Who Was the First President That Was Left-Handed? Unraveling the Answer to this Curious Question

Did you know that one of America’s most beloved presidents was left-handed? That’s right, it’s none other than James A. Garfield, who served as the 20th President of the United States. It’s not often that we think about something as simple as being left or right-handed, but Garfield’s presidency really made history in this regard.

Garfield is a fascinating figure in American history, and yet his presidency is often overshadowed by other more well-known leaders. As someone who was left-handed myself, I’m always curious about notable left-handed individuals throughout history. So when I discovered that Garfield was the first president who was left-handed, my interest was immediately piqued. I couldn’t help but wonder how his left-handedness may have influenced his leadership style and legacy as President.

Left-handed US presidents

Left-handed individuals comprise only about 10% of the global population. Therefore, it is quite intriguing to know that a total of eight U.S. Presidents have been left-handed. Being a lefty was much more of a social stigma in the past, which made it difficult for left-handed presidents to go unnoticed and often earned them the nickname of ‘southpaw.’

  • James A. Garfield: 20th President; 1881
  • Herbert Hoover: 31st President; 1929-1933
  • Harry S. Truman: 33rd President; 1945-1953
  • Gerald R. Ford: 38th President; 1974-1977
  • Ronald Reagan: 40th President; 1981-1989
  • George H. W. Bush: 41st President; 1989-1993
  • Bill Clinton: 42nd President; 1993-2001
  • Barack Obama: 44th President; 2009-2017

Interestingly, Barack Obama was the first left-handed president to have been left-handed throughout his life. The previous seven presidents all reportedly learned to use their right hand for writing at a young age. Lefties also had unimaginable struggles in their early school years, with many teachers forcing them to write with their right hand instead. Former President Ronald Reagan was also famously ambidextrous and could write with both hands with the same exceptional writing abilities.

In conclusion, being a left-hander may have added a lot of trouble for the eight U.S. Presidents in society, but their left-handedness never interfered with their presidential duties and responsibilities. As a matter of fact, a significant chunk of them turned out to be pretty successful—so maybe, being different is not always a bad thing.

Physical Characteristics of Presidents

Presidents come from all walks of life and backgrounds, but they share certain physical characteristics that have been observed throughout history. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of these traits.

Height and Weight

  • The tallest president was Abraham Lincoln, standing at 6’4″.
  • The shortest president was James Madison, who was 5’4″.
  • The heaviest president was William Howard Taft, who weighed over 300 pounds.
  • The lightest president was James Madison, who weighed only 100 pounds.

Hair Color

While hair color may not seem like a significant physical characteristic, it is interesting to note that most presidents have had brown or black hair. Only a few have had lighter hair colors:

  • Thomas Jefferson had red hair.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower had blonde hair.
  • Gerald Ford had white hair.

Dominant Hand

The majority of people are right-handed, but there have been several left-handed presidents throughout history:

Left-Handed Presidents Years in Office
James A. Garfield 1881
Herbert Hoover 1929-1933
Harry S. Truman 1945-1953
Gerald Ford 1974-1977
Ronald Reagan 1981-1989
George H.W. Bush 1989-1993
Bill Clinton 1993-2001
Barack Obama 2009-2017

Interestingly enough, left-handedness has been associated with creativity and problem-solving abilities. Perhaps having a left-handed president is a sign of innovation and outside-the-box thinking.

Unique traits of US presidents

The US presidency is one of the most powerful and revered political offices in the world. As such, the individuals who occupy this position are expected to possess a range of unique traits and characteristics that set them apart from ordinary citizens. In this article, we explore some of the most distinctive features of US presidents, including their political ideologies, personal qualities, and physical attributes.

The first president that was left-handed

Left-handedness is a relatively uncommon trait that affects around 10% of the general population. Given its rarity, it is perhaps surprising that there have been several US presidents who were left-handed throughout history.

  • The first president to be left-handed was James A. Garfield, who served as the 20th President of the United States from March 1881 until his assassination later that year. Garfield was known for being an excellent public speaker and was revered for his intellectual prowess.
  • Other notable left-handed presidents include Harry S. Truman, who served as the 33rd President of the United States from 1945 to 1953, and Gerald Ford, who took office as the 38th President of the United States following Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974.
  • More recently, Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, has also been noted for his left-handedness. Obama is known for his eloquent speeches and charismatic personality, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential US presidents of the modern era.

Despite the relative rarity of left-handedness, it is clear that it has not held US presidents back from achieving success in their political careers. With this in mind, it is worth considering whether left-handedness may actually confer some unique advantages when it comes to leadership and decision-making.

Other unique traits

Aside from being left-handed, US presidents have a range of other unique traits that set them apart from ordinary citizens. Here are just a few notable examples:

  • Many US presidents have been highly educated, with several holding advanced degrees from top universities. For example, Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States, earned a PhD in political science from Johns Hopkins University, while Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, graduated from Yale Law School.
  • US presidents are also notable for their physical attributes, with many being tall, well-built, and physically imposing. Abraham Lincoln, for example, was famously tall and thin, while Theodore Roosevelt was known for his muscular build and athleticism.
  • In addition to their physical and intellectual capabilities, US presidents are also expected to possess a range of personal qualities, including strong leadership skills, resilience, and emotional intelligence. Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, was admired for his affable personality and natural charisma, while Franklin D. Roosevelt was celebrated for his courage and determination in the face of adversity.


Overall, US presidents are notable for a range of unique traits that set them apart from ordinary citizens. From their left-handedness to their advanced education and physical attributes, they possess a range of qualities and characteristics that are vital for success in the world of politics and beyond.

President Name Left or right handed
James A. Garfield Left
Harry S. Truman Left
Gerald Ford Left
Ronald Reagan Left
Bill Clinton Left
Barack Obama Left

So, next time someone asks you about the unique traits of US presidents, you can impress them with your knowledge of left-handedness among the country’s leaders!

Ambidexterity in Politics

Ambidexterity, or the ability to use both hands equally well, is not only a valuable skill in sports and music but can also bring an advantage in the world of politics. Being ambidextrous can help politicians better connect with their audience and communicate their ideas.

In fact, some of the most influential politicians in history have been known for their ambidexterity. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of ambidexterity in politics:

  • Memorable gestures: Ambidextrous politicians can use both their hands to make effective and memorable gestures during speeches. This can help them emphasize key points and connect with their audience on a deeper level.
  • Increased flexibility: Ambidexterity can also help politicians when they interact with people in different cultures. In some cultures, it’s considered respectful to use only your right hand for handshakes and greetings. But in other cultures, the left hand is preferred. An ambidextrous politician can seamlessly adjust to these cultural differences.
  • Perceived intelligence: Studies have shown that ambidextrous people are considered more intelligent and creative than their right-handed counterparts. This perception can be beneficial for politicians, especially when trying to win over new voters.

One notable ambidextrous politician was James A. Garfield, who served as the 20th President of the United States. Garfield was not only known for his exceptional leadership skills but also his unique ambidextrous abilities.

Interesting Fact: Garfield was known to be able to simultaneously write in Latin with one hand while writing in Greek with the other.

Garfield’s ambidexterity helped him stand out in a time when most people were exclusively right-handed. His unique talents likely contributed to his success as a politician and leader.

Historical impact of left-handedness

Throughout history, left-handed individuals have been viewed with a mixture of fascination, suspicion and discrimination. In ancient times, Egyptians believed that left-handedness was a sign of evil while the Greeks considered it a mark of genius.

As society evolved, so did attitudes towards left-handedness. It was only in the 20th century that left-handed people were no longer subjected to ridicule, punishment or even forced to change their writing hand.

Although left-handedness is now accepted as a natural variation in human biology, it continues to have an impact on various aspects of society.

The challenges of being left-handed

  • Scissors, can openers, and other tools designed for right-handed use can be frustrating for left-handed individuals.
  • Sports equipment such as baseball gloves, golf clubs and hockey sticks are not always available in left-handed versions.
  • Left-handed students may encounter difficulties when writing on spiral notebooks or at shared armrests on desks.

Left-handedness and creativity

There is a common belief that left-handed individuals are more creative and artistic than their right-handed counterparts. This is backed up by some studies, which have found that left-handed people are over-represented in fields such as music, art and architecture.

It is suggested that the unique wiring of the left-handed brain results in greater connectivity between the two hemispheres, leading to increased creativity and problem-solving abilities.

Famous left-handed presidents

Despite being a minority, there have been several left-handed presidents in the history of the United States. The first one was James A. Garfield, who served as the 20th president from March to September 1881.

Left-handed presidents Term in office
James A. Garfield March-September 1881
Herbert Hoover 1929-1933
Harry S. Truman 1945-1953
Gerald Ford 1974-1977
Ronald Reagan 1981-1989
George H.W. Bush 1989-1993

Like other left-handed individuals, these presidents faced challenges in a right-handed world. Yet, they achieved great success and made significant contributions to the country.

Famous left-handed politicians

Left-handedness has been a topic of fascination for a long time. History tells us that left-handed people have been associated with being sinister, unlucky, and even bewitched. But, did you know that some of the world’s most influential leaders were left-handed too? Here are some of the famous left-handed politicians that have made an impact on the world stage.

  • Barack Obama: The 44th President of the United States is not only known for breaking barriers but also for being left-handed.
  • Bill Clinton: The 42nd President of the United States is another left-hander who served two terms in office from 1993 to 2001.
  • Benjamin Netanyahu: The Israeli Prime Minister is left-handed and has been in office since 2009.

But why is it that we see a significant number of left-handers in politics?

Studies show that left-handers may be more inclined towards creativity, have better spatial awareness, and perform well in tasks that require mental flexibility. These traits could be advantageous for political leaders facing complex issues every day.

However, being left-handed does not guarantee success. Political leaders need to possess a wide range of skills, including the ability to inspire, persuade and make difficult decisions. Nonetheless, these famous left-handed politicians have broken the stereotypes and showcased that they have what it takes to lead.

Left-Handed Leader Country Term in Office
Barack Obama United States 2009-2017
Bill Clinton United States 1993-2001
Benjamin Netanyahu Israel 2009-Present

Overall, being left-handed might not be the key to success in politics, but it certainly hasn’t stopped these leaders from reaching the top.

Personal anecdotes of left-handed people

Left-handed people have always been in the minority, making up only 10% of the population. As a result, left-handed individuals have faced unique challenges and experienced interesting situations throughout history. Here are some personal anecdotes from left-handed people:

  • A famous left-handed individual, former US president Barack Obama, once joked that he was forced to become left-handed because his Indonesian stepfather whacked his hands with a ruler every time he used his right hand. Obama had to force himself to use his left hand to avoid getting hit.
  • Another famous lefty, Sir Paul McCartney, once said that being left-handed is a sign of intelligence, and he had no proof to back that up except for the fact that many famous artists, musicians, and writers are left-handed.
  • Left-handed individuals have always had to adapt to right-handed tools, such as scissors and can-openers. In fact, more than a few lefties have a collection of left-handed scissors that they treasure. It’s the little things that count.

But it’s not just tools that present a challenge for lefties. Sports, too, can be difficult for left-handed individuals. In many sports, from tennis to baseball, left-handed players are the minority and may have to adapt to right-handed equipment and techniques. Some left-handed athletes, like Rafael Nadal and Randy Johnson, have embraced their left-handedness and use it to their advantage.

Interestingly, research has shown that left-handedness is linked to creativity and mental flexibility. Some of the most creative and innovative minds in history have been left-handed, including Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, and Marie Curie.

Left-handed fact Explanation
Left-handed people have a higher risk of accidents Left-handed people may have difficulty using objects designed for right-handed individuals, leading to an increased risk of accidents.
Left-handed people are more likely to have a stutter Research has shown that left-handed people are more likely to have a stutter or other speech impediment.
Left-handed people have an advantage in some sports In sports like tennis and boxing, left-handed players can have an advantage over their right-handed opponents due to their different dominant hand and foot placement.

Overall, being left-handed has its challenges and its advantages. But one thing is for sure, being left-handed is a unique and fascinating part of a person’s identity.

Who Was the First President That Was Left-handed?

Curious to know which United States president was left-handed? Look no further! Below are some frequently asked questions about the first left-handed president.

Q: Who was the first president that was left-handed?

A: The first president that was left-handed was James A. Garfield, the 20th president of the United States.

Q: When was Garfield elected president?

A: Garfield was elected as president in 1880 and served for only 200 days before he was assassinated in 1881.

Q: How did Garfield learn to write with his left hand?

A: Garfield was born left-handed and, like many left-handed people of his time, was forced to learn to write with his right hand. However, he continued to use his left hand for other tasks throughout his life.

Q: Did Garfield have any other unique traits?

A: Yes, Garfield was also ambidextrous, meaning he could use both hands equally well for many tasks.

Q: Are there any other left-handed presidents?

A: Yes, there have been several other left-handed presidents, including Harry S. Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

Q: Is being left-handed an advantage or disadvantage for a president?

A: Being left-handed does not necessarily affect one’s ability to be a successful president. However, left-handed people have been historically discriminated against and forced to conform to right-handed norms, which can be viewed as a disadvantage in certain situations.

Closing Thoughts

Now that you know who the first left-handed president was, we hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about his unique traits. Thank you for reading and we hope to see you again for more interesting facts about US presidents!