Thursday, April 28, 2011

Maryland Refuses Secession

Thomas Hicks, governor of Maryland

Today, 150 years ago, the Maryland legislature voted on secession. Maryland was a slave state and south of the Mason-Dixon line, but it had sympathies with both the North and South. After Lincoln's election the governor tried to be neutral, and did not call the legislature into secession.

After the Baltimore riot, where a secessionist mob attacked troops moving through the city, Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus. Haebeas corpus provides a defense against being unlawfully imprisoned. It is a right guaranteed by the Constitution, except in cases of insurrection.

A convention met in late April to discuss secession, and it voted against it 55-13. If they had seceded, they would probably have been immediately occupied by the North, because of the location of Washington, DC. Even though their state voted to remain in the Union, about 20,000 Marylanders fought for the South, while about 30,000 fought for the North.


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