"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Net Worth of U.S. Presidents

George Washington
• Term: 1789-1797 (1st president)
• Peak net worth (in current dollars): $587.0 million
His Virginia plantation, “Mount Vernon,” consisted of five separate farms on 8,000 acres of prime farmland, run by over 300 slaves. His wife, Martha Washington, inherited a substantial amount of property from her first husband. Washington made significantly more than subsequent presidents: his salary was two percent of the total U.S. budget in 1789.

John Adams
• Term: 1797-1801 (2nd president)
• Peak net worth (in current dollars): $21.3 million
Adams received a modest inheritance from his father. His wife, Abigail Adams, was a member of the Quincys, a prestigious Massachusetts family. Adams owned a handsome estate in Quincy, Massachusetts. The estate, known as “Peacefield,” covered approximately 40 acres. He also had a thriving law practice.

Thomas Jefferson
• Term: 1801-1809 (3rd president)
• Peak net worth (in current dollars): $236.8 million
Jefferson was left 3,000 acres and several dozen slaves by his father. “Monticello,” his home on a 5,000 acre plantation in Virginia, was one of the architectural wonders of its time. He made significant money in various political positions before becoming president, but was left mired in debt towards the end of his life.

James Madison
• Term: 1809-1817 (4th president)
• Peak net worth (in current dollars): $113.3 million
Madison was the largest landowner in Orange County, Virginia, with land holding consisting of 5,000 acres and the “Montpelier” estate. He made significant money as secretary of state and president. Madison lost money at the end of his life due to the steady financial collapse of his plantation.

James Monroe
• Term: 1817-1825 (5th president)
• Peak net worth (in current dollars): $30.4 million
Monroe’s wife, Elizabeth, was the daughter of wealthy British officer. He made significant money during eight years as president, but entered retirement severely in debt and was forced to sell his Highland plantation, which included 3,500 acres.

John Quincy Adams,1844
A colorized version of the first photograph ever taken of a U.S. President

John Quincy Adams
• Term: 1825-1829 (6th president)
• Peak net worth (in current dollars): $23.3 million

Adams inherited most of his father’s land. His father, President John Adams, owned a 40 acre estate known as “Peacefield”. His wife was the daughter of a wealthy merchant. He devoted most of his adult life to public service, notably after leaving office.

A colorized photo of Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson
• Term: 1829-1837 (7th president)
• Peak net worth (in current dollars): $132.6 million
While he was considered to be in touch with the average middle class American, Jackson quietly became one of the wealthiest presidents of the 1800’s. “Old Hickory” married into wealth and made money in the military. His homestead ”The Hermitage” included 1,050 acres of prime real estate. Over the course of his life, he owned as many as 300 slaves.

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