1. Abraham Lincoln
His face may now appear on the penny, but at one time, Lincoln didn’t have a single cent to spare. Lincoln tried many occupations as a young man, including buying a general store in New Salem, Illinois, in 1832.
While he may have been terrific at splitting rails, winning debates, and wearing stovepipe hats, Honest Abe wasn’t much of a shopkeeper. Lincoln and his partner started buying out other stores’ inventories on credit, but their own sales were dismal.
As the store’s debts mounted, Lincoln sold his share, but when his partner died, the future President became liable for $1,000 in back payments. Lincoln didn’t have modern bankruptcy laws to protect him, so when his creditors took him to court, he lost his two remaining assets: a horse and some surveying gear. That wasn’t enough to foot his bill, though, and Lincoln continued paying off his debts until well into the
Lincoln’s not alone in the annals of bankrupt commanders-in-chief, though. Ulysses S. Grant went bankrupt after leaving office when a partner in an investment-banking venture swindled him.
Thomas Jefferson filed for bankruptcy several times, including after leaving office, possibly because he threw around a lot of cash on food and wine.
William McKinley went bankrupt while serving as Ohio’s governor in 1893; he was $130,000 in the red before eventually straightening out with the help of friends. He won the White House just three years later.
This, of couse, has nothing to do with the financial troubles of Christine O’Donnell
Labels: Bankrupt, Christine O’Donnell, Presidents