|Greg wearing Chris Umhoefer's Wide Awake Club|
|See Library of Congress Site|
Politics before the Civil War was far more stormy than today.
The Wide Awakes wore military styled uniforms (of different kinds in different cities,) and carried six foot long lighted torches late at night. Wide Awakes were generally young men, and yes, they loved Lincoln. See the uniform below.
Southerners regarded the Wide Awakes a militia of the Republican Party. I have not seen any stories about armed Wide Awake groups, although the engraving above shows some scuffling with police.
|This sheet music cover shows a Wide Awake in uniform.|
|A membership certificate from Connecticut.|
The Wide Awakes were named by Lincoln after a rally in Hartford, Connecticut. He said humorously, "The boys are wide awake, suppose we call them the 'Wide Awakes'." A few days later a Republican marching club formed with that name.