Essay:Politicians Who Had a Real Career

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Significant politicians with a real former career

This is a list of significant politicians who had a real career (outside of politics):

  • Michele Bachmann - homeschooled her 5 children and also helped raise 23 foster children.[1]
  • Jim Bunning - Hall of Fame Major League Baseball pitcher and visionary who stood against government spending
  • Neville Chamberlain - Prime Minister of the UK, formerly accountant and businessman (metal trade). Major positive influence on UK domestic policy, especially strengthening economy, but lacked experience in foreign policy at a crucial time.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower - military general, who was the leader of Allied European forces in the Second World War and Supreme Commander of NATO.
  • Benjamin Franklin - printer, author, postmaster, inventor, and Founding Father
  • Barry Goldwater - manager of family department store and an air force general before winning a stunning upset victory for the Republican nomination for president in 1964, moving the entire Party to the right.
  • Denis Healey - Long-serving UK Chancellor who laid the foundations of British prosperity in the 1980s and 1990s by introducing monetarism; formerly a soldier (he was beachmaster at Anzio).
  • Mohammed Ali Jinnah - Had a successful practice as a barrister, first at Lincoln's Inn in London then at the Bombay High Court, for 31 years; recognised as one of the finest Indian lawyers of his time[2]. Elected to the Legislative Assembly; acknowledged throughout South Asia as one of the three main leaders of the Indian independence movement, with Gandhi and Nehru; and founder of Pakistan where he is known as Father of the Nation.[3]
  • Mustafa Kemal Atatürk - military general, secularist reformer, and author. Leader of the Turkish National Movement. Founder and the first President of the modern Turkish state.
  • Jack Kemp - star professional football player (quarterback) and architect of the Kemp-Roth tax cuts in the 1980s
  • Harold Macmillan - Prime Minister of the UK, previously a soldier and publisher. Ended the British Empire in Africa and strengthened the UK's nuclear defences.
  • John Major - Prime Minister of the UK, bank executive. Major contribution to peace in Northern Ireland and took UK out of disastrous European Exchange Rate Mechanism.
  • Rand Paul - physician (ophthalmologist) and now a major influence in the U.S. Senate for cutting spending
  • Ron Paul - physician (obstetrician), perhaps the single most influential presidential candidate in the past decade
  • Ronald Reagan - actor, president of the Screen Actors Guild, and spokesman for General Electric; architect of the defeat of communism
  • Lech Walesa - President of Poland 1990-95, Electrician and Trade Union activist who became President of Poland. Solidarity strikes in 1980 led eventually to collapse of Warsaw Pact and end of communism in eastern Europe.
  • George Washington - successful military general, land surveyor,[4] and real estate investor
  • Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington - General who defeated Napoleon. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and leading conservative politician of second quarter of 19th century. Legislated for emancipation of Roman Catholics in Britain and Ireland.

No clear influence in politics

  • William Beveridge - Charity worker who was introduced to government by Winston Churchill and introduced the Welfare State to the United Kingdom
  • Michael Bloomberg - two term Mayor of New York, controls the market for stock quote machines used primarily in Wall Street institutions
  • Bill Bradley - Hall of Fame NBA Basketball player who opposed Reagan's first set of tax cuts[5] but sponsored of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, the second of the major Reagan tax cuts.
  • Jim Bunning - Hall of Fame Major League Baseball pitcher and visionary who stood against government spending
  • George W. Bush - 43rd President of the US, oil businessman, co-owner and managing general partner of the Texas Rangers. Cut taxes and placed two strong conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Maria Cantwell - software company executive (Real Networks, who make RealPlayer)
  • Jimmie Davis - accomplished singer ("You Are My Sunshine") who served two non-consecutive terms as governor of Louisiana
  • Stephane Dion Professor of Political Science at Université de Moncton and Université de Montreal.
  • Clint Eastwood - actor, film director
  • Mike Enzi - accountant
  • Bill Foster - physicist at the government-subsidized Fermilab
  • Al Franken - US Senator for the State of Minnesota, formerly a comedian (Saturday Night Live)
  • John Glenn - former US Senator for Ohio, chief author 1978 Nonproliferation Act, Chairman of Committee on Governmental Affairs 1987-1995, Marine Corps pilot, NASA astronaut
  • Stephen Harper - Economist, head of National Citizens Coalition (Canada's main conservative think tank)
  • Herbert Hoover - 31st President of the USA, former geologist, mining engineer
  • Rush Holt - assistant director of the government-subsidized Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
  • Chris Huhne - journalist, including roles as business editor of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday
  • Michael Ignatieff Professor at the Kennedy School of Government, author, television host.
  • Glenda Jackson - Member of UK Parliament since 1992, double Oscar-winning actress who helped force out Tony Blair
  • Ron Johnson - was CEO of PACUS, a plastics Mfg, before becoming U.S. Senator for Wisconsin; rejected Obama judicial nominees for his area soon after taking office
  • John Key - before becoming New Zealander Prime Minister, Key was a successful businessman and broker for Merril Lynch.
  • Steve Largent - National football star for the Seattle Seahawks
  • René Lévesque - Journalist.
  • Brian Mulroney Prime Minister of Canada, Truck driver, lawyer, head of Iron Ore Corporation.
  • Barack Obama, one of 43 presidents of the United States; perhaps the least influential in a century. (See also below)
  • Jacques Parizeau Economist.
  • Condoleeza Rice - 66th US Secretary of State, National Security Advisor, professor and Provost at Stanford University, served on the boards of several large corporations, senior fellow at the Institute of International Studies. Major influence on US foreign policy under George Bush Jr.
  • Alex Salmond - First Minister of Scotland, economist and banker
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger - Governor of California, professional bodybuilder based on steroid use, actor
  • Rick Scott - former CEO of a major hospital network, now the innovative Governor of Florida
  • Heath Shuler - former businessman and former National Football League quarterback
  • Rick Snyder - President and COO of Gateway during the 1990s, later elected Governor of Michigan in 2010
  • Pat Toomey - worked for ChemicalBank, opened Rookie's Restaurant & the former president for The Club for Growth; now a Senator for Pennsylvania.
  • Pierre Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, lawyer, professor at Université de Montréal. Repatriated Canada's constitution.
  • Mitt Romney - former Governor of Massachusetts, GOP Presidential candidate in 2008, frontrunner in 2012 GOP Presidential nominees, CEO of Bain & Company, an investment company
  • Scott Walker - worked for IBM and the American Red Cross before politics; now conservative Governor of Wisconsin.

Careers outside of government that need further discussion

  • Jimmy Carter - 39th President of the US, naval officer, peanut farmer ... or was it mostly administrative work and local government positions?
  • Dick Cheney - most of his life was government but he had a Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer position at Halliburton prior to VP.
  • Winston Churchill - cavalry officer for 6 years; then a leading politician for 55 years, becoming Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and a renowned wartime leader while also being an accomplished historian
  • Calvin Coolidge - law practice and state politics
  • Reinhard Heydrich - previously a naval officer, arguably the very worst of the senior Nazis.
  • Vladimir Ilyich Lenin - first dictator of the Soviet Union: came from a minor affluent Russian family and became a lawyer specializing in labor rights, though he never saw a case.
  • John Jay-lawyer
  • Barack Obama - President of the US, claimed to organize church community groups, while not attending church himself; was a non-tenure-track part-time instructor in law at the University of Chicago.
  • Rick Santorum - former US Senator of Pennsylvania, Chairman of Senate Republican Conference, GOP Presidential primary candidate 2012, attorney
  • Margaret Thatcher - food chemist then barrister specialising in taxation; the "Iron Lady" who pioneered privatisation, ended trade union control of the British economy and worked with Reagan to end the menace of communism


(please add examples)


  1. Bachmann has also worked as a tax attorney for the IRS [1] and runs small business with her husband Marcus [2].
  4. George Washington as a Land Surveyor