Presidents' Occupations

Updated June 18, 2019 | Infoplease Staff

This table provides information about the occupations held by U.S. Presidents before and after their time in office.

PresidentMajor Jobs Before the PresidencyJobs After the Presidency
George Washingtonsurveyor, planter, general of the Army of the United Coloniesplanter, lieutenant-general of all the U.S. armies
John Adamsschoolteacher, lawyer, diplomat, vice president under Washingtonwriter
Thomas Jeffersonwriter, inventor, lawyer, architect, governor of Virginia, secretary of state under Washington, vice president under Adamswriter, gentleman farmer, rector at the University of Virginia
James Madisonlawyer, political theorist, U.S. congressman, secretary of state under Jeffersonrector at the University of Virginia
James Monroesoldier, lawyer, U.S. senator, governor of Virginiawriter, regent at the University of Virginia
John Quincy Adamslawyer, diplomat, professor, U.S. senator, secretary of state under Monroe U.S. representative from Massachusetts
Andrew Jacksonsoldier, U.S. congressman, U.S. senator, governor of Floridagentleman farmer
Martin Van Burenlawyer, U.S. senator, governor of New York, vice president under Jacksonactivist for Free Soil Party
William Henry Harrisonsoldier, diplomat, U.S. congressman, U.S. senator from Ohiodied in office
John Tylerlawyer, U.S. congressman, U.S. senator, vice president under Harrison lawyer, chancellor of the College of William and Mary, member of the Confederate House of Representatives
James Knox Polklawyer, U.S. congressman, governor of Tennesseedied 103 days after leaving office
Zachary Taylorsoldier died in office
Millard Fillmorelawyer, U.S. congressman, vice president under Taylor rogue political activist, chancellor of the University of Buffalo
Franklin Piercelawyer, soldier, U.S. congressman, U.S. senator from New Hampshire gentleman farmer
James Buchananlawyer, U.S. congressman, U.S. senator, U.S. secretary of statewriter
Abraham Lincolnpostmaster, lawyer, U.S. congressman from Illinoisdied in office
Andrew Johnsontailor, U.S. congressman, governor of Tennessee, U.S. senator from Tennessee, vice president under LincolnU.S. senator from Tennessee
Ulysses Simpson GrantU.S. Army general political activist, writer
Rutherford Birchard Hayeslawyer, soldier, U.S. congressman, governor of Ohioeducation activist, president of the National Prison Reform Association
James Abram Garfield schoolteacher, soldier, U.S. representative from Ohiodied in office
Chester Alan Arthurschoolteacher, lawyer, tariff collector, vice president under Garfieldlawyer
Grover Clevelandsheriff, lawyer, mayor, governor of New Yorkreelected president
Benjamin Harrisonlawyer, soldier, journalist, U.S. senator from Indianalawyer, lecturer
William McKinleysoldier, lawyer, U.S. congressman, governor of Ohiodied in office
Theodore Rooseveltrancher, soldier, governor of New York, vice president under McKinleyhunter, writer
William Howard Taftlawyer, judge, dean of the University of Cincinnati Law School, U.S. secretary of war professor, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
Woodrow Wilsonlawyer, professor, president of Princeton University, governor of New Jerseyretired in poor health
Warren Gamaliel Hardingnewspaper editor, U.S. senator from Ohiodied in office
Calvin Coolidgelawyer, governor of Massachusetts, vice president under Hardingwriter, president of the American Antiquarian Society
Herbert Clark Hooverengineer, U.S. secretary of commercechair of the Hoover Commission on administrative reform
Franklin Delano Rooseveltlawyer, governor of New Yorkdied in office
Harry S. Trumanfarmer, soldier, haberdasher, judge, U.S. senator, vice president under Rooseveltwriter
Dwight David Eisenhowersupreme commander of the Allied forces in Europe, U.S. Army chief of staffwriter
John Fitzgerald Kennedyjournalist, U.S. congressman, U.S. senator from Massachusettsdied in office
Lyndon Baines Johnsonschoolteacher, soldier, congressman, U.S. senator from Texas, vice president under Kennedyrancher, writer
Richard Milhous Nixonlawyer, U.S. congressman, U.S. senator, vice president under Eisenhowerwriter
Gerald Rudolph Fordlawyer, U.S. congressman, vice president under Nixonwriter
James Earl Carter, Jr.peanut farmer, governor of Georgiawriter, humanitarian, Nobel-prize winning statesman
Ronald Wilson Reaganmovie actor, corporate spokesman, governor of Californiawriter
George Herbert Walker Bushoil executive, U.S. congressman, U.S. ambassador to the UN, Director of CIA, vice president under Reaganprivate citizen; teamed with President Clinton to form tsunami and Hurricane Katrina aid funds
William Jefferson Clintonlawyer, governor of Arkansaswriter, independent ambassador; teamed with President G.H.W. Bush to form tsunami and Hurricane Katrina aid funds
George Walker Bushoil executive, sport team owner, governor of Texaspublic speaker; written a book about his life entitled Decision Points
Barack Hussein Obama, organizer, civil rights lawyer, constitutional law professor, Illinois state senator, U.S. senator

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