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The 1860s-Era Wide Awakes Are Back With Bold New Capes and a Mission to Make “Joy An Act of Resistance”

In 1860, two diametrically opposed foes ran against each other for President of the United States. The candidates were Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, and John C Breckinridge, a Southern Democrat. The election took place during a time when the country was deeply divided over slavery, territorial borders, and workers rights. After Lincoln was elected, the Civil War began.

Fast-forward to 2020, and we’re on the precipice of another contentious, terrifying election with two deeply divided sides of the country—one that puts God and country first and the other that puts human liberties and social justice first. But aside from drawing parallels between the perils of a discombobulated democracy then and now, there are also similarities between the two eras when it comes to advocacy and activism. 

Tomorrow, an 1860s-era youth organization called the Wide Awakes will make a timely return. The Wide Awakes were, back in that day, a diverse

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