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9 Presidents who started with minimum wage jobs

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Herbert Hoover (Photo: Getty Images)

Herbert Hoover (Photo: Getty Images)

Presidents are often criticized for being out of touch with the financial burdens of their constituents, with that criticism often stemming from the tax brackets they were born into.

This President’s Day, we’re looking at a different sort of leader.

In particular, we’re taking a look at nine different men who, at least from a professional standpoint, started at the bottom before taking the nation’s highest office.

Herbert Hoover: Miner

While still a teenager, Hoover and a friend started a company that sold and repaired sewing machines. The business failed, but it was not the future president’s only brush with entrepreneurship.

He enrolled at Stanford in 1891, in the university’s first class. Although tuition was free at the time, students still had to pay for room, board and books. To cover the costs Hoover ran a laundry service, a concert series and a campus paper route. He made a profit selling the laundry service to another student, allowing him to graduate with no debts and $40 in his pocket, according to a biography written by Amy Ruth.

After graduating, Hoover took a job pushing carts underground in mine shafts in California. He earned $2 a day, working 70 hours a week, according to presidential historian Richard Norton Smith. That daily wage is equal to $56 today.

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