1860’s Politics: How Did Voter Apparel Show Support For Candidates?

Emerging Civil War 1860's Politics Header

Do you wear t-shirts to support a favorite candidate? How about a bumper sticker on your car or truck? Hopefully, you got an “I voted” sticker today!

In the 1860’s, they didn’t wear t-shirts, and I have yet to find a bumper sticker for a wagon or carriage. (Send me a message if you can find one – and a political bandwagon for a rally doesn’t count…) So what did people wear to show their support of a candidate or political party?

They wore cockades. A cockade is gathered ribbon, usually with a plain or symbolic button at the center. These “political badges” had been used long before the 1860’s. For example – during the American Revolution, Patriots and Tories could advertise their allegiance by wearing cockades on their hats.

I’ve rounded up some photos of cockades from Civil War elections for some historical and non-partisan enjoyment on this tense and exciting election night. (I don’t know of any copyrights or required credits on these images, so just enjoy!)

Fremont Election Ribbon, 1860

Fremont Election Ribbon, 1860

Stephen Douglas Cockade, 1860

Stephen Douglas Cockade, 1860

Abraham Lincoln Ribbon, 1860 style

Abraham Lincoln Ribbon, 1860 style

Patriotic Cockade

Patriotic Cockade

Palmetto Secession Cockade...for all you Southerners! :)

Palmetto Secession Cockade…for all you Southerners! 🙂

Lincoln Campaign Badge, 1864?

Lincoln Campaign Badge, 1864?

Aren’t they beautiful? Hey, I like my “I voted” sticker, but I really want a small patriotic cockade! I don’t know if I’d actually buy or make one to support a candidate, but Americana red-white-blue style is awesome. (You might want to check out the cockades for sale and find more history on the website: Creative Cockades )

Well, the 2016 election is almost over…but we still have a week left in “1860’s Politics” here at Emerging Civil War. Stay tuned!

About Sarah Kay Bierle

I’m Sarah Kay Bierle, historian, living history enthusiast, and historical fiction writer. When sharing history, I try to keep the facts interesting and understandable. History is about real people, real actions, real effects and it should inspire us today.
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