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United States Secretary of War

Secretary of War of the
United States of America
Former political post
Secretary of War flag
Predecessor Secretary at War
Successor Secretary of Defense
Secretary of the Army
Secretary of the Air Force
Style The Honorable
Appointer The President
with Senate advice and consent
Office began 1798
Office ended 1947

The Secretary of War was a member of the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation between 1781 and 1789. Benjamin Lincoln and later Henry Knox held the position. When Washington was inaugurated as the first president under the Constitution, he appointed Knox to continue serving.

The Secretary of War was the head of the War Department. At first, he was responsible for all military affairs, including naval affairs. In 1798, the Secretary of the Navy was created by statute, and the scope of responsibility for this office was reduced to the affairs of the United States Army. From 1886 onward, the Secretary of War was third in the line of succession to the presidency, after the Vice President of the United States and the Secretary of State.

In 1947, with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947, the Secretary of War was replaced by the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Air Force, which, along with the Secretary of the Navy, have since 1949 been non-Cabinet subordinates under the Secretary of Defense. The Secretary of the Army's office is generally considered the direct successor to the Secretary of War's office although the Secretary of Defense took the Secretary of War's position in the Cabinet, and the line of succession to the presidency.

Contents

  • List of Secretaries 1
    • Secretary at War (1781–1789) 1.1
    • Secretary of War (1789–1947) 1.2
  • See also 2
  • References 3
    • Footnotes 3.1
    • Further reading 3.2

List of Secretaries

Secretary at War (1781–1789)

The office of Secretary of War was modelled upon Great Britain's Secretary at War, who was William Barrington, 2nd Viscount Barrington, at the time of the American Revolution. By 1776, the position of the British Secretary at War was a sophisticated managerial role, but the duties in 1661 to 1666 of England's first Secretary at War, Sir William Clarke, were more basic ones of literally handling the secretarial duties of managing official correspondence, memoranda, military orders, and financial accounts.
No. Portrait Name State of residence Took office Left office Congress
1 Benjamin Lincoln Massachusetts 1781 1783 Congress of the Confederation
2 Henry Knox Massachusetts March 8, 1785 September 12, 1789

Secretary of War (1789–1947)

Swearing in of Dwight F. Davis as Secretary of War in 1925. Former Secretaries John W. Weeks and Chief Justice William Howard Taft are standing beside him.
Parties

      No party       Federalist       Democratic-Republican       Democratic       Whig

      Republican
No. Portrait Name State of residence Took office Left office President(s)
1 Henry Knox Massachusetts September 12, 1789 December 31, 1794 George Washington
2 Timothy Pickering Pennsylvania[1] January 2, 1795 December 10, 1795
3 James McHenry Maryland January 27, 1796 June 1, 1800[2]
John Adams
4 Samuel Dexter Massachusetts June 1, 1800 January 31, 1801
5 Henry Dearborn Massachusetts March 5, 1801 March 4, 1809 Thomas Jefferson
6 William Eustis Massachusetts March 7, 1809 January 13, 1813 James Madison
7 John Armstrong, Jr. New York January 13, 1813 September 27, 1814
8 James Monroe Virginia September 27, 1814 March 2, 1815
9 William H. Crawford Georgia August 1, 1815 October 22, 1816
10 John C. Calhoun South Carolina October 8, 1817 March 4, 1825 James Monroe
11 James Barbour Virginia March 7, 1825 May 23, 1828 John Quincy Adams
12 Peter Buell Porter New York May 23, 1828 March 4, 1829
13 John H. Eaton Tennessee March 9, 1829 June 18, 1831 Andrew Jackson
14 Lewis Cass Ohio August 1, 1831 October 5, 1836
15 Joel Roberts Poinsett South Carolina March 7, 1837 March 4, 1841 Martin Van Buren
16 John Bell Tennessee March 5, 1841 September 13, 1841 William Henry Harrison
John Tyler
17 John Canfield Spencer New York October 12, 1841 March 4, 1843
18 James Madison Porter Pennsylvania March 8, 1843 February 14, 1844
19 William Wilkins Pennsylvania February 15, 1844 March 4, 1845
20 William Learned Marcy New York March 6, 1845 March 4, 1849 James K. Polk
21 George W. Crawford Georgia March 8, 1849 July 22, 1850 Zachary Taylor
22 Charles Magill Conrad Louisiana August 15, 1850 March 4, 1853 Millard Fillmore
23 Jefferson Davis Mississippi March 7, 1853 March 4, 1857 Franklin Pierce
24 John B. Floyd Virginia March 6, 1857 December 29, 1860 James Buchanan
25 Joseph Holt Kentucky January 18, 1861 March 4, 1861
26 Simon Cameron Pennsylvania March 5, 1861 January 14, 1862 Abraham Lincoln
27 Edwin M. Stanton Pennsylvania January 20, 1862 May 28, 1868
Andrew Johnson
28 John McAllister Schofield Illinois June 1, 1868 March 13, 1869
29 John Aaron Rawlins Illinois March 13, 1869 September 6, 1869 Ulysses S. Grant
30 William W. Belknap Iowa October 25, 1869 March 2, 1876
31 Alphonso Taft Ohio March 8, 1876 May 22, 1876
32 J. Donald Cameron Pennsylvania May 22, 1876 March 4, 1877
33 George W. McCrary Iowa March 12, 1877 December 10, 1879 Rutherford B. Hayes
34 Alexander Ramsey Minnesota December 10, 1879 March 4, 1881
35 Robert Todd Lincoln Illinois March 5, 1881 March 4, 1885 James A. Garfield
Chester A. Arthur
36 William Crowninshield Endicott Massachusetts March 5, 1885 March 4, 1889 Grover Cleveland
37 Redfield Proctor Vermont March 5, 1889 November 5, 1891 Benjamin Harrison
38 Stephen Benton Elkins West Virginia December 17, 1891 March 4, 1893
39 Daniel S. Lamont New York March 5, 1893 March 4, 1897 Grover Cleveland
40 Russell A. Alger Michigan March 5, 1897 August 1, 1899 William McKinley
41 Elihu Root New York August 1, 1899 January 31, 1904
Theodore Roosevelt
42 William Howard Taft Ohio February 1, 1904 June 30, 1908
43 Luke Edward Wright Tennessee July 1, 1908 March 4, 1909
44 Jacob M. Dickinson Tennessee March 12, 1909 May 21, 1911 William Howard Taft
45 Henry L. Stimson New York May 22, 1911 March 4, 1913
46 Lindley Miller Garrison New Jersey March 5, 1913 February 10, 1916 Woodrow Wilson
47 Newton D. Baker Ohio March 9, 1916 March 4, 1921
48 John W. Weeks Massachusetts March 5, 1921 October 13, 1925 Warren G. Harding
Calvin Coolidge
49 Dwight F. Davis Missouri October 14, 1925 March 4, 1929
50 James William Good Illinois March 6, 1929 November 18, 1929 Herbert Hoover
51 Patrick J. Hurley Oklahoma December 9, 1929 March 4, 1933
52 George Dern Utah March 4, 1933 August 27, 1936 Franklin D. Roosevelt
53 Harry Hines Woodring Kansas September 25, 1936 June 20, 1940
54 Henry L. Stimson New York July 10, 1940 September 21, 1945
Harry S. Truman
55 Robert P. Patterson New York September 27, 1945 July 18, 1947
56 Kenneth C. Royall North Carolina July 19, 1947 September 18, 1947

See also

References

Footnotes

  1. ^ http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?hlaw:7:./temp/~ammem_WqlO::
  2. ^ "Papers of the War Department". Wardepartmentpapers.org. Retrieved 2012-05-15. 

Further reading

  • Bell, William Gardner (2005). Commanding Generals and Chiefs of Staff 1775-2005: Portraits and Biographical Sketches. Washington, D.C.:  
  • Grossman, Mark (2010). Encyclopedia of the United States Cabinet 1789-2010. Armenia, New York: Greyhouse Publishing. 
  • King, Archibald (1960) [1949]. Command of the Army. Military Affairs. Charlottesville, Virginia:  
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