The Man Partly Responsible for the Term “Michigander”
The term “Michigander”.
You either love it, dislike it, tolerate it, or are embarrassed by it. Just who is responsible for calling us a bunch of Michigan geese?
The most accepted explanation is that it involved two politicians: Michigan's first governor Lewis Cass, and Abraham Lincoln, at the time a member of the House of Representatives.
According to Mlive, in an 1848 speech, Lincoln accused Cass of “campaigning on the coattails” of Andrew Jackson, calling him a 'Michigander'. The name came about by combining 'Michigan' with 'gander'...but why? The reason being Cass was following Jackson like a goose follows its leader. Ever since, many resources claim that it was Abraham Lincoln who indeed came up with the term 'Michigander'.
But is that an accurate fact?
The term popped up in newspapers pre-1848. One of these appearances occurred in the Hampshire Gazette in 1838, another in 1842 in the Bellows Falls Gazette, which referred to several U.S. State residents as 'Vermonter', 'New Hampshirer', 'Massachusettser', 'Connecticutter', and 'Michigander'.
So there ya have it. But we still don't know who created the term...but it was not Abe Lincoln. Lincoln used it as an insult, and the earlier newspapers used it as a cute term. And the debate of 'Michigander Vs. Michiganian' continues in our state. Even though 'Michiganian' sounds more respectful, the majority of us are said to prefer 'Michigander'.