Many of the nation's early presidents were successful businessmen as well as political leaders. George Washington was a wealthy landowner who took an active role in managing his vast estate before leading the Continental Army.
Wendell Willkie was the last person before Donald Trump to have never held government office prior to winning the Republican nomination. Willkie had been a successful lawyer and later became president of Commonwealth & Southern, a major electric utilities holding company based in New York.
Before entering politics, Harry Truman was a haberdasher, the owner of a men's clothing store. The store was a failure, and he spent years repaying related debts. He fared far better as a president than as a businessman, frequently ranked by historians as one of the top five presidents.
"After all," Calvin Coolidge once said, "the chief business of the American people is business." Coolidge's business was primarily that of a career politician, but he also worked for some time as the vice president of the Nonotuck Savings Bank in Northampton, Massachusetts.
After serving in World War II and graduating from Yale University, George H.W. Bush traveled to Midland, Texas, where he began working in the oil industry. His son, George W. Bush, was also involved in the oil business in Texas.
Ross Perot started off as a data processing salesman for IBM in the late 1950s in Texas before founding the Electronic Data Systems Corp., which would eventually make him a billionaire. In 1992, Perot made an independent run for president.
Mitt Romney was a successful executive for the private equity firm Bain Capital before jumping into the world of politics. He eventually became governor of Massachusetts before White House bids in 2008 and 2012.
Several business executives have sought the presidency in recent elections, but most never made it past the party nomination process. Former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain ran in the Republican race in 2012 and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina did so this past year.
Donald Trump's entry into the 2016 presidential race was initially met with skepticism, but the eccentric New York real estate developer proved himself to be a skilled politician with a talent for attracting media attention. Trump held his front-runner status throughout the primary season, earning more votes ahead of the GOP convention than any candidate in the party's history.