In the House of Cards,why does Frank Underwood value power over money as in today's times both of them are correlative? Also the power which he aspires to hold in the USA (i.e being the president) is also limited to a period of time i.e 8 years at max just like the money which according to him starts to diminish after 10 years. Below is the quote from the series

Such a waste of talent. He chose money over power. ... Money is the Mc-mansion in Sarasota that starts falling apart after 10 years. Power is the old stone building that stands for centuries.

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    F.U chooses power over money for the same reason you can't say who was the richest man in the world when Abraham Lincoln was President of the USA, or when Alexander the Great was conquering half of the known world at that time : he wants a name that will last longer than money. Money can offer power for a moment, while fame is History...
    – OldPadawan
    Jul 25, 2017 at 13:39
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    (I was working on answer for the question before it was closed, so I'll sum up my main point here): While a US president can only be in power for at most 8 years, a president's policies and work carry over long after they leave office. One of the major project's Frank is trying to push 'Am-works' is one such policy he hopes will last longer than his own life and be a major foundation of his legacy. Presidents from hundreds of years ago still have legacies going on today, while rich people of the past have little more than a name in the history books.
    – onewho
    Jul 25, 2017 at 13:42
  • @onewho ... go ahead
    – iandotkelly
    Jul 25, 2017 at 13:49

1 Answer 1


Above all else Frank wants to achieve a legacy. While most people create a legacy though having children Frank and Clair made the decision to never have children and instead focus on attaining power to create their legacy.

Frank identifies that the main two ways to attain a legacy (without children) are through attaining large amounts of money, or though attaining political power and making major policy changes. Frank identifies that monetary power fades after a generation or so, while major policy changes typically have repercussions for centuries.

When it comes to political power in the United States, it is easily argued that the President is the most powerful person in the nation. And while the current laws say a president can at most serve for 8 years, their polices typically have effects that last for generations. Presidents are also known to hold political influence long after they have left office.

For example Abraham Lincoln was behind the emancipation proclamation which went into effect Jan 1st 1863, but has effected every american generation since, as well as make Abraham Lincoln a household name. Around the same time the richest American was John D. Rockefeller; outside of having a square in New York City named after him, not many american's can easily identify who he was, and his empire has long since faded.

Frank hopes to be the next great president that creates policies that effect generations to come.

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    Not sure if JDR Sr. is the best example of someone whose legacy has faded. The successor firms to Standard Oil (ExxonMobil and Chevron) are still influencing the fate of nations more than 100 years after it was broken up; the universities that he helped found are considered world-class; and four generations of Rockefellers after him have been influential in arts philanthropy and international forums (such as Davos). And as for name recognition, at least 20 years ago, "Rockefeller" was still synonymous enough with money that Jay-Z chose "Roc-a-fella" as the name of his record label....
    – Kevin Troy
    Jul 25, 2017 at 22:44

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