Before he was President: John Adams

John Adams, 1797-1801 schoolteacher and lawyer
Adams' great, great grandfather and grandmother were part of the party that landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Adams started smoking when he was only 8 years old. He graduated from Harvard College in 1755 and for the next two years taught school and studied law under the direction of James Putnam in Worcester, Massachusetts. In trade for serving as an apprentice of sorts to 28 year old Attorney Putnam John. Adams agreed to pay Putnam $100.00 per month plus a fee for his room and board. During the move to the White House, John and Abigail Adams got lost in the woods north of the city. Source Source

Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809 architect
In March of 1786 Jefferson was struggling to pay his personal debts and the debts he inherited when his father in law died. Jefferson's primary concern was his good credit standing as he tried to negotiate his debt with the creditors. He cited two reasons for his delay in payments: the inflation that the war had caused in America made his paper money virtually worthless and the army of well known bad guy Lord Cornwallis had stolen 30 of his slaves and burnt 1 year's worth of tobacco held in storage and another year's worth that was still growing. His creditors ignored his issues and demanded payment in full in gold or sterling silver. Thomas Jefferson's misery over money was just beginning. Thomas Jefferson: A Life By Willard Sterne Randall

James Madison, 1809-1817 politician
James Madison flirted with the idea of becoming a preacher early on in his life. Introverted, frail, and sickly, Madison opted to invest his time in attending and participating in political events. It was his regular participation in these events, combined with his writing ability that led to him being offered lower level political positions. Of course, he was able to leverage those humble political beginnings into much greater levels of influence.

More stories: Duncan Hines   George Washington   Thomas Jefferson   Benjamin Franklin   Dolly Madison   James Garfield   Harry Truman   Henry Ford

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