Please forward this error screen to 206. Thomas Jefferson claimed to read and write six different languages. Of the 44 men who have served as Presidents of the United States, at least half have displayed proficiency in studied German language for children or writing a language other than English.
Arthur knew Ancient Greek and Latin, but it was Garfield’s ambidextrous ability that would lead to rumors that he could write both at the same time. John Adams, the second president of the United States, learned to read Latin at young. In preparation for attending Harvard University, Adams attended a school for improving his Latin skills. Thomas Jefferson spoke and read multiple languages, which included French. After his death, a number of other books, dictionaries, and grammar manuals in various languages were found in Jefferson’s library, suggesting that he studied additional languages beyond those he spoke and wrote well.
James Madison began his studies of Latin at the age of twelve and had mastered Greek and Latin by the time he entered the College of New Jersey, later Princeton University. While in college, Madison learned to speak and read Hebrew. When he could have graduated, Madison remained at college for an additional year to study ethics and Hebrew in greater depth. James Monroe adopted many French customs while a diplomat in Paris, including learning fluent French. The entire Monroe family knew the language, and often spoke it with one another at home. John Quincy Adams went to school in both France and the Netherlands, and spoke fluent French and conversational Dutch.
Adams strove to improve his abilities in Dutch throughout his life, and at times translated a page of Dutch a day to help improve his mastery of the language. In addition to the two languages he spoke fluently, he also studied Italian, but he admitted to making little progress in it since he had no one with whom to practice speaking and hearing the language, as well as Russian, but never achieved fluency. Martin Van Buren was the only American president who did not speak English as his first language. He was born in Kinderhook, New York, a primarily Dutch community, spoke Dutch as his first language, and continued to speak it at home. John Tyler excelled at school, where he learned both Latin and Greek.
Polk had no background in foreign languages upon entering college, he proved a quick learner. James Buchanan studied a traditional classical curriculum, which included Latin and Greek, at the private Old Stone Academy before transferring to Dickinson College. Hayes studied Latin and Greek at the Isaac Webb school in Middletown, Connecticut. He initially struggled with the languages, but soon became proficient in them. He also briefly studied French there. Arthur was known to be comfortable enough in Latin and Greek to converse with other men who knew the languages. A foreign correspondent noted that although Roosevelt spoke clearly and quickly, he had a German accent while speaking in French.