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President's Day And Michigan

Feb 20, 2017

Seal of the President of the United States
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Michigan receives frequent visits from presidential candidates, and the state has a storied relationship with many who have won the nation’s highest office. 

Exactly one U.S. President hails from Michigan--Gerald Ford--and he wasn’t even born here.  Still, Michigan is considered his home state.  Ford did attend the University of Michigan, where he played football.  Ford was actually born in Omaha, Nebraska as Leslie Lynch King, Jr.  After remarrying, his mother changed his name.

It was President John F. Kennedy that coined the term "Michigan of the East,” when referring to his alma mater, Harvard University.  He did that during a visit to Ann Arbor in 1960. 

And, President Abraham Lincoln is credited with creating the term "Michigander."  It was not, however, really meant as a compliment.  Lincoln decided Michigan governor Lewis Cass waddled more than he walked.  Lincoln compared Cass’ logic to that of a foolish goose and combined Michigan with gander.  Thus, the term “Michigander” found life. 

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu