The United States has had 45 presidents in the 229 years since George Washington first took office.  

With Presidents Day coming up, we have chance to celebrate and reflect on the men who’ve led our nation through war, depression, innovation, discovery and growth.  

Before rising to the highest political office, the presidents came from all walks of life – rich and poor, rural and urban, some were well-educated, and others were not.  

These differing backgrounds lead to a wide array of unique jobs held by presidents in the time before their presidencies.  

Some held typical occupations: John Adams and William Howard Taft were lawyers. George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy served in the military.  

Apart from the lawyers and the service members, there are some interesting jobs that eventually presidents to their offices.  

·        Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman were business owners.  

·        Lyndon Johnson and Woodrow Wilson were educators.  

·        James Garfield was a preacher, and Herbert Hoover was a geologist and miner.  

·        Jimmy Carter worked as a peanut farmer in Georgia and was followed by Ronald Regan, who was an actor. 

Although they started in different places, they made it to the same destination. There are some common factors to thank for that.  

Many had an entrepreneurial spirit that drove them to invent, like Thomas Jefferson, or pioneer new ideas, like Dwight Eisenhower.  

They shared a desire to see the country progress and for freedom to remain intact.  

They showed a willingness to take on the difficulties of the job without backing down when war or difficult times struck. 

The lives of our presidents teach us that hard work, challenge and change can be embraced rather than ignored. Their lives also teach us that the American Dream is real – for the soldier, the peanut farmer, the actor, the minor and the teacher. Work, dedication and a belief in freedom can get you anywhere.