List of Poorest U.S President By Net Worth and Richest U.S President

List of Poorest U.S President By Net Worth and Richest U.S President

Poorest U.S President  and Richest U.S President – Considering the Country “United States of America” one could conclude that any president of such great Country outside political power would be tremendously rich and swim in billions of cash, while many may not realize that being the U.S. president is a hard and often thankless job. Richard Nixon famously said, “Scrubbing floors and emptying bedpans has as much dignity as the Presidency.”

But being president also has amazing perks (Air Force One!), and most presidents have been financially well-off. In fact, the Average net worth of a U.S. president ($62 million) is more than 200 times the Average net worth of a U.S. adult ($301,000). It pays to be president. But then, when you evaluate closely you will still find out that some U.S Presidents are not as buoyant as others despite occupying such a great seat. Now, you need to jump straight to the List of Poorest U.S President By Net Worth and make your inference. The List is actually arranged from the Poorest U.S President to the Richest U.S President By Net Worth. Explore the list below…

The Poorest U.S President By Net Worth

Net Worth: <$1 million

  • #43 – James Buchanan
  • #42 – Abraham Lincoln
  • #41 – Andrew Johnson
  • #40 – Ulysses S. Grant
  • #39 – James Garfield
  • #38 – Chester A. Arthur
  • #37 – Woodrow Wilson
  • #36 – Calvin Coolidge
  • #35 – Harry S. Truman

This group of nine won the presidency but never found significant wealth. Interestingly, six of these poorest U.S Presidents served in the period between 1857-1881. Clearly, the years before and after the Civil War were a tough time to be Commander-in-Chief.

#34 – Warren G. Harding

Net Worth: $1 million

Poorest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 29th President
  • Party Affiliation – Republican Party
  • Years in Office – 1921 – 1923
    2 years 4 months
  • State Affiliation – Ohio
  • Date of Birth – November 2, 1865

Harding’s tenure as president ended abruptly when he died from heart failure during his second year of office. Before that, he had earned income primarily from a local newspaper he owned.

Milestones

Domestic
Signed the first federal child welfare program and dealt with striking mining and railroad workers in the 1921 Blair Mountain miner war and Great Railroad Strike of 1922 Cut the unemployment rate by half through higher tariffs, lower taxes, and an expansion of the tax base.

Advocated an anti-lynching bill to curb violence against African-Americans, although it failed to pass Congress. Established the Veterans Bureau to handle veterans’ medical and job needs and the Bureau of the Budget to prepare the US federal budget. Plagued by scandal throughout his tenure, most notably the Teapot Dome scandal involving government acceptance of bribes from oil companies

Foreign
Spurned the League of Nations and signed a separate peace treaty with Germany and Austria after WWI

#33 – William McKinley

Net Worth: $1 million

Poorest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 25th President
  • Party Affiliation – Republican Party
  • Years in Office – 1897 – 1901
    4 years 6 months
  • State Affiliation – Ohio
  • Date of Birth – January 29, 1843

With the exception of his presidential salary, McKinley had no other significant sources of income. McKinley’s presidency took a tragic turn on September 14th, 1901 when he was assassinated–he served in office for 4.5 years.

Milestones

Domestic
Established the gold standard as the official backing of American currency in a rejection of inflationary proposals. Strove to end sectionalism between the North and the South, but overlooked opportunities to improve civil rights.

Foreign
Led the nation to a decisive victory in the 1898 Spanish-American War and gained control of Puerto Rico, Guam, Cuba, and the Philippines as part of the peace settlement. Annexed the independent Republic of Hawaii in 1898 and made it a US territory.

Established the Open Door policy to China stipulating that trade with the Chinese be open to all western nations equally. Raised tariffs through the Dingley Tariff Act promoted American industry and gave the president authority to negotiate lower rates with individual nations, an important diplomatic tool.

#32 – Franklin Pierce

Net Worth: $2 million

Poorest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number 14th President
  • Party Affiliation – Democratic Party
  • Years in Office 1853 – 1857
    4 years
  • State Affiliation – New Hampshire
  • Date of Birth – November 23, 1804

Outside his presidency, Pierce had success as an attorney and owned land in New Hampshire. Compared to others on this list, though, Pierce’s net worth and political record are rather unexceptional.

Milestones

Domestic
Signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, which repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and allowed the new territory of Kansas to decide its own stance on the legality of slavery. This was deeply unpopular in the North and led the Democratic Party to drop Pierce’s nomination for a second term.

Foreign
Bought disputed territory from Mexico (now the southern parts of Arizona and New Mexico) as part of the Gadsden Purchase. Further enraged Northerners through the publication of the Ostend Manifesto justifying the American seizure of slave-holding Cuba from Spain.

#31 – William Howard Taft

Net Worth: $3 million

Poorest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 27th President
  • Party Affiliation – Republican Party
  • Years in Office – 1909 – 1913
    4 years
  • State Affiliation – Ohio
  • Date of Birth – September 15, 1857

Taft might have been the heaviest U.S. president–he allegedly got stuck in the bathtub–but his net worth was one of the lightest. “Big Bill” gained most his wealth from a long career in law.

Milestones

Domestic
Carried on Theodore Roosevelt’s fervor for trust-busting and broke up nearly twice as many as his predecessor. Strengthened the Interstate Commerce Commission and its ability to negotiate rates with railroads. Undertook civil service reform and improved the performance of the postal service. Passed the Sixteenth Amendment codifying the federal government’s authority to tax income without apportioning it among the states.

Foreign
Promoted “Dollar Diplomacy,” which involved the US coordination of loans for infrastructure improvements abroad, to further the economic development of Latin American and Asian nations. Dispatched troops to safeguard U.S. citizens and property when revolution threatened in Honduras and Nicaragua, and decided not to interfere with revolutions taking place in Mexico and China

#30 – Rutherford B. Hayes

Net Worth: $3 million

Poorest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number- 19th President
  • Party Affiliation – Republican Party
  • Years in Office 1877 – 1881
    4 years
  • State Affiliation – Ohio
  • Date of Birth – October 4, 1822

President Hayes doesn’t have a particularly impressive legacy, but he did own a majestic estate in Ohio. Like many other U.S. presidents of his time, Hayes also had success as an attorney.

Milestones

Domestic
Began dismantling the Reconstruction regime imposed on the defeated Southern states as a condition of the back-room dealings that led to his election. Ordered federal troops to quell the Great Railroad Strike of 1877
Implemented modest civil service reforms by favoring competence over party loyalty in government appointments. Vetoed the Bland-Allison Act in favor of maintaining the gold standard as the key to economic recovery.

Foreign
Negotiated a trade agreement with the Chinese that would regulate immigration to the US. Agreed with Mexico to jointly pursue bandits crossing between the nations and to strengthen border security. Led reforms of American Indian policy that included assimilation into white culture, educational training, and dividing Indian land into individual allotments.

#29 – Millard Fillmore

Net Worth: $4 million

Poorest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 13th President
  • Party Affiliation – Whig Party
  • Years in Office – 1850 – 1853
    2 years 8 months
  • State Affiliation – New York
  • Date of Birth – January 7, 1800

Fillmore has the distinction of being the last president from the Whig Party. His main financial asset was his estate in New York.

Milestones

Domestic
As an anti-slavery moderate, Fillmore opposed Abolitionist demands to exclude slavery from territory gained in the Mexican War and supported the Compromise of 1850 instead. Sought re-election in 1852, but was passed over for the nomination by the Whigs.

Foreign
Dispatched Commodore Matthew C. Perry on a naval expedition to “open” Japan to trade. Opposed French attempts to annex Hawaii. Was embarrassed by Venezuelan adventurer Narciso Lopez’s filibuster expeditions to Cuba, which aimed to overthrow the Spanish government there and establish a slave state.

#28 – Benjamin Harrison

Net Worth: $5 million

Poorest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 23rd President
  • Party Affiliation – Republican Party
  • Years in Office – 1889 – 1893
    4 years
  • State Affiliation – Indiana
  • Date of Birth – August 20, 1833

Outside his presidency, Harrison was an esteemed lawyer, who owned valuable property in Indiana. Some of his wealth was also passed down from his grandfather, President William Henry Harrison.

Milestones

Domestic
Signed the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 into law. Although the legislation initially had no teeth, it would set a framework for checking corporations that later presidents like Theodore Roosevelt could exploit more fully. Introduced silver coinage and a higher tariff, both of which probably hastened the Panic of 1893.

Supported bills that promoted voting rights of African Americans in the South (although he could not get them through Congress), and appointed Frederick Douglass, the most famous African American of the day, as ambassador to Haiti.

Foreign
Established Samoa as an American protectorate and tried to annex Hawaii following a revolution. Used the new armored navy to pressure Chile to pay reparations for harm done to American sailors in Valparaiso. Negotiated with Britain and Canada to regulate seal hunting in the Bering Sea.

#27 – William Henry Harrison

Net Worth: $5 million

Poorest U.S President

Key facts

  • Number – 9th President
  • Party Affiliation – Whig Party
  • Years in Office – 1841 – 1841
    1 month 6 days
  • State Affiliation – Ohio
  • Date of Birth February 9, 1773

The older Harrison may have the same net worth as his grandson, but his presidency was far more abrupt. After delivering his inaugural speech in freezing rain, Harrison succumbed to pneumonia. His 23-day presidency is the shortest in U.S. history. Harrison’s fortune primarily comes from the estate of his wife’s family.

#26 – Zachary Taylor

Net Worth: $6 million

Poorest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 12th President
  • Party Affiliation – Whig Party
  • Years in Office – 1849 – 1850
    1 year 3 months
  • State Affiliation – Louisiana
  • Date of Birth – November 24, 1784

Before Taylor could make much of an impact as president, he died suddenly of gastroenteritis. He served in office for just over a year. Despite his untimely end, Taylor had amassed a small fortune from land speculation.

Milestones

Domestic
Encouraged New Mexico and California to bypass the territorial stage altogether in favor of seeking statehood and an outright ban on slavery in their state constitutions. Promised the relative independence of the Utah Territory from the federal government to alleviate the Mormon population’s concerns over religious freedom.

Foreign
Signed the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty with Britain establishing that any Central American canal linking the Atlantic to the Pacific would be open to both British and American ships.

#25 – Jimmy Carter

Net Worth: $7 million

Poorest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 39th President
  • Party Affiliation – Democratic Party
  • Years in Office – 1977 – 1981
    4 years
  • State Affiliation – Georgia
  • Date of Birth – October 1, 1924

Before his presidency, Carter was a respected peanut farmer. But his real wealth came after his presidency in the form of lucrative book deals.

Milestones

Domestic
Created two new cabinet-level departments: the Department of Energy and the Department of Education. Established a national energy policy that included conservation, price control, and new technology.

Took measures to improve the environment through the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act and the Superfund Act, which is designed to clean up sites contaminated with hazardous substances. Espoused a process of bureaucratic streamlining and was responsible for deregulating the airline, trucking, rail, communications, and finance industries.

Foreign
Strongly promoted human rights during his tenure and initiated the Camp David Accords, the Panama Canal Treaties, and the second round of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT II). Presided over the 1979 -1981 Iran hostage crisis and the failure of its major rescue operation, resulting in the deaths of eight American servicemen, one Iranian civilian, and the destruction of two aircraft. Boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

#24 – Gerald Ford

Net Worth: $7 million

Poorest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 38th President
  • Party Affiliation – Republican Party
  • Years in Office – 1974 – 1977
    2 years 6 months
  • State Affiliation – Michigan
  • Date of Birth – July 14, 1913

Ford had the challenging task of taking over the White House after President Nixon resigned. Like Carter, Ford made most of his fortune from book deals after his presidency.

Milestones

Domestic
Presided over the worst economy in the four decades since the Great Depression, with growing inflation and a recession during his tenure. His Whip Inflation Now (WIN) crusade urging the public to rein in spending and consumption failed badly.

Controversially granted a presidential pardon to President Richard Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal. Signed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, which established special education throughout the United States.

Foreign
Signed the Helsinki Accords, marking a move toward d̩tente in the Cold War. Officially ended US involvement in the Vietnam War after North Vietnam conquered South Vietnam.

#23 – Barack Obama

Net Worth: $7 million

Poorest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 44th President
  • Party Affiliation – Democratic Party
  • Years in Office 2009 –
    7 years 10 months
  • State Affiliation – Illinois
  • Date of Birth – August 4, 1961

The leader of the free world currently makes $400,000 a year–about as much as a high-level banker. While he can enjoy his salary until 2016, Obama has made most of his money from his two best-selling books.

Milestones

Domestic
Signed economic stimulus legislation like the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Stimulus) and the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 into law in response to the Great Recession of 2008. Signed the Dodd -Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010, strengthening financial regulations to an extent not seen since the Great Depression.

Pushed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) overhauling the nation’s health insurance system through Congress in 2010. Signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 and became the first sitting U.S. president to publicly support same-sex marriage.

Repealed a Bush-era policy preventing federal tax dollars from being used to fund research on new lines of embryonic stem cells. Signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 ending the role of private banks in lending out federally insured student loans.

Foreign
Ended US military involvement in the Iraq War and increased US troop levels in Afghanistan. Substantially increased the number of drone strikes targeting suspected terrorists around the world.

Ordered U.S. military involvement in Libya following a popular revolt against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Authorized the military operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011. Signed the New START arms control treaty with Russia reducing the number of long-range weapons held by both countries.

#22 – Dwight Eisenhower

Net Worth: $8 million

Poorest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 34th President
  • Party Affiliation – Republican Party
  • Years in Office 1953 – 1961
    8 years
  • State Affiliation – Kansas
  • Date of Birth – October 14, 1890

In addition to his eight years as president, Eisenhower was a celebrated military commander and president of Columbia University. His largest financial asset was his large estate in Pennsylvania.

Milestones

Domestic
Launched the Interstate Highway System, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), and established a strong science education via the National Defense Education Act. Sent federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas for the first time since Reconstruction to enforce federal court orders to desegregate public schools.

Signed civil rights legislation in 1957 and 1960 to protect the right to vote by African-Americans. Opposed Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy and contributed to the end of McCarthyism by openly invoking the modern expanded version of executive privilege.

Foreign
Deposed the leader of Iran in the 1953 Iranian coup d’̩tat and used nuclear threats to conclude the Korean War with China. Prioritized inexpensive nuclear weapons and a reduction of conventional military forces as a means of keeping pressure on the Soviet Union and reducing the federal deficit.

First to articulate the domino theory of communist expansion in 1954
Established the US policy of defending Taiwan from Chinese communist aggression in the 1955 Formosa Resolution. Forced Israel, the UK, and France to end their invasion of Egypt during the Suez Crisis of 1956. Sent 15,000 U.S. troops to Lebanon to prevent the pro-Western government from falling to a Nasser-inspired revolution.

#21 – James K. Polk

Net Worth: $10 million

Poorest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 11th President
  • Party Affiliation – Democratic Party
  • Years in Office – 1845 – 1849
    4 years
  • State Affiliation – Tennessee
  • Date of Birth – November 2, 1795

Polk’s accomplishments as president are often overlooked, but the one-term wonder successfully led the nation to victory in the Mexican-American War, restored the Treasury, and reduced tariffs. His landholdings were similarly impressive.

Milestones

Domestic
Achieved most of the domestic goals of the Democratic Party while in office, including curtailing the use of federal funds for internal improvements, the restoration of an independent Treasury that lasted until 1913, and a reduction in tariffs.

Oversaw the opening of the US Naval Academy and the Smithsonian Institution, the groundbreaking for the Washington Monument, and the issuance of the first postage stamps in the United States.

Foreign
Promoted the policies of Manifest Destiny, including negotiating possession of the Oregon Territory from the British and buying California and New Mexico from Mexico after the Mexican-American War.

#20 – Ronald Reagan

Net Worth: $13 million

Poorest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 40th President
  • Party Affiliation – Republican Party
  • Years in Office – 1981 – 1989
    8 years
  • State Affiliation – California
  • Date of Birth – February 6, 1911

A successful Hollywood actor, Reagan starred in over fifty movies before his presidency and served as spokesman for GE. Post-presidency, Reagan found further success with a lucrative book deal.

Milestones

Domestic
Developed “Reagonomics” (supply-side economic policies) as a means of controlling inflation and spurring economic growth through tax cuts, reduced business regulation, and reduced growth in government spending. Lowered the federal income tax rate significantly with the signing of the bipartisan Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981.

Escalated the War on Drugs campaign and specified a mandatory minimum penalty for drug offenses. Increased spending on national defense and diplomacy and ushered in a close to the Cold War. Reauthorized the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for another 25 years. Signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which compensated victims of the Japanese-American internment during World War II. Fired 11,345 striking air traffic controllers who illegally went on strike in 1981. Appointed Sandra Day O’Connor as the first female Supreme Court justice.

Foreign
Reversed the US policy of detente with the USSR and developed the Reagan Doctrine in support for anti-communist rebel movements in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Nicaragua and elsewhere. Provided arms and other support to anti-communist groups such as the Contras and the mujahideen, and sold arms to foreign allies such as Taiwan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. Invaded Grenada after a 1979 coup d’etat established an independent non-aligned Marxist-Leninist government.

Launched a series of air strikes in Libya in 1986 in retaliation for a bomb explosion in a Berlin discotheque that resulted in American casualties. Negotiated with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to initiate a substantial reduction in armaments levels worldwide.

Negotiated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) to substantially reduce nuclear arms and initiated negotiations with the Soviet Union for the treaty that would later be known as START I. Presided over the Iran-Contra Affair of selling weapons to Iran and using the proceeds to fund right-wing Contra forces in Nicaragua.

#19 – Richard Nixon

Net Worth: $15 million

Poorest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 37th President
  • Party Affiliation – Republican Party
  • Years in Office – 1969 – 1974
    5 years 6 months
  • State Affiliation – California
  • Date of Birth – January 9, 1913

Though the Watergate scandal tarnished Nixon’s legacy, it also led to some high-paying book deals and interviews. In fact, British talk-show host David Frost paid $600,000 for a series of interviews with “Tricky Dick.”

Milestones

Domestic
Launched initiatives to fight cancer and illegal drugs, imposed wage and price controls, enforced desegregation of Southern schools, and introduced legislation to reform healthcare and welfare. Established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and signed into law the Clean Air Act and National Environmental Policy Act.

Presided over lunar landings beginning with Apollo 11, although he eventually replaced manned space exploration with shuttle missions. Became embroiled in the Watergate Scandal shortly after election to his second term. The scandal’s escalation cost him much political support and led him to resign in the face of almost certain impeachment.

Foreign
Initially escalated America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, but subsequently ended US involvement by 1973 through the Paris Peace Accords. Opened diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China in 1972 and ushered in a new era of Sino-American relations. Initiated d̩tente with the Soviet Union in the wake of his diplomacy with China, leading to SALT I and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

Supported Israel during the Yom Kippur War, which led to an Israeli victory and a retaliation by Arab OPEC nations who refused to sell crude oil to the US during the 1973 oil crisis. Covertly supported a military coup against Chilean Marxist president Salvador Allende.

#18 – John Adams

Net Worth: $19 million

Poorest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 2nd President
  • Party Affiliation – Federalist Party
  • Years in Office – 1797 – 1801
    4 years
  • State Affiliation – Massachusetts
  • Date of Birth – October 30, 1735

The second Commander-in-Chief had a rocky presidency. Losing his reelection to rival Thomas Jefferson was a major defeat for Adams. Nevertheless, Adams was a renowned attorney and married into a wealthy family.

Milestones

Domestic
Ran on a presidential ticket with Thomas Jefferson, his fierce political rival and eventual successor. Nominated John Marshall as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Foreign
Signed the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts, which were designed to protect Americans from foreign insurgents. The Acts were a reponse to the XYZ Affair, a botched diplomatic effort with France after French ships began attacking American vessels with British cargo. Built up the army and navy to fight France in the unofficial “Quasi War,” but eventually found a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Poorest US President vs Richest U.S President

#17 – George W. Bush

Net Worth: $20 million

Richest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 43rd President
  • Party Affiliation – Republican Party
  • Years in Office – 2001 – 2009
    8 years
  • State Affiliation – Texas
  • Date of Birth – July 6, 1946

Before entering politics, Bush had success in the oil industry and as a co-owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team. Bush currently makes revenue from his books and public speaking engagements.

Milestones

Domestic
Implemented the $1.3 trillion “Bush tax cuts” of 2001 and 2003, significantly lowering the marginal tax rates for nearly all U.S. taxpayers. Signed the No Child Left Behind Act reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and supporting standards-based education reform. Signed the USA PATRIOT Act enhancing law enforcement investigatory tools related to terrorism, and established the Department of Homeland Security.

Promoted socially conservative policies like the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act and White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Enacted Medicare Part D into law and vetoed State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) legislation expanding federally funded health care benefits. Implemented several free trade agreements and pushed for offshore and domestic oil drilling.

Championed comprehensive immigration reform and Social Security reform, but the legislation for either cause never mustered enough support to pass Congress. Sent FEMA resources to the South in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, but soon came under withering criticism that the federal government had not done enough to aid the affected population. Presided over the beginnings of the Great Recession in 2008 and launched several different economic initiatives aimed at preventing a banking system collapse, stopping foreclosures, and stimulating the economy.

Foreign
Ordered an invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 to overthrow the Taliban, destroy Al-Qaeda, and to capture Osama bin Laden following the September 11 terrorist attacks. Led an invasion of Iraq in 2003 under the pretext of Iraqi refusal to relinquish its WMD.

Condemned Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as part of the “Axis of Evil” and accused them of helping terrorism and seeking WMD. Signed the US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement with India, greatly improving relations between the countries. Established the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), an AIDS program that committed $15 billion to combat AIDS over five years, especially in Africa.

#16 – John Quincy Adams

Net Worth: $21 million

Richest U.S President

Facts

  • Number – 6th President
  • Party Affiliation – Democratic-Republican Party
  • Years in Office – 1825 – 1829
    4 years
  • State Affiliation – Massachusetts
  • Date of Birth – July 11, 1767

As the son of John Adams, Quincy Adams had big shoes to fill. Like his father, Quincy Adams was a controversial president and lost reelection. He inherited most of his fortune, but also had success as a lawyer.

Milestones

Domestic
Supported infrastructural and educational improvements in the shape of federal projects like road and canal building, a national university, and a national bank, but met with stiff opposition from supporters of Andrew Jackson in Congress

Foreign
Signed the “Tariff of Abominations” in 1828, which protected American manufacturers but raised prices on many goods, especially in the South. Renowned as one of America’s greatest diplomats before his presidency and one of American’s greatest congressmen after his presidency, but was not a particularly effective president.

#15 – George H. W. Bush

Net Worth: $23 million

Richest U.S President

Facts

  • Number – 41st President
  • Party Affiliation – Republican Party
  • Years in Office – 1989 – 1993
    4 years
  • State Affiliation – Texas
  • Date of Birth – June 12, 1924

Like his son, Bush Sr. worked in the oil industry before entering the White House. He also owns significant property in Maine.

Milestones

Domestic
Signed an increase in taxes and reneged on a central promise of his presidential campaign in doing so. Signed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibiting discrimination based on disabilities.

Signed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, which compensated people who contracted cancer and other diseases as a result of exposure to atmospheric nuclear testing undertaken during the Cold War. Reauthorized the Clean Air Act, which requires cleaner burning fuels.

Foreign
Launched a full-scale air assault and ground invasion against Iraq as part of the Gulf War in retaliation for Iraq’s invasion of neighboring Kuwait. Invaded Panama in 1989 to oust leader and drug trafficker Manuel Noriega.

Signed START I with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and declared a US-Russian strategic partnership with the Soviet leader following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. Spearheaded the negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which would later be signed by his successor Bill Clinton.

#14 – Grover Cleveland

Net Worth: $25 million

Richest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 22nd President
  • Party Affiliation – Democratic Party
  • Years in Office – 1885 – 1889
    4 years
  • State Affiliation – New York
  • Date of Birth – March 18, 1837

Grover Cleveland has the distinction of being the only U.S. president to serve two terms out of sequence. Known as the “Veto President,” Cleveland vetoed 414 bills, more than any other president at the time. Unsurprisingly, Cleveland had a formidable career in law and also had successful real estate investments.

Milestones

Domestic
Used the veto far more often than any president up to that time, rejecting many veterans’ pension bills that he believed fraudulent and a drought relief bill for Texas that he believed would create a social welfare state against American ideals.

Signed an act creating the Interstate Commerce Commission to regulate railroads (and later trucking) in the interest of ensuring fair rates
Stood on the side of the gold standard in the ongoing currency debate and tried to reduce the amount of silver that the government was required to coin under the Bland-Allison Act of 1878.

Foreign
Advocated for tariff reduction throughout his term, but was rebuffed by Republicans in Congress. Encouraged the passage of the Dawes Act with the intention of lifting Native Americans out of poverty and encouraging their assimilation into white society (although actual results were less successful).

#13 – Martin Van Buren

Net Worth: $26 million

Richest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 8th President
  • Party Affiliation – Democratic Party
  • Years in Office – 1837 – 1841
    4 years
  • State Affiliation – New York
  • Date of Birth – December 5, 1782

Van Buren’s legendary sideburns were complemented by a similarly impressive career in law. He also owned substantial property in New York.

Milestones

Domestic
Closely followed the policies of his precedessor and patron Andrew Jackson and was a key organizer of the Jacksonian Democratic Party. Adhered to the Jacksonian policy of decentralizing banks, which contributed to the Panic of 1837 and five years of depression, bank failures, and record unemployment levels. Advocated lower tariffs and free trade to the pleasure of the South, and set up a system of bonds for the national debt.

Foreign
Enforced the Indian Removal Act of 1830 removing Cherokee and other native peoples from their homes and relocating them west of the Mississippi, an event known as the “Trail of Tears.” Strained relations with Britain and its colonies following the Aroostook War and the Caroline Affair. Denied Texas’ formal request to join the United States in 1837 in favor of maintaining sectional harmony in the nation.

#12 – James Monroe

Net Worth: $27 million

Richest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 5th President
  • Party Affiliation – Democratic-Republican Party
  • Years in Office – 1817 – 1825
    8 years
  • State Affiliation – Virginia
  • Date of Birth – April 28, 1758

Monroe presided over the “Era of Good Feelings” in the U.S. and was the last Founding Father to serve as president. Before his presidency, Monroe amassed wealth as a lawyer, farmer, and planter.

Milestones

Domestic
Was the last president during the First Party System era of American politics and the last to be a Founding Father. Presided over the highly controversial Missouri Compromise of 1820, which admitted Missouri into the Union as a slave state. The precedent this set for achieving statehood became a major issue until the abolition of slavery.

Foreign
Established the landmark Monroe Doctrine, which announced the United States’ opposition to any European intervention in the recently independent countries of the Americas. Bought Florida from Spain and extended America’s border to the Pacific through the Treaty of 1818 with Britain.

#11 – John Tyler

Net Worth: $51 million

Richest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 10th President
  • Party Affiliation – Whig Party
  • Years in Office – 1841 – 1845
    3 years 10 months
  • State Affiliation – Virginia
  • Date of Birth – March 29, 1790

Sometimes referred to as “His Accidency,” Tyler abruptly assumed office when President William Henry Harrison died 23 days into his term. In addition to inheriting the White House, Tyler also inherited a massive tobacco plantation and married into a rich family.

Milestones

Domestic
Immediately assumed presidency after William Henry Harrison abruptly died a month into his term, setting a precedent for presidential succession that would eventually be codified in the Twenty-fifth Amendment. Often opposed his own Whig Party’s platform much to the consternation of his cabinet and Whigs in Congress. The Whigs eventually dropped Tyler from their party.

Vetoed Whig bills to recreate a national bank on the grounds that states should have the right to refuse such an institution. Sided with the Confederate government upon the outbreak of the Civil War (after his presidency) and won election to the Confederate House of Representatives shortly before his death.

Foreign
Found foreign policy successes in his signing of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty with Britain and Treaty of Wanghia with Qing China. Presided over the annexation of Texas in 1845.

#10 – Bill Clinton

Net Worth: $55 million

Richest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 42nd President
  • Party Affiliation – Democratic Party
  • Years in Office – 1993 – 2001
    8 years
  • State Affiliation – Arkansas
  • Date of Birth – August 19, 1946

Although Clinton had a successful law career before entering politics, his real wealth came after he left the White House. Clinton’s autobiography, My Life, has sold over 2.2 million copies. Additionally, Clinton has made a sizeable fortune from public speaking alone.

Milestones

Domestic
Presided over the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in American history. Signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, cutting taxes for fifteen million low-income families, making tax cuts available to 90 percent of small businesses, and raising taxes on the wealthiest 1.2 percent of taxpayers.

Passed welfare reform and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), providing health coverage for millions of children. Signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) into law and implemented Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in the armed services. Despite these anti-gay policies, Clinton also doubled federal funding for HIV/AIDS research, prevention and treatment and pushed for passing hate crimes laws for gays.

Signed the 1993 Brady Bill imposing a five-day waiting period on handgun purchases and the 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill expanding the death penalty for drug kingpins, murderers of federal law enforcement officers, and nearly 60 additional categories of violent felons. Championed comprehensive health reform and the creation of universal health care, but the legislation never mustered enough support to pass Congress. Was impeached for perjury before a grand jury and obstruction of justice during a lawsuit against him, both related to a scandal involving White House intern Monica Lewinski, but was eventually acquitted by the Senate.

Foreign
Signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) creating a trilateral trade bloc between Mexico, Canada, and the US in 1994. Deployed American troops in Somalia and Yugoslavia as part of peacekeeping missions. Ordered cruise missile strikes on terrorist targets in Afghanistan and Sudan in retaliation for al-Qaeda bombings of US embassies in East Africa in 1998.

#9 – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Net Worth: $60 million

Richest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 32nd President
  • Party Affiliation – Democratic Party
  • Years in Office – 1933 – 1945
    12 years 1 month
  • State Affiliation – New York
  • Date of Birth – January 30, 1882

FDR was the longest-serving president in U.S. history, with over 12 years in the White House. He inherited significant wealth from his family and his marriage to Eleanor, but was never able to match the fortune of his older cousin Teddy.

Milestones

Domestic
Pushed a record number of bills through Congress during his “First 100 Days” program to grant immediate relief to tens of millions of unemployed during the depths of the Great Depression. Continued Hoover’s Federal Emergency Relief Administration and created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Tennessee Valley Authority, which hired hundreds of thousands of unemployed men to work on rural local projects.

Protected the livelihoods of laborers and farmers through the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and Agricultural Adjusment Administration (AAA). Established Social Security, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), all of which last to this day.

Drastically decreased unemployment from 25% to 2% over his tenure. Attempted to “pack” the Supreme Court in his second term by proposing a law to add six new justices to the bench. This move ran into significant political opposition from within the Democratic Party and was seen as a presidential power grab of the judicial branch.

Foreign
Developed the Good Neighbor Policy withdrawing American forces from Latin American countries and respecting their sovereignty more. Supported the case for intervention in WWII through the Destroyers for Bases Agreement and Lend-Lease Act supplying ships and armament to the Allied forces.

Led the US into WWII after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and formulated strategy as part of the “Big Three” with Churchill and Stalin to defeat the Axis powers. Relocated 100,000 Japanese American civilians into internment camps in 1942. Endorsed the creation of the United Nations and the Bretton Woods system of monetary management among states.

#8 – Herbert Hoover

Net Worth: $75 million

Richest U.S President

Facts

  • Number – 31st President
  • Party Affiliation – Republican Party
  • Years in Office – 1929 – 1933
    4 years
  • State Affiliation – Iowa
  • Date of Birth – August 10, 1874

Unlike many of the presidents on this list, Hoover did not inherit any wealth. In fact, Hoover was an orphan who made his fortune in the mining industry. Unfortunately, his business savvy couldn’t stop the onset of the Great Depression.

Milestones

Domestic
Presided over the 1929 Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression and initiated government economic recovery programs in the spirit of public-private partnerships that met with limited success. Promoted public works efforts such as the Hoover Dam. Increased tariffs with the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act in order to encourage the purchase of American-made goods. (Instead, the Act resulted in contracted international trade and a worsening of the Great Depression).

Raised taxes by increasing the top tax bracket from 25% to 63% and increasing corporate taxes. Supported the Glass-Steagall Act limiting commercial bank securities activities. Advocated strong labor regulation laws, including the enactment of the Bacon-Davis Act requiring a maximum eight-hour day on construction of public buildings and the payment of at least the “prevailing wage” in the locality.

Expanded civil service coverage of Federal positions. Canceled private oil leases on government lands. Instructed the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service to pursue gangsters for tax evasion. Signed the Norris La Guardia Act to limit judicial intervention in labor disputes. Dispersed the “Bonus Army” of WWI veterans who marched on Washington to demand bonus payments in 1932. Required air mail carriers to adopt stricter safety measures and improve service.

Foreign
Issued the Hoover-Stimson doctrine refusing to recognize the Japanese conquest of Manchuria. Mediated between Chile and Peru to solve a conflict on the sovereignty of two provinces on their border.

#7 – Lyndon B. Johnson

Net Worth: $98 million

Richest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 36th President
  • Party Affiliation – Democratic Party
  • Years in Office – 1963 – 1969
    5 years 2 months
  • State Affiliation – Texas
  • Date of Birth – August 27, 1908

Following JFK’s assassination, Johnson assumed office under tragic circumstances, but quickly reinvigorated the nation with his War on Poverty. Johnson’s fortune primarily came from his large landholdings in Texas.

Milestones

Domestic
Designed his signature “Great Society” legislation, which included laws upholding civil rights, public broadcasting, Medicare, Medicaid, environmental protection, aid to education, and the abolition of poverty. Signed the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968 outlawing most forms of racial segregation and providing equal housing opportunities regardless of race, creed, or national origin, and passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawing discrimination in voting.

Appointed Thurgood Marshall as the first African American justice on the Supreme Court. Signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and Higher Education Act to improve funding to schools, especially those in poor districts. Established the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts to support humanists and artists
Created programs to tackle poverty such as Head Start, food stamps, Work Study, Medicare, and Medicaid. Presided over the first manned flight to the Moon with the Apollo 8 program.

Foreign
Signed the Immigration Act of 1965, which substantially liberalized US immigration policy towards non-Europeans. Drastically escalated American involvement in Vietnam following the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution from 16,000 advisors/soldiers to 550,000 combat troops in 1968.

#6 – James Madison

Net Worth: $101 million

Richest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 4th President
  • Party Affiliation – Democratic-Republican Party
  • Years in Office – 1809 – 1817
    8 years
  • State Affiliation – Virginia
  • Date of Birth – March 16, 1751

Known as the “Father of the Constitution,” Madison earned substantial income as both president and secretary of state. However, his real wealth came from his 4,000+ acre plantation in Virginia, named Montpelier.

Milestone

Domestic
Co-authored the Federalist Papers and was instrumental in the drafting of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Helped establish the Democratic-Republican Party with Jefferson. Renewed the charter for the Bank of the United States to raise funds for the War of 1812.

Foreign
Signed Macon’s Bill No.2, which repealed the Non-Intercourse Act and allowed French and English goods on American ships as long as trade rights were respected. Led the nation into the War of 1812 after the failure of diplomatic protests and a trade embargo against Britain. The war began badly for the US and was fought to a draw after the British burned Washington DC to the ground.

#5 – Andrew Jackson

Net Worth: $119 million

Richest U.S President

Facts

  • Number – 7th President
  • Party Affiliation – Democratic Party
  • Years in Office – 1829 – 1837
    8 years
  • State Affiliation – Tennessee
  • Date of Birth – March 15, 1767

For a self-proclaimed populist who dismantled the Federal Bank, Jackson had a surprisingly high net worth. His fortune primarily came from substantial landholdings and his military career.

Milestones

Domestic
Forefather of the modern Democratic Party. Dismantled the Second Bank of the United States in 1832 on policy grounds. Faced down South Carolina during the Nullification Crisis when state politicians declared they had the right to nullify tariff legislation and any other Federal law that went against state interests.

Strengthened the power of the presidency and expanded the spoils system to strengthen his political base through patronage. First and only president to pay off the entire national debt, although severe economic depression from 1837 to 1844 caused it to increase again two years later.

Foreign
Initiated forced relocation and resettlement of Native American tribes from the Southeast to west of the Mississippi River through the Indian Removal Act
Negotiated an exchange of shipping rights with the British West Indies in 1830.

#4 – Theodore Roosevelt

Net Worth: $125 million

Richest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 26th President
  • Party Affiliation – Republican Party
  • Years in Office – 1901 – 1909
    7 years 6 months
  • State Affiliation – New York
  • Date of Birth – October 27, 1858

Although the Roosevelts were a wealthy New York family, Theodore struggled financially in his earlier years. However, he gained wealth as a prolific author, writing over 40 books throughout his life. His most valuable asset was his Sagamore Hill estate on Long Island.

Milestones

Domestic
Developed the “Square Deal,” a domestic program formed around three C’s: conservation of natural resources, control of corporations, and consumer protection. Promoted the conservation movement and placed millions of acres of land under federal protection to preserve America’s natural resources.

Dissolved 44 monopolistic corporations and regulated railroad rates to protect the middle and working class. Passed the Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drug Act to better regulate food production and labeling.

Foreign
Issued a corollary to the Monroe Doctrine allowing the US to exercise international policy power to intervene and keep smaller countries in the Americas on their feet. Negotiated US control of construction on the Panama Canal after supporting the secession of Panama from Colombia in 1903. Sent the Great White Fleet on a tour to demonstrate American power. Negotiated an end to the Russo-Japanese War, for which he won a Nobel Prize.

#3 – Thomas Jefferson

Net Worth: $212 million

Richest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 3rd President
  • Party Affiliation – Democratic-Republican Party
  • Years in Office – 1801 – 1809
    8 years
  • State Affiliation – Virginia
  • Date of Birth – April 13, 1743

A true Renaissance man, Jefferson had several successful business endeavors. But like many of the Founding Fathers, Jefferson’s real fortune came from property. Jefferson’s large Virginia estate Monticello remains an architectural wonder today.

Milestones

Domestic
Purchased the Louisiana Territory from France (1803) for $15 million and doubled the size of the United States. Advocated states’ rights over national institutions in stark difference to his predecessor John Adams. Drastically cut federal government spending and reduced the national debt by more than 25 percent.

Foreign
Banned all European trade from American ports in reponse to violations of US neutrality by Britain and France. The Embargo Act turned out to be impractical as a coercive measure and devastated the US economy.

#2 – George Washington

Net Worth: $525 million

Richest U.S President

Key Facts

  • Number – 1st President
  • Years in Office – 1789 – 1797
    7 years 9 months
  • State Affiliation – Virginia
  • Date of Birth – February 22, 1732

Washington’s massive net worth can be summarized in one word: land. The Washington family was one of the most successful land speculators in Virginia, and their Mount Vernon estate consisted of more than 8,000 acres.

Milestones

Domestic
Was the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Supported Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist financial plans, including a national bank and a tax on whiskey. Mobilized troops against the Whiskey Rebellion.

Ushered in the Bill of Rights and Residence Act, which authorized the president to select the seat of permanent federal governance. Established two-term precedent.

Foreign
Signed the Jay Treaty to normalize trade relations with Britain. Bolstered the navy to protect American trade against Barbary pirates.

#1 – John F. Kennedy

Net Worth: $1 billion

Richest U.S President

Facts

  • Number – 35th President
  • Party Affiliation – Democratic Party
  • Years in Office – 1961 – 1963
    2 years 9 months
  • State Affiliation – Massachusetts
  • Date of Birth – May 29, 1917

JFK’s father Joe Kennedy built his fortune through several successful business endeavors, including banking, stock trading, selling liquor (not always legally), and producing movies. Technically, Kennedy was never a billionaire himself–he was assassinated before he could inherit his family’s wealth. But while he held office, he had access to his family’s large trust fund and numerous real estate holdings.

Milestones

Domestic
Promoted the ambitious “New Frontier” domestic program promising federal funding for education, medical care for the elderly, economic aid to rural regions, and government intervention to halt the recession of the time. Abolished the federal death penalty.

Signed executive orders prohibiting racial discrimination and laid the groundwork for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Initiated Project Apollo as the first manned expedition to the Moon

Foreign
Continued support to West Berlin after the Soviet Union hastily erected the Berlin Wall, and delivered his famous Ich bin ein Berliner speech in 1963. Signed off on the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion and faced down Soviet Premier Kruschev during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Began American involvement in Vietnam as a means of staunching communist expansion in Southeast Asia
Signed the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in order to limit nuclear tests by the nuclear powers.

Initiated the creation of security ties with Israel. Sought to contain the perceived threat of communism in Latin America by establishing the Alliance for Progress, which sent aid to some countries and sought greater human rights standards in the region. Asked Congress to create the Peace Corps, in which Americans would volunteer to help underdeveloped nations in areas such as education, farming, health care, and construction.

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List of Poorest U.S President By Net Worth and Richest U.S President

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