The office of President of the United States is a lofty seat of power. It’s traditionally been held by men who are already wealthy and powerful on their own. Today, the president earns a salary of $400,000 for each year he’s in office. That may sound like a lot, but, in 1909, the president brought home the modern equivalent of about $2 million.
The office certainly seems to line the pockets of the one chosen to hold it. Let’s take a look at the wealthiest men who have ever graced the White House.
10. John Tyler
John Tyler was the 10th president of the United States of America. He served from 1841 to 1845. He was the vice president under William Henry Harrison, who died just 31 days into his first term. Tyler set the precedent for a transfer of full presidential recognition to a vice president after the death of a commander in chief.
This is certainly no rags to riches story. Tyler was born into a prominent family in Virginia. He inherited a tobacco plantation of over 1000 acres. Tyler’s wealth is estimated to be worth about $57 million today.
9. Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt served as president from 1933 until he passed away in 1945. Both of his parents had come from wealthy families. Roosevelt chose not to rest on his laurels as a wealthy man. His father finished law school but decided not to enter the profession after receiving an inheritance.
That wasn’t the path F.D.R. chose. He too attended law school. Franklin was incredibly ambitious and was able to pass the bar exam well before graduation. He left law school after passing the bar to begin his career. His legal and political careers contributed to his net worth of approximately $66 million.
8. Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton grew up much differently than many of the presidents on this list. He didn’t come from generational wealth. Clinton grew up in a working-class family. His father, who died a few months before Bill was born, was a salesman. His mother went to nursing school. She would later go on to marry a man who was in the auto dealership business. The Clintons were fine, but they certainly weren’t fabulously wealthy. Bill’s fortunes increased exponentially after his time in office. Aside from his presidential salary, he went on to make millions in book deals and speaker fees. Bill Clinton is worth around $75 million.
7. Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover built a substantial amount of wealth before he became president. He left school at 13 to begin working for his uncle, and his ambition never slowed down from there. Hoover returned to education to attend Stanford. He graduated with an engineering degree and threw himself into a career in mining.
He was known to work incredibly long hours and became the sole proprietor of his own operation. By 1914 he had already accumulated around $100 million dollars. As president, he did not collect his salary. He instead divided it up among several charities and raises for his staff.
6. Lyndon B. Johnson
LBJ was elected vice president running with John F. Kennedy. Following the assassination of the president in 1963, he was sworn in as the 36th president of the United States. Lyndon Johnson was born to humble parents in a small farmhouse in Texas. He understood the working class because he belonged to it. He spent time as a day laborer as a young man. He worked his way through college and became a teacher before entering the political arena. His political career helped him build his wealth. By the end of his life, Lyndon Baines Johnson had a net worth of over $109 million
5. James Madison
The fourth president of the United States is regarded as the father of the constitution. Far from being a poor man, he began his life in a prominent Virginia family. Madison also had a successful legal career. His time in politics only added to his wealth.
Madison served as a congressman and Secretary Of State before being elected as President. Much of Madison’s wealth existed because of the exploitation of slaves. He grew up on a southern plantation that relied on the labor of enslaved people. He would go on to own slaves himself.
4. Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was another wealthy American who owed his success to the unpaid labor of his exploited slaves. Born in the Carolina colonies, Jackson adopted the practice of owning slaves to further his personal career. Throughout his education, he worked as a saddle maker and educator. Jackson would go on to have a legal career before entering American Politics. After his time as US President Andrew Jackson amassed a net worth of $132 million.
3. Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt was the son of a successful Manhattan businessman and a wealthy socialite. His childhood was ruled by crippling asthma and illness. Due to his poor health, Roosevelt was largely homeschooled during his younger years.
He went on to attend Harvard University. After college, he devoted himself to building a career in politics. Though his personal life was struck with loss and tragedy he served his community as a state assemblyman and later president. He would ammas a net worth of $139 million.
2. Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson benefited from generational wealth like many US presidents before him. At the young age of 21, he took ownership of a 5,000-acre inheritance that included Monticello. He exploited the unpaid labor of some 600 slaves during his ownership of the property despite his public opposition to the practice.
Jefferson was an avid student and loved classical languages and history. He enjoyed a career as a lawyer, served in congress, wrote the declaration of independence then served as president. His various pursuits earned him a net worth of $236 million.
1. George Washington
Wealth and luxury may not be the first things that come to mind when one thinks of George Washington but the stalwart president had a staggering net worth of $587 million. Born to a wealthy family in the colony of Virginia, George Washinton began his life in opulence. His family wealth, successful military career and political life all contributed to his fortune.