tie” vote in the Electoral College, forcing Alexander Hamilton, a rival of both Jefferson and Burr to intervene and call for support of Jefferson, which led to the gun duel between Hamilton and Burr in 1804, and Hamilton’s tragic death.
John Quincy Adams discovered that John C. Calhoun was undermining him, and Calhoun switched sides and ran with Andrew Jackson in 1828.
However, Jackson and Calhoun became bitter rivals, and the Nullification Crisis over the protective tariff, with Calhoun enunciating the doctrine of states rights, nullification, interposition, and secession almost led to civil war, prevented by the intervention of Henry Clay, but only after Jackson threatened to hang Calhoun, a threat that could not be ignored, since Jackson had killed several opponents in gun duels.
Abraham Lincoln hardly dealt with his first term Vice President, Hannibal Hamlin, and then “dumped” him, for Andrew Johnson, someone he hardly knew.
When Theodore Roosevelt decided not to run for another term in 1908, he ignored his own Vice President, Charles Fairbanks, and backed his Secretary of War, William Howard Taft.
Woodrow Wilson gave little concern to the role of his Vice President, Thomas Marshall, and when Wilson suffered a stroke in 1919, he did not intervene to prevent his wife from preventing Marshall from visiting him, and ascertaining the state of his health, or allow him to take over Presidential authority.
Franklin D. Roosevelt ignored his three Vice Presidents—John Nance Garner, Henry A. Wallace, and Harry Truman. This led Garner to say the Vice Presidency was not worth a pitcher of “warm spit”. Wallace was allowed to “hang in the wind” over his public statements on civil rights, and be “dumped” on the demand of Southern Democrats in 1944. Harry Truman was not informed of anything, including the atomic bomb project, in his brief Vice Presidency.
Dwight D. Eisenhower had a strong dislike for his Vice President, Richard Nixon, as shown by his original plan to “dump” Nixon in 1956; his lukewarm support of Nixon in 1960; and his having problems remembering Nixon as a potential future nominee in 1964. At the end, however, Ike witnessed his grandson, David, marry Nixon’s younger daughter, Julie, and was supportive of Nixon in his last year of life, the first year of the Nixon Presidency.
John F. Kennedy failed to use the talents of Lyndon B. Johnson, his Vice President, to a great extent due to the hatred of his brother, Robert Kennedy, for LBJ. Robert Kennedy went out of his way to embarrass and humiliate Johnson in every way possible.
Johnson abused his Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, once he realized that Humphrey was critical of his Vietnam War policies. He threatened to leave Humphrey out of his cabinet meetings, and forced him to speak up for the war, which undermined Humphrey’s own Presidential campaign in 1968. And secretly, because Humphrey started to veer from support of the administration policies late in the campaign, Johnson hoped for a victory of Richard Nixon.
Richard Nixon utilized his Vice President, Spiro Agnew for political gain, but showed little respect for him, and let him “hang in the wind” when Agnew was forced out of the Vice Presidency in 1973. And Nixon picked Gerald Ford as his successor Vice President under the 25th Amendment, thinking that this insured that Nixon would not be impeached and be removed from office.
Gerald Ford had a strong respect for Nelson Rockefeller, who he selected as his Vice President, but yet “dumped” him for Bob Dole in the 1976 Presidential race.
Ronald Reagan was never close to George H. W. Bush, who had been his chief rival for the 1980 Presidential nomination, and never invited the Bushes to a private dinner at the White House, although he utilized Bush’s expertise in foreign policy and intelligence, as Bush had been head of the CIA.
Bush did not care for Dan Quayle very much, and considered “dumping” him in 1992 over Quayle’s embarrassing flubs. Quayle was given less involvement in the administration than his recent predecessors, and when he tried for the Presidential nomination in 1996, Bush did not back him in any way.
Bill Clinton was closer to Al Gore, but their friendship and collaboration suffered greatly during the scandal over Monica Lewinsky, and the pursuant impeachment trial. Gore decided not to ask Clinton, who remained popular, to work for him in the last days of the 2000 Presidential campaign. After his defeat, there were recriminations between Gore and Clinton over who had been responsible for Gore’s defeat.
George W. Bush relied on his Vice President, Dick Cheney, a lot in the first term, but became estranged from Cheney in the second term over the Scooter Libby scandal and in other ways, as Bush asserted himself much more, making clear he did not need Cheney as much as in the first term.
With all of the above examples of estrangement, or lack of closeness of Presidents with their Vice Presidents, there are two shining examples of very close, warm relationships between two Presidents and their Vice Presidents.
These would be Jimmy Carter with Walter Mondale, and Barack Obama with Joe Biden.
Carter and Mondale were the closest team in American history, with Carter allowing Mondale to share just about every decision in a way no Vice President, before or since, was able to do, and they remained close personal friends, for what is now the all time record of 32 PLUS years out of the Presidency, the longest lasting team in American history, with Carter now 88 plus and Mondale just passing 85, and both still in good health. No sense of any rift has ever existed between the two men, and their relationship was the smoothest ever, a lot of it due to Carter’s lack of insecurity about his Vice President, a testimonial to the former President!
Also, every indication is that Obama and Biden have as close a relationship, but with Biden nearly a generation older, while Carter and Mondale are less than four years apart in age. It seems as if there might be some issues between Obama and Biden, but that will have to be left to the future to find out. Also, a question arises as to how Obama will handle a possible competition for the next Presidential nomination between Biden and Hillary Clinton, both of whom have been crucial to his Presidency’s success so far.
So the Presidential-Vice Presidential relationships have been almost always far from warm and close, with only the two exceptions mentioned above.
This would be an excellent topic for a future scholarly study!
With Presidents Day coming up on Monday, this is a good time to assess the Presidents who were transformative in diplomacy and foreign affairs.
The Presidents who truly made a difference in foreign policy would include the following, chronologically:
Thomas Jefferson—who presided over the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 negotiated with France, and the handling of the Chesapeake Affair of 1807, avoiding war with Great Britain, but causing decline in public opinion about Jefferson as he left office, due to the economic decline caused by the Embargo Act.
James Monroe—who, with the brilliant leadership of Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, was able to gain control of Florida in 1819, settle much of the Canadian boundary in the same time frame, and promote the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, a major part of American foreign policy in the future.
James K. Polk—under whom the Pacific Northwest was gained by negotiation with Great Britain, and the American Southwest and California by war with Mexico between 1846 and 1848.
William McKinley—under whom Hawaii was added as a territory, and America gained an “Empire” by engagement in the Spanish American War in 1898.
Theodore Roosevelt—under whom America fully engaged with the outside world, including foreign crises and wars in Europe and Asia, as well as growing intervention in Latin America between 1901-1909.
Woodrow Wilson—under whom America fully entered into international war involvement in the First World War in 1917, and then rejected internationalism as Wilson left office in 1921.
Franklin D. Roosevelt—who took America out of isolationism in the late 1930s, and presided over our involvement in World War II between 1941-1945, and the growth of America as a super power by 1945.
Harry Truman—who led us into the Cold War with the Soviet Union after 1945, with transitional foreign policy leadership that set the mold for the next half century until 1991.
Richard Nixon—who moved America toward detente with the Cold War enemy, the Soviet Union, and opened up to mainland China between 1969 and 1974.
George H. W, Bush—who smoothed the end of the Cold War, was receptive to a unified Germany as a result, and created a coalition to prevent Iraqi domination in the Middle East in the Persian Gulf War of 1991.
Other Presidents who had an impact on diplomacy and foreign affairs in a major, if not transformative manner, would include:
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
George W. Bush
Sadly, Lyndon B, Johnson and George W. Bush were mostly negative forces in foreign affairs; Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan were mixed in their results; while George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and John F. Kennedy were much more positive.
A common theme in American history is the “crossing of the aisle”, the bipartisanship encouraged by just about every American President, and the utilizing of leaders of the opposition party to help make his administration successful.
Franklin D. Roosevelt had Henry Stimson as his Secretary of War from 1940-45, with Stimson having served as Secretary of State under Herbert Hoover. He also had Frank Knox as Secretary of the Navy from 1940-1944, who had been the Republican Vice Presidential nominee in 1936.
Harry Truman had Warren Austin as his United Nations Ambassador from 1947 to 1953.
Dwight D. Eisenhower had Robert Anderson in various roles, as Secretary of the Navy, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of the Treasury, during his eight years in office from 1953 to 1961.
John F. Kennedy had Robert McNamara as his Secretary of Defense and D. Douglas Dillon as his Secretary of the Treasury and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (who he had defeated for the Senate in 1952, as his Ambassador to South Vietnam.
Lyndon B. Johnson kept on McNamara, Dillon and Lodge as close advisers in his administration, after he succeeded to the Presidency upon Kennedy’s death.
Richard Nixon had Sargent Shriver as Ambassador to France, John Connally as Secretary of the Treasury, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan as Ambassador to India.
Gerald Ford had Moynihan stay on as Ambassador to India, and then as Ambassador to the United Nations.
Jimmy Carter had James Schlesinger as Secretary of Energy, and Lawrence Eagleburger as Ambassador to Yugoslavia.
Ronald Reagan has Mike Mansfield at Ambassador to Japan, Jeane Kirkpatrick as Ambassador to the United Nations, William Bennett as Secretary of Education, and Paul Volcker as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
George H. W. Bush had Richard Stone as Ambassador to Denmark, and Robert Strauss as Ambassador to the Soviet Union.
Bill Clinton had Alan Greenspan as Chairman of the Federal Reserve and William Cohen as Secretary of Defense.
George W. Bush had Norman Mineta as Secretary of Transportation.
And Barack Obama has had Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, Ray LaHood as Secretary of Transportation, Jon Huntsman as Ambassador to China, John McHugh as Secretary of the Army, Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and now has pending the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense.
Notice that Obama has had more members of the opposition party in his administration than any President!
As John Kerry Becomes Secretary Of State, An Assessment Of The Most Influential Secretaries Of State In American History
With Hillary Clinton leaving the State Department, and John Kerry becoming the 68th Secretary of State, it is a good time to assess who are the most influential Secretaries of State we have had in American history.
Notice I say “most influential”, rather than “best”, as that is a better way to judge diplomatic leadership in the State Department.
Without ranking them, which is very difficult, we will examine the Secretaries of State who have had the greatest impact, in chronological order:
Thomas Jefferson (1789-1793) under President George Washington—set the standard for the department, and was probably the most brilliant man ever to head the State Department.
John Quincy Adams (1825-1829) under President James Monroe—brought about the Monroe Doctrine, treaties with Canada, and the acquisition of Florida.
William H. Seward (1861-1869) under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson—brought about the neutrality of Great Britain and France in the Civil War, and purchased Alaska from Czarist Russia, a fortunate development.
Hamilton Fish (1869-1877) under President Ulysses S. Grant—involved in many diplomatic issues in Latin America, had America become more engaged in Hawaii, and settled differences with Great Britain, and often considered the major bright spot in the tragic Grant Presidency.
James G. Blaine (1881, 1889-1892) under Presidents James A. Garfield and Chester Alan Arthur briefly, and full term under President Benjamin Harrison—helped to bring about eventual takeover of Hawaii, and promoted the concept of a canal in Central America.
John Hay (1898-1905) under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt—-involved in the issues after the Spanish American War, including involvement in the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam, and a major influence over TR’s diplomatic initiatives in his first term.
Elihu Root (1905-1909) under President Theodore Roosevelt—-a great influence in TR’s growing involvement in world affairs in his second term in office.
Robert Lansing (1915-1920) under President Woodrow Wilson—a major player in American entrance in World War I and at the Versailles Peace Conference.
Charles Evan Hughes (1921-1925) under Presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge—-had major role in Washington Naval Agreements in 1922.
Henry Stimson (1929-1933) under President Herbert Hoover—-was a major critic of Japanese expansion, as expressed in the Stimson Doctrine of 1932.
Cordell Hull (1933-1944) under President Franklin D. Roosevelt—-was the longest lasting Secretary of State, nearly the whole term of FDR, and very much involved in all of the President’s foreign policy decisions.
Dean Acheson (1949-1953) under President Harry Truman—-involved in the major decisions of the early Cold War, including the Korean War intervention.
John Foster Dulles (1953-1959) under President Dwight D. Eisenhower—had controversial views on Cold War policy with the Soviet Union, including “massive retaliation”.
Dean Rusk (1961-1969) under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson—highly controversial advocate of the Vietnam War escalation, but served under the complete terms of two Presidents, and never backed away from his views on the Cold War.
Henry Kissinger (1973-1977) under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford—-easily one of the most influential figures in the shaping of foreign policy in American history, earlier having served as National Security Adviser.
George Shultz, (1982-1989) under President Ronald Reagan—-very close adviser to the President on his major foreign policy initiatives.
James Baker (1989-1992) under President George H. W. Bush—very significant in Persian Gulf War and end of Cold War policies.
Madeleine Albright (1997-2001) under President Bill Clinton—-first woman Secretary of State and played major role in many issues that arose.
Colin Powell (2001-2005) under President George W. Bush—-involved in the justification of the Iraq War based on Weapons of Mass Destruction, which undermined his reputation because of the lack of evidence on WMDs.
Condoleezza Rice (2005-2009) under President George W. Bush—second woman Secretary of State and intimately involved in policy making.
Hillary Clinton (2009-2013) under President Barack Obama—third woman Secretary of State, and hailed by most as a major contributor to Obama’s foreign policy initiatives.
This is a list of 21 out of the 68 Secretaries of State, but also there are 15 other Secretaries of State who were influential historical figures, including:
Martin Van Buren
John C. Calhoun
William Jennings Bryan
So a total of 36 out of 68 Secretaries of State have been major figures in American history, and contributed to the diplomatic development of the United States in world affairs!