Monday, September 8, 2008

Politics and Quilting

The Whig Rose Wreath:Examples of feminine political influence hide among the historic names of quilt patterns showing that long before we had the vote we were interested in who our elected officials would be. For example numerous quilt patterns feature the Whig Rose. What is a Whig?

The American Whig Party was active in the political elections of 1836 through 1856, and was formed in opposition to the heavy-handed policies of President Andrew Jackson but eventually dissolved over the issues of slavery. William Henry Harrison, and Zachary Taylor, (as well as his VP who assumed office then) Millard Fillmore were the successful Whig presidential candidates.

When the Whigs split, the "Cotton Whigs" who supported slavery joined the Democrats and the "Conscience Whigs" who sought to curtail/end slavery formed the Republican party. Abraham Lincoln, who had been a Whig before joining the newly formed Republican party, could arguably be said to be the last Whig President and the first Republican President.

Interesting to note Harrison's 1840's campaign was "log cabins and hard cider." There has been much debate over the existence of non-existence of the Log Cabin Block previous to the Civil War, as the creation of the block has often been attributed to the inspiration of the log cabin campaign of Abraham Lincoln. Not to muddy the water, but (without any proof and as supposition only) I suggest that Harrison's campaign may have inspired the log cabin block, leading to it's existence pre-States War. It seems logical that women inspired by one Whig President's log cabin campaign might revive and further spread their pattern during a similar campaign. For me, this would explain the confusion over the origins of the block, and also the long association of the Log Cabin Block with anti-slavery ideals. Just a thought.

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