Over the course of our history, only forty-four men have claimed the job title of President of the United States. In many cases, this is the last “job” they ever held. We thought it would be fun, in honor of President’s Day, to see what some of their earlier jobs were. After all, we all have to start somewhere…
By far the largest previous profession was a lawyer with 26 Presidents fitting that category. There were many farmers and planters, as well. Then, there were these:
Andrew Johnson (#17)
Was born in poverty in Raleigh, North Carolina and apprenticed as a tailor. He worked in several frontier towns before moving on to politics.
Warren G. Harding (#29)
As a young man, he bought The Marion Star and turned it into a successful newspaper.
Herbert Hoover (#31)
The first President born west of the Mississippi River, he graduated from Stanford University and began a successful career as a mining engineer. Besides domestic work in California and Nevada, he worked on mines in Australia and China.
Harry S. Truman (#33)
As a youth, he worked on his family’s 600-acre farm in Missouri. He joined the National Guard and served in France towards the end of World War I. Before embarking on a political career he briefly owned a haberdashery in Kansas City.
Lyndon B. Johnson (#36)
After graduating from high school he moved to Southern California where he worked in his cousin’s legal practice. He returned to Texas and worked a series of odd jobs. He returned to college but took nine months off to teach at a Mexican-American school. This earned him enough money to finish his education.
Gerald R. Ford (#38)
He was a star college athlete who, upon graduation, received contract offers from the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers. He turned them down and took a job as a boxing coach and assistant varsity football coach at Yale where he applied to law school.
Ronald Reagan (#40)
After graduating from Eureka College he went to Iowa and started a career as a radio announcer. One of his specialties was re-creating the play-by-play of Chicago Cubs games. While traveling with the team in California he took a screen test and ended up with a seven-year acting contract with Warner Bros.
There are many paths to greatness and these are just a few of them. The American Dream is, in part, the belief that any one of us could become President. These select few men accomplished just that.
If you want to see a complete list of all the President’s and their history, Wikipedia has curated a very comprehensive list.