Anything Left-Handed > Famous left-handers > Left handed presidents of the United States

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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

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, or were they 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.

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12 comments on “Left handed presidents of the United States
  1. Lisa Huey says:

    We as a group are generally more adaptable and open because we learn to adjust from early on. My Mom tells of trying to make me a righty to no avail. If a toy was placed in my right hand I would stare at it in confusion until I transferred it to my left hand and then it was OH a rattle. I believe that we are all forced to be somewhat ambidextrous by our society. I am faster using a number keyboard with my right hand. Line dancing is a disaster for me, I get going and lose track and the next thing you know I am bumping to the left. I have a thought to create a left handed line dance group just to see if I can succeed.

  2. Jennifer Buksa says:

    I believe so, cindy. However I.Q. Is only a quotient

  3. Randy Smith says:

    I have always been left handed. My brother too…he cannot even do up his shirts in a reflection! But he cuts with scissors right, as I do…..teachers gave me those nasty green-handled scissors because I was a lefty! I couldn’t even use them! My grandfather was a lefty too. Does seem odd, since my parents are both righties! Go south paws!

  4. 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?

  5. Robert Raw says:

    Looking at the photo, it looks as if Benjamin Netanyahu is also left handed.
    Why don’t laptop producers design a product that has a numbering system on the left hand side?

  6. Larry Ray says:

    Oop! I forgot to correct my spelling mistakes before posting my comments. You people will think me semi-literate! Lol

  7. Larry Ray says:

    One thing about Ronald Reagan’s writing right handed to consider: he may have been ambi-dexterous to some degree. I am. I write, throw and bat left handed, but it depends what I am doing as to which hand I use. I sweep with a broom either-handed, ditto a mop, shoot a pistol either way but prefer right, use sissors right-handed, shoot pool right handed. In short, which way I do something with a tool determines whether I learned from a right handed person or left or if the object was made for right handed people only, such as sissors or tin openers. If I am forced to use something right handed because it was made for that only, I tend to learn to use it better than naturally right handed people. I am a very visually oriented person and that’s how I learn: by watching how something is done. You can lecture me all day long about how to do something and I have trouble learning, but let me watch it done one time and I’ve got it. For driving a vehicle, I would have trouble driving in England in a car with right side controls and driving on the right because I live in the United States and drove a truck (lorry) for 30 years. I initially had some difficulty learning to shift gears with my right hand and shifting without using the clutch (floating the gears) but once I learned, I became quite good. It’s just a matter of matching speed with RPMs and floating it into gear. I loved it. The veriety of different transmissions I had to learn was amazing. Straight 5 and 7 speeds, 10, 13, 15.

  8. John says:

    President Obama is also left handed. Why did you leave him out?

  9. Patricia J. Nawrocki says:

    I also am left-handed bestowed to me from my left-handed super mom!
    The only drawback about being left-handed is smudged hand-writing when hurrying or not paying close attention!

  10. Cindy Watkins says:

    Is it true that left handed people have a slight higher IQ than right handed people?

    • Mark Seibold says:

      Good question, and I thought that no one would ask this in this entire discussion. I also notice there’s very little discussion about how and why this occurs, according to medical studies, as is quite interesting if you look into the medical research history behind this.
      Left handed is believed to be caused by what is noted in the Dr Norman Geschwind theory. Doctor Geschwind’s studies disclosed that in women’s amniotic fluid, it was found that precisely 6 weeks after conception, that there is high testosterone presence in some mothers amniotic fluid. This high testosterone causes a suppression in the size of the left hemisphere of the brain and the right hemisphere outgrows or becomes more active at that point in the fetal stage. This is when the left handed trait is determined, as the larger right brain causes a propensity to control the opposite side. There is actually other evidence that explains ambidextrous. We are all actually someone ambidextrous whether we write with the left hand or the right.
      Is a naturally born left hander. I was hired to teach astronomy in a local University some years ago. They put the new faculty through special class about the human brain. The teacher of this class was a nurse to a husband, who was a brain surgeon. so you can imagine the interesting amount of information that we learned from her. I’ll write in some other comments here answering questions about who in history are known to be left handed from birth naturally, then many forced changed later, to write as right handed, due to religious and social stigmatising.
      Also, nearly all of the noted figures in history that are at the top of their fields weather. In Science, music, the arts, acting, comedy, politics, all sports fields. The leaders at the top in all areas, are usually always left handed which are also rated as having higher IQ’s.

    • Roland Borrey says:

      Looking at the number of the us president, lefty can outsmart the righty better