Before he was President: Thomas Jefferson

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.

James Monroe, 1817-1825 lawyer
At the age of 18 James Monroe was a lieutenant in the army serving under General George Washington. At the end of his 6 years of military service, Monroe received a letter of recommendation from his boss General Washington. It read, "I take occasion to express to you the high opinion I have of his worth. He has, in every instance, maintained a reputation of a brave, active, and sensible officer. It were to be wished that the State (Virginia) could do something for him, to enable him to follow the bent of his military inclination, and render service to his country." After leaving the Army in 1782, Monroe moved back to Virginia where he studied law with Thomas Jefferson. Source

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

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