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Michigander and Michiganian are demonyms for residents of the U.S. state of Michigan. Less common alternatives include Michiganer, Michiganite, Michiganese, and Michigine.[1][2] There is no "official" term.[3] While previous governors Jennifer Granholm, John Engler, and Jim Blanchard used Michiganian, current governor Rick Snyder uses Michigander.[4] A 2011 poll indicated 58% of Michigan residents preferred Michigander, compared to 12% for Michiganian, with 12% having no preference, and 11% not liking either term.[5] Residents of the Upper Peninsula typically refer to themselves as Yoopers instead. Yoopers refer to residents of the Lower Peninsula who live "below the bridge" between the peninsulas as "Trolls."


Lewis Cass

Michiganian has a long history. It is the term used for the state's citizens in The Collections of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society since the 1870s.

Michigander is considered pejorative by some due to the circumstances under which the term was coined, but others perceive no such negative connotation. The term is attributed to Abraham Lincoln, coining it when he was a Whig representative in Congress. On July 27, 1848, Lincoln made a speech against Lewis Cass, who had been a long-time governor of the Michigan Territory. Cass was then running for president on a "popular sovereignty" platform that would have let states that were conquered in the Mexican–American War decide whether to legalize slavery. Lincoln accused the Democrats of campaigning on the former President Andrew Jackson's coattails by exaggerating their military accomplishments.

But in my hurry I was very near closing on the subject of military tales before I was done with it. There is one entire article of the sort I have not discussed yet; I mean the military tale you Democrats are now engaged in dovetailing onto the great Michigander [i.e. Lewis Cass].[6]

Lincoln thus combined Michigan with gander to form a nickname that made Cass sound foolish like a goose. Michigan voters would go on to favor Lincoln for President twice, in 1860 and 1864.


  1. ^ Marckwardt, Albert H. (1952). "Wolverine and Michigander". Michigan Alumnus Quarterly Review. 58: 203–208. 
  2. ^ Sperber, Hans (February 1954). "Words and Phrases in American Politics: Michigander". American Speech. 29 (1): 21–27. 
  3. ^ Michigan Historical Center (March 10, 2008). "Michigan FAQ". Michigan Facts & History. Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Archived from the original on December 17, 2009. 
  4. ^ Foley, Aaron (November 3, 2010). "The 'Michigander vs. Michiganian' Debate Crops Up Again in Wake of Snyder's Election". MLive. Booth Newspapers. Retrieved August 27, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Poll: 'Michiganders' Embrace the Label". United Press International. February 11, 2011. Retrieved August 27, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Talking About Words". Michigan Today News. University of Michigan News Service. September 15, 2003. Archived from the original on January 3, 2011.