Saturday, May 26, 2012

Wide-Awakes Are Not the Tea Party!

One of the more interesting things I have been researching lately are the pro-Lincoln clubs known as the Wide-Awakes. They were groups of young men (maybe a few women snuck in as well) who wore black capes (see above) and marched silently, but in cadence, to show support of their candidate.

There were thousands of these guys! They marched at night, and held oil-burning lanterns on sticks above their heads (again, see above, right). The best image I have seen of them is in the TV-movie North and South. The 2 main characters are in DC, I think, and a large group of Wide-Awakes marches past in the background. I am a little fuzzy on this, so if anyone knows more . . .

Only one book has been written strictly about them, and it is from the late 1860s.I am having a difficult time finding it so far.

Pretty strange. But cool strange.

1 comment:

  1. There was an enormous parade of them in NYC late in the campaign of '60. There is an illustration of it in either Leslie's or Harper's Weekly. I seem to remember that there was a sort of hat called a "wide-awake" because it had no "nap"--that is, it had a smooth surface. I have seen a photograph of a small group of "Wide Awakes" posed with a banner or shield, perhaps with the portraits of Lincoln and Hamlin--if I find it I will shoot the reference along to you.