In 1775 the War Department, the precursor to the Department of Defense, was originally established by the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation during the Revolutionary War.  Benjamin Lincoln was the initial Secretary of War serving from 1781-1783.

During George Washington’s administration, the Secretary of War became a member of his Cabinet and was responsible for all military matters.  Washington’s first Secretary of War was Henry Knox.  A total of fifty-six individuals served as Secretary of War from 1789-1947.  At this time the Secretary of War was third in line of succession to the presidency.

The National Security Act of 1947 changed the previous structure, creating the Secretary of Defense, who now oversees all of the military departments and services, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Inspector General and other departments.  The first Secretary of Defense was James V. Forrestal, who served from 1947-1949.

James Monroe US Secretary of War history mug.
08- Secretary of War James Monroe

The James Monroe mug is part of a biographical series profiling individuals who served as the U.S. Secretary of War.  An image of James Monroe and a short biography are features of this history mug.

Small Mug, 11 oz.

Large Mug, 15 oz.

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John C. Calhoun US Secretary of War history mug.
10- Secretary of War John C. Calhoun

The John C. Calhoun mug is part of a biographical series profiling individuals who served as the U.S. Secretary of War.  An image of John C. Calhoun and a short biography are features of this history mug.

Small Mug, 11 oz.

Large Mug, 15 oz.

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Jefferson Davis US Secretary of War history mug.
23- Secretary of War Jefferson Davis

The Jefferson Davis mug is part of a biographical series profiling individuals who served as the U.S. Secretary of War.  An image of Jefferson Davis and a short biography are features of this history mug.

Small Mug, 11 oz.

Large Mug, 15 oz.

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Simon Cameron US Secretary of War history mug.
26- Secretary of War Simon Cameron

The Simon Cameron mug is part of a biographical series profiling individuals who served as the U.S. Secretary of War.  An image of Simon Cameron and a short biography are features of this history mug.

Small Mug, 11 oz.

Large Mug, 15 oz.

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Edwin Stanton US Secretary of War history mug.
27- Secretary of War Edwin Stanton

The Edwin Stanton mug is part of a biographical series profiling individuals who served as the U.S. Secretary of War.  An image of Edwin Stanton and a short biography are features of this history mug.

Small Mug, 11 oz.

Large Mug, 15 oz.

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Robert Todd Lincoln US Secretary of War history mug.
35- Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln

The Robert Todd Lincoln mug is part of a biographical series profiling individuals who served as the U.S. Secretary of War.  An image of Robert Todd Lincoln and a short biography are features of this history mug.

Small Mug, 11 oz.

Large Mug, 15 oz.

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William Howard Taft US Secretary of War history mug.
42- Secretary of War William Howard Taft

The William Howard Taft mug is part of a biographical series profiling individuals who served as the U.S. Secretary of War.  An image of William Howard Taft and a short biography are features of this history mug.

Small Mug, 11 oz.

Large Mug, 15 oz.

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