This Was The First Left-Handed President

American presidents are known for their accomplishments, and sometimes their mishaps, each with far-ranging benefits for average people, and sometimes, dire consequences — unintended or otherwise. Certain presidents, however, go down in history as the first of their kind for other reasons entirely. Per Britannica, Martin Van Buren, for example, was the first president born an American citizen, and William Henry Harrison holds the dubious honor of being the first president to die in office, according to the official White House website.

Speaking of short administrations, there's one particular late 19th-century president that holds many distinctions other than what he accomplished while in office. This president was the second president to be assassinated, and as a result, his is also one of the shortest administrations ever, at just four months. (He lingered for two months after being shot, for a total term of about six months before his death.) He was also the last American president (so far) to be born in a cabin. Above all else, though, this particular president had one particular physical characteristic that, while somewhat rare in the general population, is inexplicably much more common among American presidents.

James Garfield was a southpaw

On top of all the other things the Garfield administration is known for, he is also the first president known to be left handed. Only about 10% of the population are southpaws like Garfield, according to Everyday Health, but about half of all U.S. presidents since World War II share this trait, according to History. As Everyday Health also explains, left-handed people tend to be more creative and better able to think outside the box, and this may explain why left-handedness shows up more often among recent U.S. presidents. Being a southpaw, however, wasn't the only unusual physical trait of James Garfield, either.

In addition to being predominantly left-handed, there are other reports that Garfield was actually ambidextrous — able to use either hand equally well, according to History. Some believe he may have even been able to write a sentence in Greek with one hand, and that same sentence in Latin with the other — no small feat, though it's now widely considered to be a myth. Nevertheless, Garfield did speak several languages, so the fact that left-handed people tend toward better verbal and competency than right-handers certainly holds true in this instance.