|United States Secretary of War|
Flag of the Secretary of War
|United States Department of War|
|Reports to||President of the United States|
|Appointer||The President |
with Senate advice and consent
|Term length||No fixed term|
|Precursor||Secretary at War|
|First holder||Henry Knox|
|Final holder||Kenneth C. Royall|
|Succession|| Secretary of the Army |
Secretary of the Air Force
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States president's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War", had been appointed to serve 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 as Secretary of War.
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 in the line of succession to the presidency, after the Vice President of the United States, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate 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.
The office of Secretary at War was modelled upon Great Britain's Secretary at War, who was William Barrington, 2nd Viscount Barrington, at the time of the American Revolution. The office of Secretary at War was meant to replace both the commander-in-chief and the Board of War, and like the president of the board, the secretary wore no special insignia. The Inspector General, quartermaster general, Commissary General, and Adjutant General served on the Secretary's staff. However, the Army itself under Secretary Henry Knox only consisted of 700 men.
|No.||Portrait||Name||State of residence||Took office||Left office||Congress|
|1||Benjamin Lincoln||Massachusetts||March 1, 1781||November 2, 1783||Congress of the Confederation|
|2||Henry Knox||Massachusetts||March 8, 1785||September 12, 1789|
Federalist (4) Democratic-Republican (8) Democratic (14) Whig (5) Republican (25)
|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||January 2, 1795||December 10, 1795|
|3||James McHenry||Maryland||January 27, 1796||June 1, 1800|
|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 9, 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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
The Cabinet of the United States is part of the executive branch of the federal government of the United States. The members of the Cabinet are the vice president and the secretary of state and other heads of the federal executive departments, all of whom — if eligible — are in the presidential line of succession.
The secretary of defense (SecDef) is the leader and chief executive officer of the United States Department of Defense, the executive department of the Armed Forces of the U.S. The secretary of defense's position of command and authority over the U.S. military is second only to that of the president. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a defense minister in many other countries. The secretary of defense is appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate, and is by custom a member of the Cabinet and by law a member of the National Security Council.
The United States Attorney General (AG) is the head of the United States Department of Justice, the chief lawyer of the federal government of the United States, and a member of the Cabinet of the United States.
The United States Presidential Succession Act is a federal statute establishing the presidential line of succession. Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 of the United States Constitution authorizes Congress to enact such a statute:
Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.
The United States presidential line of succession is the order in which officials of the United States federal government assume the powers and duties of the office of president of the United States if the incumbent president becomes incapacitated, dies, resigns, or is removed from office. The order of succession specifies that the office passes to the vice president; if no vice president is available, the powers and duties pass to the speaker of the House of Representatives, president pro tempore of the Senate, and then Cabinet secretaries, depending on eligibility.
The United States order of precedence is an advisory document maintained by the Ceremonials Division of the Office of the Chief of Protocol of the United States which lists the ceremonial order, or relative preeminence, for domestic and foreign government officials at diplomatic, ceremonial, and social events within the United States and abroad. The list is used to mitigate miscommunication and embarrassment in diplomacy, and offer a distinct and concrete spectrum of preeminence for ceremonies. Often the document is used to advise diplomatic and ceremonial event planners on seating charts and order of introduction. Former presidents, vice presidents, first ladies, second ladies, and secretaries of state and retired Supreme Court justices are also included in the list.
The secretary of the Army is a senior civilian official within the Department of Defense of the United States with statutory responsibility for all matters relating to the United States Army: manpower, personnel, reserve affairs, installations, environmental issues, weapons systems and equipment acquisition, communications, and financial management.
The United States Department of War, also called the War Department, was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army, also bearing responsibility for naval affairs until the establishment of the Navy Department in 1798, and for most land-based air forces until the creation of the Department of the Air Force on September 18, 1947.
William Franklin Knox was an American politician, newspaper editor and publisher. He was also the Republican vice presidential candidate in 1936, and Secretary of the Navy under Franklin D. Roosevelt during most of World War II. On December 7th,1941, Knox flanked by his assistant John O’Keefe walked into Roosevelt’s White House study at approximately 1:30 PM EST announcing that Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor. Knox was mentioned by name in Adolf Hitler's speech of December 11, 1941, in which Hitler asked for a German declaration of war against the United States.
The United States presidential line of succession and the United States laws governing succession to the presidency have, on many occasions, been incorporated into the storyline by creators of fiction. Several novels, films, and television series have examined the presidential line of succession and speculated on how it might be implemented in unusual circumstances. The following are some examples of fictional portrayals of United States presidential succession:
The presidency of James Madison began on March 4, 1809, when James Madison was inaugurated as President of the United States, and ended on March 4, 1817. Madison, the fourth United States president, took office after defeating Federalist Charles Cotesworth Pinckney decisively in the 1808 presidential election. He was re-elected four years later, defeating DeWitt Clinton in the 1812 election. His presidency was dominated by the War of 1812 with Britain. Madison was succeeded by Secretary of State James Monroe, a fellow member of the Democratic-Republican Party.
The presidency of John Adams, began on March 4, 1797, when John Adams was inaugurated as the second President of the United States, and ended on March 4, 1801. Adams, who had served as vice president under George Washington, took office as president after winning the 1796 presidential election. The only member of the Federalist Party to ever serve as president, his presidency ended after a single term following his defeat in the 1800 presidential election. He was succeeded by Thomas Jefferson of the Democratic-Republican Party.
The presidency of George Washington began on April 30, 1789, when Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States, and ended on March 4, 1797. Washington took office after the 1788–89 presidential election, the nation's first quadrennial presidential election, in which he was elected unanimously. Washington was re-elected unanimously in the 1792 presidential election, and chose to retire after two terms. He was succeeded by his vice president, John Adams of the Federalist Party.
The impeachment of Andrew Johnson was initiated on February 24, 1868, when the United States House of Representatives resolved to impeach Andrew Johnson, the 17th president of the United States, for "high crimes and misdemeanors," which were detailed in 11 articles of impeachment. The primary charge against Johnson was that he had violated the Tenure of Office Act, passed by Congress in March 1867, over his veto. Specifically, he had removed from office Edwin M. Stanton, the secretary of war—whom the act was largely designed to protect—and attempted to replace him with Brevet Major General Lorenzo Thomas.
The Federalist Era in American history ran from 1788–1800, a time when the Federalist Party and its predecessors were dominant in American politics. During this period, Federalists generally controlled Congress and enjoyed the support of President George Washington and President John Adams. The era saw the creation of a new, stronger federal government under the United States Constitution, a deepening of support for nationalism, and diminished fears of tyranny by a central government. The era began with the ratification of the United States Constitution and ended with the Democratic-Republican Party's victory in the 1800 elections.
Superintendent of Finance of the United States was an executive office during the Confederation Period with power similar to a Finance minister. The only person to hold the office was Robert Morris, who served from 1781 to 1784, with the assistance of Gouverneur Morris.
David E. McGiffert was a United States lawyer and Pentagon official who dealt with domestic security during the social upheavals of the late 1960s.
The United States elections of 1788–89 were the first federal elections in the United States following the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1788. In the elections, George Washington was elected as the first president and the members of the 1st United States Congress were selected.