What Did They Do Before They Were President?


obama oath of office presidential qualified

President Obama taking his first oath of office, administered by Chief Justice John Roberts, in 2009. (Wikimedia Commons)

There's been a ton of debate about who's qualified to be president and who's not. Is Hillary Clinton? Is Bernie Sanders? Is Donald Trump? What about Ted Cruz and John Kasich?

What kind of experience makes you good Oval Office material? What does it mean to be presidential?

Good questions. A lot of the 44 men we've elected president have been lawyers, and most have held prior public office. But before they moved into the White House, some of our former presidents also did some things that may surprise you.


__________ was a teacher and a tax collector.

Chester Arthur
William McKinley
Rutherford Hayes

__________ was a postmaster.

Franklin Pierce
Abraham Lincoln
James Monroe

__________ was a newspaper editor.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Warren G. Harding
Woodrow Wilson

__________ was a movie actor.

John F. Kennedy
George W. Bush
Ronald Reagan

__________ was a peanut farmer.

Jimmy Carter
Bill Clinton
Dwight Eisenhower

__________ was a surveyor and a planter.

Teddy Roosevelt
George Washington
Martin Van Buren

__________ was a soldier.

Andrew Johnson
Zachary Taylor
William Howard Taft

__________ was a sheriff.

Grover Cleveland
Calvin Coolidge
Gerald Ford

__________ was an engineer.

Herbert Hoover
Lyndon Johnson
Benjamin Harrison

__________ was an inventor and architect.

James Polk
Franklin Pierce
Thomas Jefferson

What Did They Do Before They Were President?

Holly Epstein Ojalvo

Holly’s mission is to inform, inspire, and empower engaged activists who will change the world. She was previously an editor at The New York Times and a high school teacher. She spent her brief 20’s slump at a mousepad factory. Holly earned a B.A. at Lafayette College and M.A.'s at U Delaware and NYU. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, daughter, and cat, Tomie Twotone. Follow: @heoj.

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