Handedness of Presidents of the United States
The handedness of presidents of the United States is difficult to establish with any certainty before the 20th century. During the 18th and 19th centuries left-handedness was considered a disability, and teachers would make efforts to suppress it in their students. For this reason there are few concrete references to determine the handedness of presidents in those times.
As of 2014, four out of the last six presidents have been left-handed if Ronald Reagan is included (though this is disputed). Counting as far back as the presidency of Harry S. Truman, the number is six (including Reagan) out of twelve. However, not all sources agree that Reagan was left-handed. In one interview, Reagan indicated that he had been born left-handed, but that school and parental pressure forced him to switch to using his right hand.
In the 1992 United States presidential 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. In the 2000 and 2004 elections, Bush, Gore, and Kerry were all right-handed. Both major-party candidates in the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama and John McCain, were left-handed.
The first president to be described as left-handed was Herbert Hoover,[dubious ] though this has been disputed. There is no evidence of any left-handed presidents before Hoover, although it was said that President James Garfield could simultaneously write Latin with his right hand and Greek with his left. Gerald Ford described himself as "left-handed sitting down and right-handed standing up". Harry S. Truman was forced by his schoolteachers and parents to switch to using his right hand, according to biographer David McCullough.
The percentage of the population who are left-handed is about 10%. In the popular press, various scientists have commented on this statistical anomaly. Amar Klar, a geneticist with the National Cancer Institute who has researched the possible genetic components to handedness, believes that left-handed people "have a wider scope of thinking", and points to the disproportionately high number of Nobel Prize winners, writers, and painters who are left-handed. This remains, however, unproven. Michael Peters, a neuropsychologist at the University of Guelph, points out that left-handed people have to get by in a world adapted to right-handers, something which might give them extra mental resilience. Geneticist Daniel Geschwind, in 2009, summarized the state of research into Presidential handedness as follows: "From a statistical standpoint, it looks like something's going on, but what it is, we don't know."
The pattern, however, is not replicated among the fourteen post-World-War-II prime ministers of Great Britain. Only two prime ministers after World War II, David Cameron and James Callaghan, have been left-handed.
- Chung, Andrew (2 March 2008). "Odds are next U.S. president will be left-handed". Toronto Star. Retrieved October 2008. Check date values in:
- Macrae, Fiona (24 October 2008). "As two lefties vie for the American presidency... why are so many U.S. premiers left-handed?". The Daily Mail. Retrieved October 2008. Check date values in:
- "Top 10 Lefties". Time. New York. 13 August 2014. Retrieved March 2016. Check date values in:
- James, Susan Donaldson (22 February 2008). "Four Out of Five Recent Presidents Are Southpaws". ABC News. Retrieved March 2016. Check date values in:
- Rotstein, Gary (25 February 2008). "Another left-handed president? It's looking that way". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved March 2016. Check date values in:
- "presidents left beats right hands down".
- Pilkington, Ed (October 23, 2008). "Revealed: The leftist plot to control the White House". The Guardian.
- Pilkington, Ed (24 October 2008). "Revealed: The leftist plot to control the White House". The Guardian. Retrieved October 2008. Check date values in:
- McCullough, David (1992). Truman. New York; London: Simon & Schuster. p. 43. ISBN 0-671-45654-7.
- Kaczmarczyk, Jeffrey (December 14, 2012). "See two little-known secrets about President Ford revealed in a televised 1955 Christmas message". mlive.com. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
- McCullough, David. "Truman". p47 "Naturally left handed, he was taught [by his teachers] to use his right hand".
- "White House leans again to the left(ies)". NBC News. 21 January 2009.
- Michael Precker (1992-07-13). "The three leading candidates for president have a characteristic in common: They're all southpaws". Dallas Morning News.
- Melissa Roth (2000-01-23). "The Nation: Digital Revolution; Forget Left-Wing. Say Hello to Left-Handed Politics.". The New York Times.
- Sam Wang and Sandra Aamodt (2008-07-06). "A Vast Left-Handed Conspiracy". The Washington Post. pp. B02.
|In cognitive abilities||Geschwind–Galaburda hypothesis|
|In eyes||Ocular dominance|
|Handedness in boxing||Southpaw stance||Orthodox stance|
|Handedness in people||Musicians||US presidents|
|Handedness related to|
|Handedness measurement||Edinburgh Handedness Inventory|
|In major viscera||Situs solitus||Situs ambiguus||Situs inversus|