The New International Encyclopædia/State, Department of
STATE, Department of. One of the nine executive departments of the Government of the United States, presided over by a Secretary who is a member of the Cabinet and first in the line of succession to the Presidency after the Vice-President. In rank the Department of State stands first among the other departments and is also the oldest in point of origin. It was in fact the logical successor of the old Department of Foreign Affairs created in 1781 and presided over first by Robert R. Livingston and afterwards by John Jay. The Department of State is the organ of communication between the Government of the United States and all foreign governments, as well as with the Governors of the individual States. The Secretary of State conducts all such correspondence; has charge of the negotiation of all treaties and conventions; he preserves the originals of all treaties, public documents, and correspondence with foreign governments as well as of the laws of the United States; he publishes all statutes and resolutions of Congress and proclamations of the President; he is the custodian of the great seal which is affixed to all commissions of appointment requiring the consent of the Senate, proclamations, warrants for extradition, pardons, etc., emanating from the President; he issues and keeps a record of passports granted to American citizens traveling abroad; issues warrants for the extradition of criminals to be delivered to foreign governments; presents foreign ministers to the President; etc. He makes an annual report of the conduct of foreign affairs for the year, publishes the consular reports and the ‘foreign relations’ of the United States, and performs such other duties relative to the conduct of foreign affairs as the President may direct.
To aid the Secretary of State, an Assistant Secretary was provided for in 1853; in 1866 a second assistant was created, and in 1874 a third, each charged with the supervision of a particular branch of the department. The business of the department is distributed among seven bureaus, namely, a diplomatic bureau, a consular bureau, a bureau of indexes and archives, a bureau of accounts, a bureau of rolls and library, a bureau of foreign commerce, created in 1897 (formerly the bureau of statistics), and a bureau of appointments, created in 1898. The name of each bureau indicates broadly the nature of the business assigned to it. Besides the Secretary and the three assistant secretaries there is a solicitor, detailed from the Department of Justice, an assistant solicitor, created in 1900, seven chiefs of bureaus, two translators, sixty-three clerks, and a number of messengers, making a total force of about one hundred employees.
The following is a list of the Secretaries of State from the organization of the department in 1789 to the present, with the dates of their appointment: Thomas Jefferson, September, 1789; Edmund Randolph, January, 1794; Timothy Pickering, December, 1795; John Marshall, Mav, 1800; James Madison, March, 1801; Robert Smith, March, 1809; James Monroe, April, 1811; John Q. Adams, March, 1817; Henry Clay, March, 1825; Martin Van Buren, March, 1829; Edward Livingston, May, 1831; Louis McLane, May, 1833; John Forsyth, June, 1834; Daniel Webster, March, 1841; Hugh S. Legaré, May, 1843; Abel F. Upshur, July, 1843; John Nelson, February, 1844; John C. Calhoun, March, 1844; James Buchanan, March, 1845; John M. Clayton, March, 1849; Daniel Webster, July, 1850; Edward Everett, November, 1852; William L. Marcy, March, 1853; Lewis Cass, March, 1857; Jeremiah S. Black, December, 1860; William H. Seward, March, 1861; Elihu B. Washburne, March, 1869; Hamilton Fish, March, 1869; William M. Evarts, March, 1877; James G. Blaine, March, 1881; Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, December, 1881; Thomas F. Bayard, March, 1885; James G. Blaine, March, 1889; John W. Foster, June, 1892; Walter Q. Gresham, March, 1893; Richard Olney, June, 1895; John Sherman, March, 1897; William R. Day, April 1898; John Hay, September, 1898. Consult: History of the Department of State (Washington, 1901); Schuyler, American Diplomacy (New York, 1886).