Celebrate the Careers of US Presidents Before the Oval Office
If the US Presidents weren’t already a huge inspiration, consider the elaborate paths many of them took to get to the oval office. While many worked as lawyers before entering politics (no real surprise, a lawyer becoming a law maker).
George Washington, Surveyor
George Washington, the father of this country, is best known for his entanglement with a cherry tree and for navigating the Delaware River in the dead of winter. But before he led the Continental Army to victory over the British Empire, he had a career as a renowned surveyor and mapmaker. This talent came in handy as Washington navigated the Continental Army through the North American winters of the Revolutionary War.
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John Adams, Lawyer
The Atlas of Independence and the cousin of brewer and patriot Samuel Adams, John Adams was one of the premier members of the revolutionary generation in Boston. Where George Washington was the father of this country, Adams was the intellectual force behind the American independence, having assisted in drafting the Declaration of Independence with Thomas Jefferson and helping convince the Continental Congress to vote for independence. Adams had a career as a lawyer in Boston, famously defending the soldiers responsible for the Boston Massacre of 1770.
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Abraham Lincoln, Carpenter
Honest Abe, as is popular legend, grew up on the frontier in a log cabin and so spent time working manual labor jobs. People who knew him as a young man thought him lazy, as he preferred to spend his time reading books. But he did break from that stereotype and before becoming president spent time as a carpenter and a postmaster. His accomplishments as President of the United States, namely winning the Civil War, make him one of the most revered presidents.
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Theodore Roosevelt, Rancher
Theodore Roosevelt, the Bull Moose, is unique among most presidents, in that many know his pre-Oval Office career. This was, of course, by design. Roosevelt cultivated the persona of a manly cowboy before he entered into politics. This wasn’t an act. Although he was born in New York City, he spent much of his civilian life in the West working as a rancher. Roosevelt would eventually leave ranching for politics, become president and find his way onto Mount Rushmore. But he’ll always be remembered as a rough-riding cowboy of the west.
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Woodrow Wilson, Professor
Wilson, like Roosevelt had a famous career before he was president. The Professor, as many referred to him, was the first and still the only professional scholar to ever take the oath of office. Other presidents may have spent time teaching at a university, but Wilson was by all accounts a member of academia, having served as the president of Princeton for some eight years. He eventually left academics to go into politics. Wilson navigated the U.S. through World War I.
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John F. Kennedy, Writer
When we think of JFK we remember PT-109, his time as a senator and the time he spent as president. Believe it or not, he had a life in addition to those three chapters. Kennedy spent time with Hearst Newspapers as a special correspondent. In 1956 he wrote “Profiles of Courage,” which won him the Pulitzer Prize. This would be the high point of his writing career, as he would devote the rest of his life to politics. But a Pulitzer is a pretty big accomplishment, even for a Kennedy.
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Ronald Reagan, Actor
The Gipper earned his nickname from the career he had before becoming president, his nickname being a reference to a character he played in a film. Reagan, famously, was a sportscaster, corporate spokesman and Hollywood actor before he entered politics. Of course, his legacy is as a President of the United States. Never a true Hollywood star, his work as an actor, is today, almost forgotten. But he did look good on the big screen.
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