The most surprising jobs held by US presidents

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By ALEX GREER

When Barack Obama assumed office, he joined a long list of presidents who had previously been lawyers. In fact, 25 U.S. presidents have had careers in law -- more than any other profession.

However, not all presidents have followed the traditional path to the White House (see: Theodore Roosevelt). InsideGov looked at the former jobs of presidents and found some of the most surprising.

From men's haberdasher to movie star, here are some of the most interesting jobs held by future presidents, listed in chronological order:

#25. Thomas Jefferson

Interesting Job: Architect

Like many of the Founding Fathers, Jefferson was a land speculator and plantation owner. As a renaissance man, Jefferson also dabbled in other professions before assuming the presidency, such as architecture.

#24. John Quincy Adams

Interesting Job: College Professor

The younger Adams actually quit politics before returning to serve as president. In 1808, Adams resigned from the Senate to be a professor at Harvard.

#23. Abraham Lincoln

Interesting Job: Postmaster

When he was 24, Abraham Lincoln served as the postmaster of New Salem, Ill. According to U.S. Official Register records, Lincoln received a total of $55.70 in 1835 for his work.

#22. Andrew Johnson

Interesting Job: Tailor

Johnson's rise to the presidency is nothing short of remarkable. Born in a log cabin in backwoods North Carolina, Johnson worked as a tailor before deciding to enter local politics.

#21. James Garfield

Interesting Job: School Janitor

While studying at the Eclectic Institute in Ohio, Garfield worked as a school janitor to earn a living. He also served as a part-time teacher.

#20. Chester Arthur

Interesting Job: Tariff Collector

Arthur made a lucrative living as the official Collector of the Port of New York. In addition to his salary, Arthur augmented his income with salary kickbacks from customs house employees.

#19. Grover Cleveland

Interesting Job: Sheriff

Famous for his stubbornness and strong sense of fairness, Cleveland was an intimidating sheriff of Erie County, N.Y. After personally hanging two criminals, Cleveland came to be known as "the hangman of Buffalo."

#18. Benjamin Harrison

Interesting Job: Reporter

Harrison served as the state reporter for the Supreme Court of Indiana, but later decided to enlist in the army at the start of the Civil War.

#17. Theodore Roosevelt

Interesting Job: Cattle Rancher

An avid outdoorsman, Teddy Roosevelt left New York City to become a cowboy. Roosevelt owned and operated a cattle ranch in the wild Dakota Territories.

#16. William H. Taft

Interesting Job: Law School Dean

Unlike many young aspiring politicians, Taft did not dream of becoming president. Instead he wanted to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court—a position he would eventually hold. Before that, though, Taft had served as a professor and dean of the University of Cincinnati Law School.

#15. Woodrow Wilson

Interesting Job: President of Princeton University

Highly academic in nature, Wilson was a natural fit as the president of Princeton University.

#14. Warren G. Harding

Interesting Job: Newspaper Editor

Harding was the publisher and editor of a newspaper in Marion, Ohio. Harding's wife, Florence, also played a pivotal role in running the paper.

#13. Calvin Coolidge

Interesting Job: Toymaker

To help pay for his high school education, Coolidge took a weekend job making doll carriages at the Ludlow Toy Manufacturing Company. Post-college, Coolidge followed the more mainstream path to politics and became a lawyer.

#12. Herbert Hoover

Interesting Job: Geologist/Mining Engineer

A trained geologist, Hoover worked for a gold mining company in Australia as an engineer. Although he started out in the mines, Hoover quickly rose in the ranks and made a small fortune as an executive.

#11. Harry S. Truman

Interesting Job: Haberdasher

Before entering politics, Truman and his military friend Edward Jacobsen started a men's haberdashery in Kansas City. The initial success of the store was short-lived; Truman closed the shop in 1922, less than three years after its opening.

#10. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Interesting Job: President of Columbia University

Aside from his eight-year presidency, Eisenhower is best known as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe. But between those two jobs, Eisenhower also served as president of Columbia University from 1948-1953.

#9. John F. Kennedy

Interesting Job: Journalist

JFK had a short run as a political journalist before deciding to enter politics himself. He also authored two successful books before becoming president, "Why England Slept" (1940) and "Profiles in Courage" (1956).

#8. Lyndon B. Johnson

Interesting Job: Schoolteacher

Born in rural Texas, Johnson left his family farm to become a classroom teacher. He began teaching at an impoverished Hispanic school in in Cotulla, Texas.

#7. Richard Nixon

Interesting Job: Grocery Clerk

Richard Nixon grew up on the edge of poverty. His family owned a small grocery store in Whittier, Calif., where he worked as a clerk and washer.

#6. Gerald Ford

Interesting Job: Park Ranger

In 1936, Gerald Ford worked as a park ranger at Yellowstone National Park. One of Ford's more interesting assignments was serving as an armed guard on the bear-feeding truck.

#5. Jimmy Carter

Interesting Job: Peanut Farmer

Following the Nixon and Ford administrations, Carter appealed to the public as being a Washington outside. His background as a peanut farmer in Georgia was certainly a nontraditional starting place for a president.

#4. Ronald Reagan

Interesting Job: Movie Actor

Reagan had a successful career in Hollywood, starring in over 50 films. He acquired his lifelong nickname "the Gipper" from his role in the film "Knute Rockne, All American."

#3. George H. W. Bush

Interesting Job: Oil Executive

After graduating from Yale, Bush Sr. moved his family to Texas, where he would start his own oil company and later serve as president of the Zapata Offshore Company. By the time he entered politics Bush was a millionaire.

#2. George W. Bush

Interesting Job: Sports Team Owner

Like his father, George W. Bush worked in the oil industry. However, the younger Bush also served as managing general partner of the Texas Rangers baseball franchise for five years.

#1. Barack Obama

Interesting Job: Ice Cream Scooper

One of President Obama's earliest jobs was working as an ice cream scooper at a Baskin-Robbins in Honolulu. Obama has stated that he lost his taste for ice cream after the job.

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