Abraham Lincoln’s name calling towards Lewis Cass

B. Nash at the grave of Lewis Cass in Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit

Abraham Lincoln is said to have used the term Michigander first. If so, he coined it. The occasion for his use of the word was in describing Mr. Lewis Cass. Cass was the Democratic Presidential candidate in 1848. Lincoln was a member of the Whig party. Today, the term Michigander is a common term to describe someone from Michigan. But Lincoln probably had something else in mind when he used the term as it applied to Cass. It may well have been a “put-down.”  Apparently, the Democrats were running a campaign touting Cass as a War of 1812 hero. Lincoln stated that the Democrats were “dovetailing  onto the great Michigander.” In essemce, Lincoln was saying that Cass was a “goose” and that the Democrats were tying him to a military tail. In others words. he was saying that the war record of Cass was being overinflated in a bid to be elected. Cass didn’t win-Whig candidate Zachary Taylor did. It was that Taylor, by the way, for which Michigan has a city named Taylor. The term Michigander remains, as well as, the term Michiganian.  I prefer Lincoln’s term myself. So the next time you hear the term Michigander, smile and think of him. And understand that Lincoln probably was not being complementary in his use of it.

 Mail this post

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Tags: , , , ,

One Response to “Abraham Lincoln’s name calling towards Lewis Cass”

  1. Kevin Lindsey says:

    Interesting anecdote that I was not familiar with. I too prefer “Michigander” over the “official” Michiganian. I do recall a few years back there was a bumper sticker showing a goose flying saying “Im a Michi-gander” which shows me that people are still getting Lincolns pun, even if they didnt know he said it!

Leave a Reply