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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 Michigan who live "below the bridge" between the UP and lower Michigan as "Trolls."


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.

Lewis Cass

Michigander is considered pejorative by some due to the circumstances under which the term was coined, but others perceive no such negative connotation. Michigander 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., "Wolverine and Michigander", Michigan Alumnus Quarterly Review LVIII (1952) 203-208
  2. ^ Sperber, Hans "Words and Phrases in American Politics: Michigander" American Speech Vol 29 No 1 (Feb 1954) 21-27
  3. ^ Michigan FAQ. "[1]". Michigan Historical Center: Michigan Facts & History
  4. ^ The 'Michigander vs. Michiganian' debate crops up again in wake of Snyder's election
  5. ^ Poll: 'Michiganders' embrace the label
  6. ^ Michigan Today News. "Talking About Words". University of Michigan News Service. September 15, 2003.