Before he was President: Richard Nixon

Richard Milhouse Nixon, 1969-1974 lawyer, writer
He once worked at a game booth at the Slippery Gulch Rodeo. While in the Navy in the 1940's, Richard Nixon noticed that his friends were winning money in poker games. Always the opportunist, Nixon had the best poker player in his unit teach him how to play the game. Within only a few months, Nixon had won around $6,000 in poker games, which he used to fund his first congressional campaign. Source

Richard Nixon's great grandparents had their home sold at sheriff's sale in order to pay creditors. Page 6 Source

In 1920 Richard Nixon was 7 and earned $1 for every 12 hours of work he did as a bean picker. As a teen Nixon worked as a janitor, chicken plucker in a poultry shop, and carnival barker. Source

While he was a student at Duke Law School, Nixon did not have much money. So, every day for breakfast he ate a candy bar. The candy bars cost 5 cents. Source

Gerald Rudolph Ford, 1974-1977 Busboy, male model
Gerald Ford spent some time as a male model. Ford and his girlfriend were in a Look magazine spread in 1939, and in 1942 he was the cover boy of Cosmopolitan.

Gerald Ford held part-time jobs in high school and college. In high school he worked part-time in order to help pay family expenses during the Great Depression. During college, he worked part-time jobs in order to pay the various educational and living expenses that were not covered by the football scholarship he had won from the University of Michigan.

James Earl Carter, Jr., 1977-1981 peanut farmer, sailor, nuclear submarine commander
Jimmy worked so hard for his money as a child that getting a rare bonus was memorable. He recalled one year that the circus had just left a neighboring small town and he, along with other children, examined every square inch of grass in the area the circus had been performed on. His painstaking work paid off. He found 2 nickels and a quarter!

Living in primitive conditions was the norm until a stroke of luck brought electricity to the Carter home in 1938 during America’s Rural Electrification Program. Not only was the Carter family fortunate enough to have one light bulb in their home, but their $10.00 electricity bill was one of the highest in the area after they were fortunate enough to install a electricity guzzling refrigerator and stove!

An interesting note about this was that because of the Carter’s “enormous” use of electricity, Jimmy’s father was elected to represent the area at the Sumter Electric Membership Corporation. This position introduced Jimmy’s father, and the family, to politics, thus giving Jimmy an early education on politics. Source

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

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