Much fanfare has been made about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s considerable wealth this election cycle. While Romney is remarkably wealthy, where would he stand among the 10 wealthiest presidents in U.S. history if elected into office in November?
Depending on who you ask, Romney would be second or third. His net wealth of about $200 million places him in elite company with the very founders of our nation. Take a look at the other 10 weathiest U.S. presidents below (amounts in today's dollars):
10. John F. Kennedy, Jr.
Kennedy’s fortune is at estimated around $1 billion, but he never realized any of that wealth since he died at such a young age. Had Kennedy not been assassinated and lived long enough to inherit the trust he was entitled to, he would likely be wealthier than all presidents combined. Since his wealth was never fully earned, he earns an honorary place on the list at #10.
9. Bill Clinton - $38 million
Clinton was not a wealthy man when he took office, nor was he when he left the presidency. His popularity and scandals led him and his wife Hillary to book deals. Clinton’s many speaking engagements also earned him large amounts as well.
8. Franklin Delano Roosevelt - $60 million
FDR may have taken office at the height of the Great Depression, but he couldn’t have been further from the suffering of those in Hooverville. He owned properties in multiple states and found the rest of his wealth through both inheritance and his wife’s family.
7. Herbert Hoover - $75 million
Hoover earned his fortune in the mining industry after growing up an orphan. He came into office at the height of the roaring twenties and left in the middle of the Great Depression with New York’s Central Park filled with homeless people in a settlement referred to as Hooverville.
6. Lyndon Baines Johnson - $98 million
LBJ did not grow up wealthy or marry into wealth, he earned his fortune on his own. By the time Johnson ran for office he owned around 1,500 acres of land in Texas, a radio and TV station in Austin, livestock, aircraft and numerous other holdings.
5. James Madison - $101 million
No one owned more land in Orange County, Virginia, than Madison. His 5,000 acres included the famous Montpelier estate. He also earned a lot of money as both secretary of state and president. Madison did not die the way he lived though, a panic at the end of his life caused the collapse of his plantation.
4. Andrew Jackson - $119 million
Jackson made his money the easy way, by marrying into wealth. He used his inheritance to purchase over 1,000 acres of land and amass over 300 slaves at his plantation.
3. Theodore Roosevelt - $125 million
Teddy Roosevelt was born into a life of privilege. His trust fund enabled him to become a rancher in the Midwest. He lost almost everything and wrote numerous books including his autobiography titled The Rough Riders. The Freemason also earned considerable money writing his four book anthology The Winning of the West before entering public service and eventually becoming president. Sagamore Hill, his 235 acre estate, overlooks Oyster Bay on Long Island’s north shore that is often referred to as it’s Gold Coast.
2. Thomas Jefferson - $212 million
The debate as to where Romney’s wealth would sit in the annals of presidential history hinges on who estimates both his and Jefferson’s wealth. Jefferson inherited over 3,000 acres of land and dozens of slaves early in his life. He also made another small fortune in public service that enabled him to build Monticello, his famous plantation on 5,000 prime Virginia acres of land. He somehow died in debt.
1. George Washington - $525 million
The United States’ first president was also its’ wealthiest. Not only was Washington’s salary 2% of the young country’s budget, but he also inherited property from his wife Marsha’s family as well. Mount Vernon, his 8,000 acre plantation in Virginia, contained numerous farms and hundreds of slaves. Washington was not only our weathiest president, but he was the wealthiest patriot as well.