Saturday, July 31, 2010

The 10 Richest Presidents

Forbes put together a great story on the 10 wealthiest Presidents of the United States. To see what Presidential faces grace the list, check out a segment of the story below or watch this slideshow on

Don't believe all that born-in-a-log-cabin hype. Only four United States presidents actually started out that way, Abraham Lincoln being the most famous. By the time the other three, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan and James A. Garfield, entered the nation's highest office, they shared one trait with its other 40 occupants: All had achieved a certain measure of financial prosperity.

Despite two centuries of campaign rhetoric touting identification with the common man, the simple fact is that no truly poor individual ever has become president of the United States.

Can anyone grow up to be president? If history is a judge, one just cannot become President unless they first amass sufficient financial wherewithal to withstand often income-less political races. (If Sarah Palin runs for president she'll need that $10 million Forbes estimates she has earned in book advances and speaking fees over the past year.)

Like citizens themselves, some presidents have been richer than others as they exercised their weighty responsibilities. Who were the flushest?

For our money, George Washington wins hands down. In the largely tax-free environment that characterized colonial America, he was considered one of its richest residents, a product of his shrewd business sense, a marriage to a wealthy widow and several inheritances. He benefited from an older brother's marriage into a powerful family, while early work as a surveyor helped give him a keen understanding of land.

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