How Often Do Cabinet Members Become President?
the top job, including Thomas Jefferson. But how often has a member of the Cabinet subsequently been elected President? This question would have two very different answers depending upon when the question was posed. If you asked this question in 1840, the resounding answer would have been yes. Five of our first eight Presidents served first in the Cabinet. Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams and Martin Van Buren all served as Secretaries of State before becoming President. Monroe also served as Secretary of War. If you asked the question now, however, the answer would be quite different. The last Cabinet member who went on to become President was Herbert Hoover, who was Secretary of Commerce under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge. In fact, only three Presidents since 1841 first served in the Cabinet. Taken across all of history, the Cabinet post that most often served as a springboard to the Presidency was Secretary of State: six peo