Special Report

What Every President Did After Leaving the White House

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

George Washington
> Presidential term: 1789-1797
> Occupation after leaving office: Plantation owner

Though highly admired, George Washington declined to serve a third term as president and retired to his plantation in Virginia. The estate, known as Mount Vernon, had been neglected while Washington was in office. Washington spent the last two years of his life trying to make it productive.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

John Adams
> Presidential term: 1797-1801
> Occupation after leaving office: Writer

John Adams became a prolific writer in his retirement. He spent about 25 years after leaving office writing columns, books, and letters. He mostly stayed in his home in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Source: National Archives / Getty Images

Thomas Jefferson
> Presidential term: 1801-1809
> Occupation after leaving office: Educator

Thomas Jefferson spent most of his retirement doing scientific experiments and research. He also at that time founded the University of Virginia. He not only designed the campus, but played a major role in setting up its curriculum, making sure the college had no religious affiliation.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

James Madison
> Presidential term: 1809-1817
> Occupation after leaving office: Rector of the University of Virginia

After leaving the White House, James Madison retired to his plantation in Virginia and remained active in many civic causes. In 1826, the former president became rector of the University of Virginia.

Source: Billy Hathorn / Wikimedia Commons

James Monroe
> Presidential term: 1817-1825
> Occupation after leaving office: Served on the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia

Immediately after leaving office, James Monroe worked towards paying off his huge financial debt accumulated while in office. Later, Monroe served on the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia and presided over a new constitution of the state of Virginia in 1829.

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