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.
|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|
|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
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
Bill Clinton. (Note that Binyamin Netanyahu of Israel was left-handed, too — very handy for writing Hebrew.)
George Bush senior
And another one of Ronald Reagan showing him to be a right-handed writer