LOST IN TIME: Republicans in 1860 Did Not Cower from Political Violence – Here Is What the Courageous “Wide Awakes” Did to Protect Republicans from Democrat Violence

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The Wide Awakes were a Republican group of young men organized to escort and protect Republican speakers during the highly contentious election of 1860. The men would wear uniforms hats and march with lanterns to protect Republican speakers in northern states from unruly political opponents.

The organization of mostly young working-class men did not sit home or cower from the political violence of the day.

The Wide Awakes had chapters in several free Union states including Ohio, New York, Connecticut, Illinois and Iowa, to name a few.

The members escorted Republican speakers, surrounding them and protecting them from the violence of the slave supporters and Democrats. In many cases, rowdies ambushedWide Awake parades, hurling bricks and screaming, “Kill the damn Wide Awakes.” This is similar to the tactics of the American left today with their Antifa and BLM shock troops with the support of the intelligence agencies.

Oscar Lawrence Jackson, a twenty-year-old who lectured to open-air audiences in rural Ohio, recorded an incident in which drunken Democrats tried to shout down his speech. “It came near taking a serious turn,” Jackson wrote, “as the ‘Wide Awakes’ were prepared and would have shot and sliced them like dogs if any one of us had been struck.”