In honor of Presidents Day, our staff has compiled a list of U.S. Presidents in the past that started out running businesses before they ran our country. Check them out below!
Abraham Lincoln: 16th President of the United States, March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865
As the only president to ever own a patent, he invented a device to lift riverboats over sandbars. He also had his own general store and ran a law firm.
Warren G. Harding: 29th President of the United States, March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923
At 19, Harding purchased a newspaper in Ohio called the Marion Star with other partners in 1884. Although it was a failing company when they bought it, it became an instant success. Today, the business is still alive and owned by Gannett Company, a publicly traded media holding company.
Herbert Hoover: 31st President of the United States, March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933
After getting a degree in geology from Stanford University, he started his own mine-engineering business in 1908. At its peak, his company employed over 175,000 workers. The company’s focus was to find investors interested in discovering new mining opportunities and reorganizing failing companies.
Franklin D. Roosevelt: 32nd President of the United States, March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945)
Founded the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation in 1927. Today, his organization serves around 4000 people suffering with different types of disabilities every year.
Harry S. Truman: 33rd President of the United States, April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1953
Started a men’s clothing store in Kansas city with his wartime friend Eddie Jacobson. The store flourished from 1919 to 1922, but eventually shut down due to the recession. However, he was able to avoid going bankrupt by selling his business and paying off all his debts. Our generation may want to take notes from this president.
Jimmy Carter: 39th President of the United States, January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981
After the death of his father in 1953, Carter left the Navy to help with the family peanut farm. They barely broke even the first year, however after much perseverance, his farm became prosperous by 1959. By 1970, he was considered a wealthy peanut farmer.
George H. W. Bush: 41st President of the United States, January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
Partnering with his neighbor John Overby to start Bush-Overby Oil Development Co. in 1951, they raised their initial funding from family and friends, including Herbert Walker, a wealthy American banker and businessman who invested more than $500,000 in the venture. The company did really well and eventually merged with Zapata Petroleum in 1953. Most of the company was then sold off to Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. for $51.2 million in 2005.
George W. Bush: 43rd President of the United States, January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009
Being the first president with an MBA degree, he invested $600,000 in Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers in 1989, with $500,000 of that investment being a bank loan. He then sold his stake for $15 Million in 1998 for a 2400% percent return on his investment.