Category: History Tags: Abraham Lincoln, Emancipation, State of Maryland, U.S. Civil War
Today is the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Maryland.
This occasion mattered greatly, of course, to the 87,000 residents of Maryland who were still enslaved on November 1, 1864. This anniversary date also matters because the narrow passage of emancipation in Maryland furthered the gradual spread of emancipation elsewhere in the United States, including in the South, where the issue of emancipation had not yet been decided by Congress.
Nevertheless, in important ways, the reluctant abolition of slavery in Maryland scarcely mattered.
Pro-slavery attitudes and laws in Maryland
In 1864, when Maryland finally abolished slavery, the state had been on the Union side of the Civil War for three long years. Nevertheless, Maryland was a border state: slavery was common in the state, and the culture of slave-owning was widespread. Among the white population, therefore, loyalties had been deeply divided over the slavery question and secession all along.