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Humble starts are a political staple

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By Jay Miller

SANTA FE — Log cabins are regaining popularity. It now is possible to buy kits to build your own log cabin — sort of like life-size Lincoln Logs.
What’s the attraction of log cabins? Part of it has to do with the image, some of it rubbing off from Abraham Lincoln. Log cabins carry an air of hard working self-sufficiency and part of it has to do with politicians wanting to demonstrate they came from humble beginnings.
Beginning in the middle 1800s, it became almost essential for presidential candidates to claim birth in a log cabin. According to National Park Service information, seven presidents claimed to have been born in log cabins. Add in vice presidents and losing candidates and you have an impressive number.
Evidently William Henry Harrison, our eighth president, was one of the first to make the log cabin claim.
It was only a partial truth. He did retire to a log cabin of his youth but he surrounded it with 16 rooms of more modern construction.
Harrison was the first Whig candidate to win election to the presidency. He did it with some very creative political advisers. Harrison had been a general 30 years earlier. He was on the winning side of an Indian battle fought near the Tippecanoe River.


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