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Left Handed Presidents of the United States

There have been far more left-handed Presidents of the United States than would be expected from the proportion of the population that are left-handed, and in recent years the left-handers have almost completely taken over!

5 of the last 7 US Presidents have been left-handed – that must say something!

Going back into history it is hard to know whether past presidents were really left-handed or not as there was such a stong cultural pressure to make them change and write right-handed. Also, this phenomenon does not appear to be reproduced in other countries, so we are not sure quite why left-handers have been so successful in US Politics in recent years.

Name Number Party Term Notes
James Garfield 20 Rep 1831-1881 Usually noted as the first left-handed president but there is no definitive proof. It was said he could simultaneously write Latin with his right hand and Greek with his left
Herbert Hoover 31 Rep 1929-1933 Normally described as left-handed, though this has been disputed
Harry Truman 33 Dem 1945-1953 Lefthander forced at school to change and write with his right
Gerald Ford 38 Rep 1974-1977 Also said to be ambidextrous. He described himself as “left-handed sitting down and right-handed standing up”.
Ronald Reagan 40 Rep 1981-1989 Natural lefthander forced by teachers to write right-handed (see below)
George H W Bush 41 Rep 1989-1993  
William Clinton 42 Dem 1993-2001  
Barack Obama 44 Dem 2009-Present Signing inaugural documents on 20 January 2009, he said “I'm a lefty, get used to it!”

Left handed elections?

In recent years, not only has the President been left-handed but a lot of the unsuccessful candidates were also left-handed. In the 1992 election, all three major candidates – George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot – were left-handed. The 1996 election also involved three left-handed candidates: Clinton, Perot, and Bob Dole (who learned to use his left hand after his right hand was paralyzed by a World War II injury). Both major-party candidates in the 2008 presidential election – Barack Obama and John McCain – were left-handed.

Links to information on left-handed presidents

There are links to the best websites we could find in our links directory here:

Famous Left-Handers / United Stated Presidents

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan - a switched left-hander?There is some doubt about Hoover and Reagan as some images seem to show both of then writing right-handed, but often images get flipped unintentionally. Our “Left Handed History Of The World” book includes Reagan among the left-handed presidents – was he made to change hands for writing? We had a few comments from Club Members on this:

  • The photo of President Reagan is not flipped. He always had his hair parted on that side so he is writing right-handed in this photo.
  • Ronald Reagan was switched to right-handed methods in elementary school.
  • That picture of Reagan at his desk has not been flipped. The American flag is always on the President's right when he's sitting at his desk.
  • If you look closely you will see that the buttoning on the jackets of the men and women in the picture have not been reversed therefore Reagan must be writing with his right hand.

Additionally, several photographs exist showing Reagan throwing baseballs and footballs as a right-hander. However, Ronald Reagan did wear and display his weapon on his left hip and left hand, when he played a cowboy during his acting career.

More pictures of left handed United States Presidents

Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford left handed president

Bill Clinton. (Note that Binyamin Netanyahu of Israel was left-handed, too — very handy for writing Hebrew.)
Bill Clinton - left-handed president

George Bush senior
George Bush - lefthanded president

And another one of Ronald Reagan showing him to be a right-handed writer
Ronald Reagan - a right-handed writer

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One comment on “Left handed presidents of the United States
  1. Iris Misquitta says:

    Hi,This is Iris,a retired school teacher,from Mumbai,India.When I was a little girl I used to write with my left-hand because,it is hereditary on my dad’s side.My younger brother,Jude too,is left-handed. Due to this trait,I observed that,most people would stare at me in wonder. My son and,eldest grand- daughter too,are left-handed. When I started teaching in a church school,I could not write on thr blackboard with my left hand,So,I used my right hand because,I had no choice.Hence,I became ambi-dexterous. What do you think?

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