What Does 'Secretary Of State' Mean?


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Lakshmipriya Nair Profile
Secretary of State is the executive head of the oldest department of the executive branch of government. He or she is in charge of all international and local affairs except for taxation. The president himself appoints the head of the Department of State. The Secretary of State is generally a member of the president's cabinet. He/she is assisted by an under-secretary of state and an under-secretary for political affairs.

He/she is the highest rank cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence. This title is British in origin. Formerly this post was thought to be as the stepping stone to the Presidency. Many former secretaries of State in United States went on become the Presidents of the country. They are Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren and James Buchanan. The Secretary of state is fourth in line to take over the Presidency after the Vice-president, Speaker and President pro tempore of the Senate.

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