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The 15 richest U.S. presidents

Published: Thursday, June 26 2014 10:19 p.m. MDT

Hillary Clinton has recently come under fire for stating that she and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, were "dead broke" upon leaving the White House, with critics saying that such a statement was out of touch with the real world and the average American.

While it would seem that Americans tend to distrust wealthy politicians and seek presidents who can relate to them financially, historically the U.S. has elected presidents from a wide range of economic backgrounds. Abraham Lincoln may have had an adjusted net worth of less than $1 million, but one of his successors has been valued at upwards of 1 billion dollars.

This list features the 15 richest U.S. presidents at the peak of their financial success, in or out of office, with net worth adjusted to fit today's economy and monetary values. Facts and totals have been taken from TIME and The Atlantic.
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Understands Math
Lacey, WA

This is ridiculous. How were these amounts determined? Is it what their estates would be worth today in today's market?

I find it difficult to imagine Jefferson on any richest president list, as one of the major reasons he ran for president is for the salary. His book collection became the beginnings of the Library of Congress because he needed the money that Congress would pay him for his thousands of books.

Rather than freeing his slaves in his will (including Sally Hemings who was probably his lover and definitely his wife's half-sister), he bequeathed them to his daughter Martha, who auctioned them to pay his debts. A horrible postscript to the life of the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence.

patriot
Cedar Hills, UT

as Barack would say to all of his former White House mates "you didn't earn that money, the government did". I would love to hear JFK and Barack debate that one....socialist vs capitalist.

David
Centerville, UT

It is interesting to note that both Democrats and Republicans are about equally represented on this list of wealthy presidents. Is it disingenuous and hypocritical for Democrats to claim an understanding for the poor and middle class over and above Republicans?

Many wealthy democrats claim to want to help the poor, but statistics of charitable giving show otherwise when compared to conservatives, and despite having Democratic presidents in power for nearly 16 of the past 24 years, the divide between Middle Class and the wealthy has grown tremendously.

Their speech does not match their behavior and results.

kaysvillecougar
KAYSVILLE, UT

It's amazing how the mainstream media reshape history. One of the greatest examples is how the Kennedy's are presented. In reality, much of their money came from bootlegging. JFK's Dad was an ambitious, unfaithful man who perfected "insider trading." The spine of insider trading laws were based on his low deals. And our current president and his team rake Mitt Romney of the coals for earning his money honestly. Truly amazing! In the words of our current pres, I just don't think Mitt or I have "been given a fair shake." Now it's laughable to see Hillary (Sir Edmond's relative) squirm with the discomfort of having to explain why they have $40 million.

Instereo
Eureka, UT

This seems like a really misleading article. "Understands Math" made a comment about Jefferson that hit the mark. When he passed he was deeply in debt and his estate was sold to cover it. Let alone the broken promises to his slaves (and obviously, some of his family). John Adams on the other hand left an estate worth over 200K in those times (it wasn't figured into todays money but should have been) and his estate stayed in his family until 1946 when it was donated to the state of Massachusetts and subsequently turned over the the Federal Park System.

Also, some seem to look at Democrat/Republican not realizing that over the history of this county there have been times when the Democratic Party was the conservative party and the Republicans were the Liberal/Progressives.

Finally does it really matter. What our country needs is someone to serve the people, not the select few.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

let no mud go to waste.

Lest we take comfort in the fact that the President of the United State is the only elected member of the national government the republicans have to point out that the president is always a part of the rich and powerful.

Gene Poole
SLC, UT

For a true comparison of the net worths of each of these Presidents is to put it in today's values. As an example when I was a kid, I could buy 10 loves of bread for $1 and a dozen eggs for 5 cents. Gasoline was 8 cents a gallon. Inflationary values have not been taken into account for this "list". Consider how the list would be created if it was based upon the value these Presidents added to the country rather than their personal new worth. Wealth is great but not all the money in the world will give you extra space in the world beyond. It is the value of the man (and woman) in what they have given to the world in their service that truly equates to their "richness". (As an aside: The current net income for the Clintons since Bill Clinton left office is $100 million. He and Hillary have had to really rough it. I am sad for them. And why isn't the current President listed? It was alluded to in the beginning of the article). BTW, Hillary was named after Sir Edmund. That's as far as it goes.

LittleStream
Carson City, NV

I would like to see an article based on their values and ethics. I would rather see an article based on their accomplishments while in office. We place too much importance on money in this country. We have practically forgotten ethics and the golden rule. So sad for this country. We have gone the way of all the other countries, learning nothing from history.

loraleechoate
Logan, UT

This article is ridiculous. Firstly, George Washington made exactly the same annual salary as his successors: $25,000 (which he initially refuse to accept).

I won't even go to a second point because If someone makes such a historical error like that, I don't get much of the rest of the article much weight. Especially when it seems glaringly obvious they have little to no concept of eighteenth-century currency (Or history, it seems) versus today's currency.

Just for kicks and giggles, the American president actually makes lower money in terms of worth today then really any other time in history. The high point was at the turn of the century when the president made the equivalent in today's money at roughly 2 million dollars.

Joan Watson
TWIN FALLS, ID

Lacey: Thomas Jefferson loved two women besides his daughters. His adored wife Patty, and after she died, while he was in France, he met, admired, and fell in love with the very intelligent and accomplished Maria Cosway - but she was married.
He became president, not for the money, but because of his determined belief in a constitutional Republic government. Rather than digest all the titilating untrue stories and history of Thomas Jefferson, Perhaps reading a autobiography written by Alf J. Mapp, might make one more appreciative of this outstanding brilliant, man, of whom we owe so much.

Frank Fourth
New York, NY

Ultra Bob, we don't elect the president, the Electoral College does. That's come up recently.

brotherJonathan
SLC, UT

The real question is simple. If a person goes into political office with X amount of money and income. Come out of office with 2X or more...
I would conclude that bribery has taken place...
Money should be returned to the people. By use of our courts: Unjust enrichment is a law to return unearned money or property that was not justly gotten..
You can't make profit off of public office.
that is illegal and violates ethics rules that must be enforced.
Bribery rules are not enforced if done in the prescribed manor..
Very carefully not to appear as unlawful activities.
If the Bushes went from 20 million to 100 million is assets..
80 of those millions belong to the people..You can't make fortunes off of a public office.
This is not lawful behavior.

GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA

"Hillary Clinton has recently come under fire for stating that she and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, were "dead broke" upon leaving the White House, with critics saying that such a statement was out of touch with the real world and the average American."

And the "Conservative" critics who make those claims base their opinions purely on their prejudices. And once again the project to beat the band. The "Cosnervatives" who claim Hillary is "out of touch with the real world" are themselves perpetually out of touch with the real world.

Hey Patriot -

Thanks for demonstrating my point. Obama did not say "you didn't earn that money, the government did".

He said "You didn't build that." And he was speaking specifically of the social and political infrastructure made possible by the US Constitution and the US Government that allows people to prosper in this nation.

Have you ever wondered why so many falsehoods come from "Conservatives."

It's because facts rarely support their prejudices.

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