This is part one of a five part series on the wealthiest presidents. Somewhat unsurprisingly, this list includes what many scholars agree are the best presidents in United States history, with J.F.K. being regarded as the worst of the group. All of these men accumulated their wealth in different manners; while some amassed a good portion of their wealth through inheritance, others were self-made men. The important common theme between all of these great men, though, was their enterprising nature. This carried over into all aspects of their lives and is undoubtedly part of what made them all such great leaders of this country. For any finance readers, this is also a fairly impressive referendum on the power of the time-value of money.
Spoiler Alert – There was a lot of money in cash crops…
5. Andrew Jackson – $119 Million in 2010 USD
Old Hickory is the most interesting and in many ways, most impressive man on this list. Jackson is the only one of these presidents to grow up with nothing and inherit nothing. Born a bastard when his father passed away weeks prior to Jackson’s birth, he was an entirely self-made man. He became a country lawyer on the Tennessee frontier, and later became a judge and Congressman. Jackson also enjoyed immense success in the military, rising to the rank of General. A side note for the sports fans out there – The University of Tennessee athletic teams derived their name from the Tennessee Volunteer Corps made famous by its role in the War of 1812, the Seminole War in Florida, and the Mexican American War. The Tennessee Volunteers of the two former wars were led by none other than Andrew Jackson.
He leveraged his success to buy The Hermitage, his famous 1,000+ acre plantation in Tennessee. He grew cotton, tobacco and wheat, and in time became one of the premier landowners in Tennessee. His military forays benefited him greatly in this manner, as well. His dealings with Native Americans in the Seminole War in Florida gave him great leverage to be able to negotiate the sale of land from the Choctaw Nation that would comprise much of Western Tennessee. He became maybe the greatest land prospector in the region, and (little known fact) went on to be one of the three co-founders of Memphis, Tenn. As is tragically common among many early Presidents, though, Andrew Jackson passed away deep in debt.