Ex Parte Merryman

Maryland State Archives
350 Rowe Boulevard
Annapolis, MD 21401

Introduction

Etching of John Merryman from Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Baltimore City and County. Baltimore, MD: Regional Publishing Company, 1971, p. 884.

Are all the laws, but one, to go unexecuted, and the government itself
to go to pieces, lest that one be violated?

— President Lincoln, in a message to a special session of Congress, July 4, 1861

John Merryman was born at “Hereford Farm” in Baltimore County on August 9, 1824, the son of Nicholas Rogers and Ann Marie (Gott) Merryman.  He was educated in the business world beginning in 1839 as an employee in Richard Norris’ hardware store in Baltimore City.  A year later he moved to Guayama, Puerto Rico, to work for his uncle, Samuel N. Gott, in his counting room.  Merryman returned to Maryland in 1842 to manage a number of farms belonging to his uncle John Merryman.  It was at this time that Merryman became involved in the raising and breeding of Hereford cattle with stock which he imported from England.

In 1865 he branched out into the fertilizer business by establishing John Merryman & Co. of Baltimore City, fertilizer dealers.  Merryman’s interest in cattle and farming remained constant throughout his life.  He was a lifetime member of the U.S. Agricultural Society and the National Agricultural Association.  He exhibited his cattle at numerous national fairs and won countless prizes and a widespread reputation for his stock.  He was also a member of the Maryland State Agricultural Society, serving as vice-president from 1852-1857 and president from 1857 to 1861.  This organization later became the Maryland State Agricultural and Mechanical Association, and John Merryman served as president from 1877 to 1881.

Prior to the Civil War, John Merryman was a 3rd lieutenant in the Baltimore County Troops.  By 1861 he was a 1st lieutenant in the Baltimore County Horse Guards.  Under orders from Governor Hicks, he aided in the destruction of several bridges north of Baltimore to prevent troops from Pennsylvania from marching through Baltimore and inciting riots.  On May 25, 1861, Merryman was arrested by U.S. troops, indicted for treason, and confined in Fort McHenry.  Through his lawyers Merryman petitioned Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney for a writ of habeas corpus.  The writ was disobeyed by General Cadwallader, the arresting officer, under orders from President Lincoln even though Taney cited Cadwallader for contempt.  It was then that Taney, who had traveled to Baltimore to hear the case, ordered that Merryman was “improperly held” and had him released. Merryman was never tried for treason.  Taney, in a “test between that which personified law on the one side and that which represented the sudden and unlimited development of military force on the other,” vindicated the writ of habeas corpus.

Merryman, a democrat, served as president of the Board of County Commissioners, Baltimore County, in 1857.  He was State Treasurer from 1870 to 1872 and served in the House of Delegates from Baltimore County from 1874 to 1876.

In 1844, John Merryman married Ann Louisa, daughter of Elijah Bosley Gittings.  John and Ann Louisa had eleven children:  Nicholas Bosley, John Jr., Elijah Gittings, David Buchanan, William Duvall, James McKenney, Roger B.T., Ann Gott, Bettie M., Louisa Gittings, and Laura Fendall.  The family resided on their farm, “Hayfields,” in Baltimore County, and attended Sherwood Protestant Episcopal Church in Baltimore County where John Merryman served as register, treasurer, and vestryman over the years.  Merryman also owned a pew in St. Paul’s Church, Baltimore City, at his death.

John Merryman died November 15, 1881, and it is interesting that his biographers noted that he believed “the most important class of workers is the farmer, who subdues the earth, and makes it fulfill its highest mission, of supporting man and developing his marvelous powers of mind and body.”

Source: Archives of Maryland (Biographical Series) John Merryman.

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 5: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)

    Standard 2B: The student understands the social experience of the war on the battlefield and homefront.

Standard 2B: The student understands the social experience of the war on the battlefield and homefront. 

9-12: Evaluate the Union’s reasons for curbing wartime civil liberties. [Consider multiple perspectives]

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: Hayfields Farm Buildings, Worthington Valley, Cockeysville vicinity, Baltimore County, MD
    ALTERNATE TITLE: John Merryman Farm Buildings
    MEDIUM: Measured Drawing(s): 8; Photo(s): 23; Data Page(s): 5 plus cover page
    NOTE: This was the farm where Merryman was arrested. It is now a golf course.
    SOURCE: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  2. DESCRIPTION: Luther Littig vs. John Merryman, Ann L. Merryman, Richard Emory, Ann Emory, Henry Gittings, Elizabeth R. Gittings, Eleanor A. Bosley, Ann G. Merryman, Nicholas M.B. Emory, Anna Emory, Thomas L. Emory, and Richard Emory.  BA.  Trust estate under will of Nicholas M. Bosley –  Bellevue, Hayfields.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 27, 1848
    NOTES: Includes last will and testament of Nicholas M. Bosley, from whom John Merryman inherited Hayfields.
    SOURCE: CHANCERY COURT (Chancery Papers) 9366. Accession No: 17,898-9366. MSA S512-9283, 1/38/4/93.
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  3. DESCRIPTION: [Nicholas R. Merryman and Ann Merryman]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1850
    SOURCE: U.S. CENSUS BUREAU (Census Record, MD) 1850 Slave Schedule, Baltimore County, District 1,  MSA SM 61-158, M 1504-3
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  4. DESCRIPTION: [John Merryman, Jr.]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1850
    SOURCE: U.S. CENSUS BUREAU (Census Record, MD) , 1850, Baltimore County, District 1 page 432, MSA SM 61-131, M 1484
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  5. DESCRIPTION: [John Merryman]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1860
    SOURCE: U.S. CENUS BUREAU (Census Record, MD) John Merryman, 1860, Baltimore County, Cockeysville/District 8 pp. 488-489, MSA SM 61-196, M 7213-6
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  6. DESCRIPTION: [John Merryman]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1860
    SOURCE: U.S. CENSUS BUREAU (Census Record, MD) John Merryman, 1860 Slave Schedule, Baltimore County, Cockeysville/District 8 Page 93, MSA SM 61-228,  M 7229-4
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  7. See: Ex Parte Merryman case materials
  8. DESCRIPTION: Abraham Lincoln
    ARTIST: Adalbert John Volck (1828–1912)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Etching, 1861
    NOTE:  Lincoln’s foot rests on a stack of books labeled “Constitution,” “Law,” and “Habeas Corpus.”
    SOURCE: CivilWar@Smithsonian
    REPOSITORY: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
  9. DESCRIPTION: Letter, D. Wilmot to [General Scott]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 20, 1861
    NOTES: “Rumor says the bridge across the Gunpowder is destroyed and also a bridge some six or eight miles out of the city….”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 565-566.
  10. DESCRIPTION: Letter, D. Wilmot to [General Scott]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 20, 1861
    NOTES: “Have just heard that the bridges between Ashland and Cockeysville and two or three nearer town are burned….”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 566.
  11. DESCRIPTION: Letter, J. Edgar Thomson, President, Pennsylvania Central Railroad to Simon Cameron, Secretary of War
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 23, 1861
    NOTES: “Since I wrote my last of this date I have been informed that the Baltimoreans and Marylanders have destroyed the whole of the bridges of the Northern Central….”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 566.
  12. DESCRIPTION: Message to Governor Thomas Hicks from Senate of Maryland
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 3, 1861
    NOTES: “You will inform the Senate if you authorized, or consented to, the burning of the bridges on the Northern Central and Baltimore, Wilmington and Philadelphia Railroad.”
    SOURCE: Proceedings of the Senate
    April Special Session 1861, pp. 33-34.
    Archives of Maryland
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  13. DESCRIPTION: Report of Hon. George William Brown, Mayor of Baltimore acknowledging decision to destroy bridges to impede the movement of troops to Baltimore.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 9 (?), 1861
    NOTES: “In the report recently made to your honorable body by the board of police commissioners of the city of Baltimore it is stated that, in the great emergency which existed in this city … it was suggested that the most feasible, if not the only practicable, mode of stopping for a time the approach of troops to Baltimore was to obstruct the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore and the Northern Central Railroads by disabling some of the bridges on both roads; and it is added that ‘his honor the mayor stated to the board that his excellency the governor, with whom he had a few minutes before been in consultation, in the presence of several citizens, concurred in these views.’
    As this concurrence has since been explicitly denied by his Excellency Governor Hicks in an official communication addressed to the senate of Maryland on the 4th instant, which I have just seen, it is due to myself that I lay before you the grounds on which the statement was made to the board of police, on which they, as well as myself, acted.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 1 – Volume 2. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 12-15.
  14. DESCRIPTION: Register of Prisoners, John Merryman
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 25, 1861
    SOURCE: Selected Records of the War Department Relating to Confederate Prisoners of War, 1861-1865. Microfilm No. 598. Roll 96. Volumes 305-310. Register of Prisoners and Ledger of Prisoners’ Accounts, 1861-65: Fort McHenry, Md. Military Prison.
    REPOSITORY: National Archives
  15. DESCRIPTION: Letter, General George Cadwalader to Colonel E. D. Townsend
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 27, 1861
    NOTES: “On the 25th instant Mr. John Merryman was arrested near Cockeysville…. I directed the offices … who brought the prisoner [to Fort McHenry] to have more specific charges and specifications furnished against the accused with the names of witnesses…. I regret to say that I have not as yet been furnished with this information. I was yesterday evening served a writ of habeas corpus issued by the Hon. Roger B. Taney….
    From Enclosure No. 2: “This is to certify that Mr. John Merryman was arrested by orders of Colonel Yohe as first lieutenant of a secession company who have in their possession arms belonging to the United States Government for the purpose of using the same against the Government…. It can also be proven that the prisoner has been drilling with his company and has uttered and advanced secession doctrines.”
    From Enclosure No. 3: “You are hereby commanded to be and appear before the Hon. Roger B. Taney … and that you have with you the body of John Merryman.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 574-576.
  16. DESCRIPTION: “Arrest of John Merryman, Esq., by the Military.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 27, 1861
    SOURCE: The Sun Collection, MSA SC 2852-1-105
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  17. DESCRIPTION: “Conflict of Civil and Military Powers. General Cadwallader refuses obedience to the writ of habeas corpus.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 27, 1861
    SOURCE: The South Collection, MSA SC 3768
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  18. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Assistant Adjutant-General E. D. Townsend to Maj. Gen. George G. Cadwalader
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 28, 1861
    NOTES: “The general-in-chief directs me to say under authority conferred upon him by the President of the United States … that you will hold in secure confinement all persons implicated in treasonable practices unless you should become satisfied that the arrest in any particular case was made without sufficient evidence of guilt…. In returns to writs of habeas corpus by whomsoever issued you will most respectfully decline for the time to produce the prisoners but will say that when the present unhappy difficulties are at an end you will duly respond to the writs in question.”
    SOURCE:
    United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 576-577.
  19. DESCRIPTION: Ex Parte John Merryman Before the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
    DATE CREATED/PUBISHED:
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 577-585.
  20. DESCRIPTION: “Charge of Treason. Case of Mr. John Merryman. Writ of Habeas Corpus. General Cadwalader’s Refusal to Obey. An Attachment of Contempt Issued.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 28, 1861
    SOURCE: The Baltimore American and Commercial Advertiser Collection
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  21. DESCRIPTION: “United States Court.  Important Proceedings.  The Case of John Merryman, Esq.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 28, 1861
    SOURCE: The Sun Collection, MSA SC 2852-1-105
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  22. DESCRIPTION: “The Habeas Corpus Case:  Gen. Cadwallader Refuses To Allow The Process Of The Court To Be Served Upon Him.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 28, 1861
    SOURCE: The South Collection, MSA SC 3768-2-1
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  23. DESCRIPTION: “The Habeas Corpus Case of John Merryman, Esq.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 29, 1861
    SOURCE:
    The Sun Collection, MSA SC 2852-1-105
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  24. DESCRIPTION: “The Suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 31, 1861
    SOURCE: The Sun Collection, MSA SC 2852-1-105
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  25. DESCRIPTION: “The Merryman Case:  Opinion of Chief Justice Taney.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 3, 1861
    SOURCE: The Sun Collection, MSA SC 2852-1-105
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  26. DESCRIPTION: “The Merryman Case:  Decision of Chief Justice Taney.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 3, 1861
    SOURCE: The Baltimore American and Commercial Advertiser Collection, MSA SC 4104-1-2
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  27. DESCRIPTION: “The Habeas Corpus Case.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 4, 1861
    SOURCE: The Baltimore American and Commerical Advertiser Collection, MSA SC 4104-1-2
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  28. DESCRIPTION: Reverdy Johnson to Abraham Lincoln (Merryman case)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 17, 1861
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  29. DESCRIPTION: Abraham Lincoln, (Message to Congress, Handwritten Draft)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: July 4, 1861
    SOURCE: From The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  30. DESCRIPTION: Abraham Lincoln, [May-June 1861] (Message to Congress, July 4, 1861, First Printed Draft)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: July 4, 1861
    SOURCE: From The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  31. DESCRIPTION: “The Indictment for Treason Against John Merryman.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: July 11, 1861
    SOURCE: The Sun Collection, MSA SC 2852-1-105
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  32. DESCRIPTION: Extracts from the message of the Mayor of Baltimore
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: July 11, 1861
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 1 – Volume 2. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 15-20.
  33. DESCRIPTION: “Proceedings of the Courts:   The Indictment for Treason Against John Merryman.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: July 12, 1861
    SOURCE: The Baltimore American and Commerical Advertiser Collection, MSA SC 4104-1-2
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  34. DESCRIPTION: Letter, John A. Dix to William H. Seward
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: February 17, 1862
    NOTES: Includes report of political prisoners taken, released, and remaining since March 4, 1861, at Fort McHenry, Md.
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 2. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1897): 226-228
  35. DESCRIPTION: [John Merryman]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1880
    SOURCE: U.S. CENSUS BUREAU (Census Record, MD) John Merryman, 1880, Baltimore County, ED 240 Sheet 28 Line 1, MSA SM 61-307, M 4732
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  36. DESCRIPTION: “Death of John Merryman.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: November 16, 1881
    SOURCE: The Sun (Baltimore)
    REPOSITORY: From microfilm at Maryland State Law Library.
  37. DESCRIPTION: [Will of John Merryman]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1881
    SOURCE: BALTIMORE COUNTY REGISTER OF WILLS (Wills, Original) John Merryman, 1881, Box 1541 [MSA  T 1764-3,  0/38/11/53]
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  38. DESCRIPTION: [Inventory of Estate of John Merryman]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1881
    SOURCE: BALTIMORE COUNTY REGISTER OF WILLS (Inventories, Original) John Merryman, December 1881, Box 499, MSA T1205, 2/58/9/24
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  39. DESCRIPTION: John Merryman. Air-“Old Dan Tucker.” 
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: n. d.
    SOURCE: Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  40. DESCRIPTION: There’s life in the old land yet. By Jas. R. Randall, of Baltimore.   
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: n. d.
    SOURCE: Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

See also:

  • Baltimore and the 19th of April
  • Suspension of Civil Liberties in Maryland: The Case of Richard Bennett Carmichael
  • Prisoners of War in Maryland

Additional Media Resources

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine — Official National Park Service siteFort McHenry — Site of Patriots of Fort McHenry

Additional Instructional Resources

Resources on Incorporating Primary Sources and Historic Sites in Classroom Instruction

The Civil War and Civil Liberties. Lesson plan concerning the loss of civil liberties in wartime

The President and War Powers: Lincoln and the Civil War. Lesson plan from the White House Historical Association. Includes links to text of Ex Parte Merryman

President Lincoln Maintains National Security: The Case of Maryland, 1861. In: American History and National Security: Supplemental Lessons for High School Courses, Ed.  John J. Patrick, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1989.

Secondary Resources

“Ex Parte Merryman:  Proceedings of Court Day, May 26, 1861.”  Maryland Historical Magazine 56 (1961):  384-398.

“Merryman Family.”  Maryland Historical Magazine 10 (1915):  176-185; 286-299.

The Suspension of Habeas Corpus During the War of the Rebellion.” Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 3. (Sep., 1888), pp. 454-488. [JSTOR]

Adams, James Truslow ed.  Dictionary of American History.  5 vols.  New York:  Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1940.

Brown, George William.  Baltimore and the Nineteenth of April, 1861:  A Study of War.  Baltimore, MD:  The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1887.

Duncan, Richard R. “The Era of the Civil War: the Crisis of Loyalty” Chapter V-2. in Maryland, a History, pp. 333-360. Edited by Richard Walsh and William Fox, Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1974.

Fehrenbacher, Don E. “Roger B. Taney and the Sectional CrisisThe Journal of Southern History, Vol. 43, No. 4. (Nov., 1977), pp. 555-566. [JSTOR]

Kleinfeld, Joshua. “The union Lincoln made. (Political and Legal Aspects of Suspension of Writ of Habeus Corpus by President Lincoln during Civil War).” History Today (November 1, 1997).

Lewis, Walker.  Without Fear or Favor:   A Biography of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney.  Boston:  Houghton Mifflin Company, 1965.

National Biographical Publishing Company. The Biographical Cyclopedia of Representative Men of Maryland and District of Columbia. Baltimore, MD:  National Biographical Publishing Company, 1879.

Neely, Mark E., Jr. The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties. Oxford University Press, 1992.

Papenfuse, Edward C., Earl Arnett, and Robert J. Brugger.  Maryland: A New Guide to the Old Line State. Baltimore, MD:  The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1999.

Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Maryland. 3 vols. Hatboro, PA: Tradition Press, 1967.

________. History of Baltimore City and County.  2 vols.  Baltimore, MD:  Regional Publishing Company, 1971.

Schoettler, Carl. “A time liberties weren’t priority.” Sun (Baltimore) November 27, 2001.

Steiner, Bernard C.  Life of Roger Brooke Taney, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.  1922. Reprint, Westport, CT:  Greenwood Press, 1970.

Swisher, Carl Brent.  Roger B. Taney.  New York:  The Macmillan Company, 1935.

________.  The Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the Supreme Court of the United StatesVol. V:  The Taney Period 1836-64. New York:  Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.  1974.

Rehnquist, William H. All the Laws But One: Civil Liberties in Wartime. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998.

Password Access to Journal Articles

Some journal articles linked to this site require password access due to copyright and other restrictions. Teachers participating in the Teaching American History in Maryland program with a valid University of Maryland (UMBC) Library card can access these materials through ResearchPort.

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

Copyright and Other Restrictions

Access to materials linked within these document packets is intended for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. The responsibility for making an independent legal assessment and independently securing any necessary rights rests with persons desiring to use particular items in the context of the intended use.

Password Access to Materials

The use of any user name and password to access materials on this web site constitutes an agreement by the user to abide by any and all copyright restrictions and is an acknowledgement that these materials will be used for personal and educational use only. In most instances, the username aaco and password aaco# will work. Contact ref@mdsa.net if you have any questions or have difficulty accessing files.

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

Nat Turner’s Rebellion

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 4: Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)

STANDARD 2: How the industrial revolution, increasing immigration, the rapid expansion of slavery, and the westward movement changed the lives of Americans and led toward regional tensions 

Standard 2D: The student understands the rapid growth of “the peculiar institution” after 1800 and the varied experiences of African Americans under slavery.

5-12: Identify the various ways in which African Americans resisted the conditions of their enslavement and analyze the consequences of violent uprisings. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: The Confessions of Nat Turner, the leader of the late insurrection, in Southhampton, Virginia
    AUTHOR: Thomas R. Gray
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1831
    NOTES: Transcription available in Documenting the American South
    SOURCE: African American Odyssey
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Rare Book and Special Collections Division
  2. DESCRIPTION: John Floyd, governor of Virginia, to James Hamilton, governor of South Carolina
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: November 19, 1831
    SOURCE: African American Odyssey
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Rare Book and Special Collections Division
  3. DESCRIPTION: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself
    AUTHOR: Harriet Jacobs
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1861
    REPRODUCTIONS: Rights and Reproductions
    NOTES: In Chapter 12, “Fear of Insurrection,” Jacobs describes the treatment of slaves following the rebellion.
    SOURCE: The Nineteenth Century in Print: Books
    REPOSITORY: Digitized by the University of Michigan Library
  4. DESCRIPTION: The Richmond Enquirer on Nat Turner’s Rebellion
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1831
    SOURCE: Brotherly Love (PBS)
  5. DESCRIPTION: Horrid massacre in Virginia
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: [1831]
    REPRODUCTIONS: See item description for information
    SOURCE: Illus. in: Authentic and impartial narrative of the tragical scene which was witnessed in Southampton County. [New York], 1831.
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Rare Book and Special Collections Division

See also:

  • Runaway Slave Advertisements in the New Republic
  • Runaway Slave Advertisements in Antebellum Maryland

Additional Media Resources

African American Odyssey. From Library of Congress

Brotherly Love. From PBS’s African’s in America

Additional Instructional Resources

Nat Turner’s Rebellion, 1831: A Document-Based Question.

Runaway Slaves: From the Revolution to the New Republic From the UMBC Center for History Education

Freedom for All? The Contradictions of Slavery and Freedom in the Maryland Constitution From the UMBC Center for History Education

The Untold Story: The Black Struggle for Freedom during the Revolutionary War in Maryland From the UMBC Center for History Education

Daily Lives of Slaves – What Really Happened? From the UMBC Center for History Education

Secondary Resources

Cromwell, John W. “The Aftermath of Nat Turner’s Insurrection.” The Journal of Negro History (Apr., 1920): 208-234.

Duff, John B. and Peter M. Mitchell. The Nat Turner Rebellion: The Historical Event and the Modern Controversy. New York: Harper & Row, 1971.

Gross, Seymour L. and Eileen Bender. “History, Politics and Literature: The Myth of Nat Turner.” American Quarterly (Oct., 1971): 487-518.

Oates, Stephen B. The Fires of Jubilee: Nat Turner’s Fierce Rebellion. New York : Harper & Row, [1975]

Tragle, Henry Irving, ed. The Southampton Slave Revolt of 1831: A Compilation of Source Material. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1971.

See also fictionalized account and related secondary sources:
Styron, William. The Confessions of Nat Turner. New York: Random House, Inc., 1967

Casciato, Arthur D. and James L. W. West III. “William Styron and The Southampton Insurrection.” American Literature (Jan., 1981):  564-577.

Davis, Mary Kemp. Nat Turner before the Bar of Judgment: Fictional Treatments of the Southampton Slave Insurrection. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1999.

Ratner, Marc L. “Styron’s Rebel” American Quarterly, Vol. 21, No. 3. (Autumn, 1969), pp. 595-608.

Shapiro, Herbert. “The Confessions of Nat Turner: William Styron and his Critics.” Negro American Literature Forum (Winter, 1975): 99-104.

Copyright and Other Restrictions

Access to materials linked within these document packets is intended for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. The responsibility for making an independent legal assessment and independently securing any necessary rights rests with persons desiring to use particular items in the context of the intended use.

Password Access to Materials

The use of any user name and password to access materials on this web site constitutes an agreement by the user to abide by any and all copyright restrictions and is an acknowledgement that these materials will be used for personal and educational use only. In most instances, the username aaco and password aaco# will work. Contact ref@mdsa.net if you have any questions or have difficulty accessing files.

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Nancy Bramucci.

Elizabeth Keckley: 30 Years a Slave

Introduction

Elizabeth KeckleyMy life has been an eventful one. I was born a slave–was the child of slave parents–therefore I came upon the earth free in God-like thought, but fettered in action. My birthplace was Dinwiddie Court-House, in Virginia. My recollections of childhood are distinct, perhaps for the reason that many stirring incidents are associated with that period. I am now on the shady side of forty, and as I sit alone in my room the brain is busy, and a rapidly moving panorama brings scene after before me, some pleasant and others sad; and when I thus greet old familiar faces, I often find myself wondering if I am not living the past over again. The visions are so terribly distinct that I almost imagine them to be real. Hour after hour I sit while the scenes are being shifted; and as I gaze upon the panorama of the past, I realize how crowded with incidents my life has been. Every day seems like a romance within itself, and the years grow into ponderous volumes. As I cannot condense, I must omit many strange passages in my history. From such a wilderness of events it is difficult to make a selection, but as I am not writing altogether the history of myself, I will confine my story to the most important incidents which I believe influenced the moulding of my character. As I glance over the crowded sea of the past, these incidents stand forth prominently, the guide-posts of memory. 

From: Behind the scenes, or, Thirty years a slave, and four years in the White House

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 4: Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)

STANDARD 2: How the industrial revolution, increasing immigration, the rapid expansion of slavery, and the westward movement changed the lives of Americans and led toward regional tensions.

Standard 2D: The student understands the rapid growth of “the peculiar institution” after 1800 and the varied experiences of African Americans under slavery.

5-12: Describe the plantation system and the roles of their owners, their families, hired white workers, and enslaved African Americans. [Consider multiple perspectives]
5-12: Identify the various ways in which African Americans resisted the conditions of their enslavement and analyze the consequences of violent uprisings. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

Era 5: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877) 

STANDARD 2: The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people.
Standard 2B: The student understands the social experience of the war on the battlefield and homefront. 

5-12: Compare women’s homefront and battlefront roles in the Union and the Confederacy. [Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas]

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: Behind the scenes, or, Thirty years a slave, and four years in the White House: a machine-readable transcription
    AUTHOR: Elizabeth Keckley (New York: G.W. Carlton)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1868
    SOURCE: Prepared as part of The Digital Schomburg
  2. DESCRIPTION: Engraving, Elizabeth Keckley
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1868 in Behind the scenes, or, Thirty years a slave, and four years in the White House: a machine-readable transcription
    SOURCE: Prepared as part of The Digital Schomburg
  3. DESCRIPTION: Dressmaker and Former Slave Elizabeth Keckley (ca.1818–1907), Tells How She Gained Her Freedom
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1868
    NOTES: Description from History Matters: Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley was born around 1818 in Virginia, a slave of the Burwell family. At fourteen she was loaned to the Rev. Robert Burwell, her master’s son, who lived in North Carolina. There she gave birth to her son George, the product of an unwanted encounter with a white man. After several unhappy years with Robert Burwell and his family, Keckley was sent to live in St. Louis with Anne Burwell Garland, a married daughter of the Burwells. In this selection from her 1868 memoir Behind the Scenes, Keckley describes how she bought her freedom from the Garland family, a process that was completed in November 1855. Her sincere efforts to live within slavery’s rules are striking and indicate how deeply the slave system’s practices and values permeated both the black and white cultures of the South. After her emancipation Keckley earned her living as a dressmaker in Washington, D.C.; she died there in poverty in 1907.
    SOURCE: History Matters
  4. DESCRIPTION: Gown made by Elizabeth Keckley for Mary Todd Lincoln
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: about 1864
    COLLECTION: First Ladies Collection
    SOURCE: Legacies: Collection America’s History at the Smithsonian
  5. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Cloak worn by Mrs. Lincoln on the night of the assassination with blood stains
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
    NOTE: “In packing, Mrs. Lincoln gave away everything intimately connected with the President, as she said that she could not bear to be reminded of the past…The cloak, stained with the President’s blood, was given to me, as also was the bonnet worn on the same memorable night.” From: Behind the Scenes.
    SOURCE: The Bloody Evidence
  6. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Mary Todd Lincoln to Abraham Lincoln 
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: November 3, 1862
    NOTES: Mrs. Lincoln notes Elizabeth Keckley’s participation in the Contraband Association and her authorization to collect clothing, bedding, etc. on their behalf. She has been unsuccessful. “Out of the $1000 fund deposited with you by Gen Corcoran, I have given her the privelege of investing $200 her, in bed covering– She is the most deeply grateful being, I ever saw, & this sum, I am sure, you will not object to being used in this way– The cause of humanity requires it — and there will be $800 left of the fund– I am sure, this will meet your approbation”
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  7. DESCRIPTION: Former Slave Elizabeth Keckley and the “Contraband” of Washington DC.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1862 [1868]
    NOTES: Description from History Matters: Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley was born in slavery in Virginia around 1818 and purchased her freedom in 1855. In 1862 she was living in Washington DC and working as a skilled dressmaker; her principal client was Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of the president. Keckley sympathized with the former slaves, or “contraband,” as they were called, who fled to the relative safety of Washington during the Civil War. The Contraband Relief Association, which Keckley founded and headed, gathered funds and clothing for the poor former slaves. Yet, as her rather condescending remarks make clear, Keckley felt superior to the people she helped. Keckley’s memoir Behind the Scenes was published in 1868. The book included revelations about Mary Lincoln’s private life, and, feeling betrayed, the former First Lady shunned Keckley. Her dressmaking business declined, and she died in poverty in 1907 at the Home for Destitute Women and Children in Washington, one of the institutions she had helped to found.
    SOURCE: History Matters
  8. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Mary Todd Lincoln to Abraham Lincoln
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: November 2 [1862]
    NOTES: Helps to illustrates relationship between Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Keckley. “A day or two since, I had one of my severe attacks, if it had not been for Lizzie Keckley, I do not know what I should have done– Some of these periods, will launch me away.”
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

Additional Media Resources

Mr. Lincoln’s Virtual Library From the Library of Congress American Memory Project

American Women in the Civil War, 1861-1865

The Time of the Lincolns. From PBS

Additional Instructional Resources

A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE ON SLAVERY: Writing the History of African American Slave Women

Secondary Resources

Andrews, William L. “Reunion in the Postbellum Slave Narrative: Frederick Douglass and Elizabeth KeckleyBlack American Literature Forum, Vol. 23, No. 1. (Spring, 1989), pp. 5-16.

Baker, Jean H. Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography New York: W. W. & Company, 1987.

Fleischner, Jennifer. Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Keckly: The Remarkable Story of the Friendship Between a First Lady and a Former Slave. New York: Broadway Books, 2003.

Foster, Frances. “‘In Respect to Females…’: Differences in the Portrayals of Women by Male and Female NarratorsBlack American Literature Forum, Vol. 15, No. 2. (Summer, 1981), pp. 66-70.

Ostendorf, Lloyd. “Elizabeth Keckley’s Lost Lincoln Relics.” Lincoln Herald 71, no. 1 (1969): 14-18.

Polsky, Milton. “The American Slave Narrative: Dramatic Resource Material for the ClassroomThe Journal of Negro Education, Vol. 45, No. 2. (Spring, 1976), pp. 166-178.

Rutberg, Becky. Mary Lincoln’s Dressmaker: Elizabeth Keckley’s Remarkable Rise from Slave to White House Confidante. Walker & Co, 1995. [Juvenile non-fiction, grades 6-10]

Sorisio, Carolyn, “Unmasking the Genteel Performer: Elizabeth Keckley’s Behind the Scenes and the Politics of Public Wrath”; African American Review (34): 19-38.

Password Access to Journal Articles

Some journal articles linked to this site require password access due to copyright and other restrictions. Teachers participating in the Teaching American History in Maryland program with a valid University of Maryland (UMBC) Library card can access these materials through ResearchPort.

Copyright and Other Restrictions

Access to materials linked within these document packets is intended for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. The responsibility for making an independent legal assessment and independently securing any necessary rights rests with persons desiring to use particular items in the context of the intended use.

Password Access to Materials

The use of any user name and password to access materials on this web site constitutes an agreement by the user to abide by any and all copyright restrictions and is an acknowledgement that these materials will be used for personal and educational use only. In most instances, the username aaco and password aaco# will work. Contact ref@mdsa.net if you have any questions or have difficulty accessing files.

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Nancy Bramucci.

The Rise of Advertisement and American Consumer Culture

Maryland State Archives
350 Rowe Boulevard
Annapolis, MD 21401

1521 Boardwalk- Between Kentucky Avenue and New York Avenue

Overview

During the middle of the nineteenth century, the nature of the American business market began to change in dramatic ways. Earlier in the century, the steady rise of industry and the formulation of a market economy – fueled by wage labor instead of the traditional system of apprenticeship – as well as the formulation of national banking standards created a sound, firm base for modern, capitalist economics.  From the increasingly industrialized and urbanized American landscape, a unique phenomenon in marketing was born, and sometime around the 1840s, the concept of modern advertising emerged in American society.

Predominately appealing to American women – who were seen as the bedrock of American families, and thus, those most likely to make use of consumer goods – companies began to advertise in newspapers, on broadsides, and billboards. The reality of this new form of advertisement is seen in this document packet’s photograph of a boardwalk, where product names literally cover the entire streetscape. Of course, the custom of placing advertisements in newspapers held a tradition in American society; however, the advertising techniques and strategies that formed in the middle to latter part of the nineteenth century acquired a different character.  Traditionally, businesses would post brief assessments of their wares in the advertising sections of newspapers, merely providing a list of their goods to inform the public of what was available for purchase.  The new advertisements, by contrast, focused on creating unique slogans that customers would remember and that cast products in an optimistic light.  The Industrial Revolution saw a slew of innovations in technology and medicine, and these innovations fueled a growing advertising industry.  Products of similar designs began to compete against one another – a particular model of steam engine would feature unique instruments and features, for example, and these differences would be emphasized in the product advertisement.  Perhaps the most famous examples of these type of advertisements can be found in the now-famous Sears and Roebuck catalogue.

By the 1880s, advertisement seemed to take on a driving aspect of its own, and focused on the creation of “wants” and “needs” in the growing consumer population.  In order to create a market for certain items, clever businessmen would advertise products in careful language, designed to influence potential buyers into seeing the necessity of owning particular products.  Evidence of this is seen in the growing number of appliances such as cooking stoves, washing machines, and sewing machines produced at this time, and found within “modern” households.  Advertisements appealed to women especially, detailing how the possession of a cooking stove, for instance, was guaranteed to reduce the toil and labor of the kitchen, and thus free time for “nurturing” the family according to the values and standards of the day.  Women were intended, in a sense, to be the principle consumers of the new market economy.  In creating wants and needs in a population of consumers, advertisement was instrumental in paving the way for successful capitalism in America.

The place of women in the new economy was even more firmly cemented in the early decades of the twentieth century, with the rise of Progressivism and supply and demand economics.  Progressive reformers and businessmen alike appealed to and propagated the idea of virtuous households, carrying a theme from the culture of sentimentalism in the 1850s that stressed the value of nuclear families with morally upright – if submissive – mothers.  Many of the advertisements seen in this collection are clearly directed at women.  The “Fleischmann’s Recipes” cookbook celebrates the wholesome properties of the yeast, but in addition to this, it also promises women that the use of the yeast will ensure a happy household and family life.  Domestic economy – the science of good housewifery – is usually attributed to post World War II years, at least in the minds of the American public.  In fact, the foundations of household economy were raised in the early twentieth century and during the World War I era.  Home economy, in theory, allowed the housewife to make the most of finances, so that her family could purchase current technological innovations like automobiles, radios, and refrigerators.  The logic here was that, with these new technologies, life would be made easier for both the housewife (for whom societal values provided a labor-intensive schedule of household “duties”) and her family, as well as provide capital for the growing economy.  An excellent example of this household economy – produced by a woman, the famous home economist Christine Frederick – is found in the form of a lengthy pamphlet included in this document packet.

President Calvin Coolidge and other conservative political leaders and economists of the day – such as Herbert Hoover – placed an undue emphasis on consumerism in a false sense of security that the monopolized market for new technologies would carry Americans through to unrivaled wealth and prosperity.  In reality, many historians find that consumerism in the early twentieth century probably had a negative as well as a positive affect on American society; although advances in technology and home economics doubtlessly improved the quality of life for some Americans, consumerism spurred by advertisement created an illusion of demand that likewise created an overabundance of supply in automobiles and similar products.  The existence of a saturated market is held as one of the heralds or causes of the Great Depression, which led many Americans to experience some of the greatest poverty and economic suffering in American history.  The foundations of capitalism and modern economics – although influenced by many factors – were in large part, strengthened by the rise of advertisement and its creation of an American consumer culture.

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 7: The Emergence of Modern America (1890-1930)

   Standard 3: How the United States changed from the end of World War I to the eve of the Great Depression.

Standard 3C: The student understands how new cultural movements reflected and changed American society.

5-12: Analyze how radio, movies, newspapers, and popular magazines created mass culture. [Examine the influence of ideas]

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: Changing Picture Puzzle, “This man is up to date…”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1909
    NOTES:  This puzzle illustrates changing attitudes of the public towards modern advertisement, and those who resisted its development. For related materials, see American Memory’s Advertising Ephemera Collection.
    REPRODUCTIONS: Availability of Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  Emergence of Advertising in America, 1850-1920: Selections from the Collections of Duke University
    REPOSITORY:  Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, Duke University.
  2. DESCRIPTION:  Pamphlet, “Fleischmann’s Recipes”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1920
    NOTES: For related materials, see American Memory’s Nicole Di Bona Peterson Collection of Advertising Cookbooks.
    REPRODUCTIONS: Availability of Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  Emergence of Advertising in America, 1850-1920: Selections from the Collections of Duke University
    REPOSITORY:  Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, Duke University.
  3. DESCRIPTION:  Advertisement, “Your skin needs different kinds of care at different times”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1920
    NOTES: This advertisement for women’s cosmetic soap includes a coupon offer – another unique development in advertisement designed to stimulate a culture of consumption. For related materials, see American Memory’s Pond’s Advertisements collection.
    REPRODUCTIONS: Availability of Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  Emergence of Advertising in America, 1850-1920: Selections from the Collections of Duke University
    REPOSITORY:  Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, Duke University.
  4. DESCRIPTION:  “Selling Mrs. Consumer,” by Mrs. Christine Frederick
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1929
    NOTES: A well-known home economist, Christine Frederick was responsible for a number of publications advertising the virtues of household economy to women across the United States.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Copies of Photographs
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  Prosperity and Thrift: The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress.
  5. DESCRIPTION:  Photograph, 1521 Boardwalk- Between Kentucky Avenue and New York Avenue
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     July 1922
    NOTES: For related materials, see American Memory’s R. C. Maxwell Company Collection.
    REPRODUCTIONS: Availability of Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  Emergence of Advertising in America, 1850-1920: Selections from the Collections of Duke University
    REPOSITORY:  Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, Duke University.

See also: I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke: Advertising in America

Additional Media Resources

From Domesticity to Modernity: What Was Home Economics?

Additional Instructional Resources

The Learning Page: Collections Connections; Prosperity and Thrift: The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929

Secondary Resources

Hawley, Ellis W. The Great War and the Search for a Modern Order: A History of the American People and their Institutions, 1917-1933. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992.

Garvey, Ellen Gruber. The Adman in the Parlor: Magazines and the Gendering of Consumer Culture, 1880s to 1910s. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Leach, William. Land of Desire: Merchants, Power, and the Rise of a New American Culture. New York: Pantheon Books, 1993.

Lears, Jackson. Fables of Abundance: A Cultural History of Advertising in America. New York: Basic Books, 1994.

Leuchtenberg, William E. The Perils of Prosperity, 1914-1932. 2nd ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1993.

Lewis, Sinclair. Babbit. New York: Signet Classic, Penguin Putnam Inc., 1998.

Ribuffo, Leo P. “Jesus Christ as Business Statesman: Bruce Barton and the Selling of Corporate Capitalism.” American Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 2 (Summer, 1981), pp. 206-231.

Roberts, Mary Louise. “Gender, Consumption, and Commodity Culture.” The American Historical Review, Vol. 103, No. 3 (January, 1998), pp. 817-884.

Sherman, Sidney A. “Advertising in the United States.” Publications of the American Statistical Association, Vol. 7, No. 52 (December, 1900), pp. 1-44.

Wooster, Harvey A. “A Forgotten Factor in American Industrial History.” The American Economic Review, Vol. 16, No. 1 (March, 1926), pp. 14-27.

Password Access to Journal Articles

Some journal articles linked to this site require password access due to copyright and other restrictions. Teachers participating in the Teaching American History in Maryland program with a valid University of Maryland (UMBC) Library card can access these materials through ResearchPort.

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

Baltimore Museum of Industry
1415 Key Highway
Baltimore, MD 21230
410-727-4808

Copyright and Other Restrictions

Access to materials linked within these document packets is intended for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. The responsibility for making an independent legal assessment and independently securing any necessary rights rests with persons desiring to use particular items in the context of the intended use.

Password Access to Materials

The use of any user name and password to access materials on this web site constitutes an agreement by the user to abide by any and all copyright restrictions and is an acknowledgement that these materials will be used for personal and educational use only. In most instances, the username aaco and password aaco# will work. Contact ref@mdsa.net if you have any questions or have difficulty accessing files.

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Kevin Allor.

The Strike of 1877

Maryland State Archives
350 Rowe Boulevard
Annapolis, MD 21401

A contemporary artist’s rendering of the clash in Baltimore between workers and the Maryland Sixth Regiment during the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. The governor had called out the troops on behalf of the railroad company.

Introduction

The Strike of 1877, also known as ‘The Great Strike’ took place on railroads across the nation. The strike was the result of continued wage cuts of the laborers such as engineers and trainmen, while many of the companies continued to pay out dividends to its stockholders. The B&O Railroad, based in Baltimore, Maryland, was one of the last to cut the wages of its employees. When the wage cut was announced on July 11, 1877, the workers had had enough. The strike started in Baltimore and spread across the entire nation.

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 6: The Development of the Industrial United States (1870-1900)

Standard 3: The rise of the American labor movement and how political issues reflected social and economic changes 
Standard 3B: The student understands the rise of national labor unions and the role of state and federal governments in labor conflicts.
5-12:
Analyze the causes and effects of escalating labor conflict. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12: Explain the response of management and government at different levels to labor strife in different regions of the country. [Compare competing historical narratives]

Primary Resources

  1. TITLE:  Announcement of Wage Cuts on the B&O Railroad. 
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  July 11, 1877
    NOTES: The Strike of 1877 was touch off by a series of wage cuts on nearly every Railroad in the Nation.  The B&O Railroad was one of the last roads to cut the wages of its workers, but at the same time approved a dividend increase for the stockholders.  The strike started just a few days later on the B&O Railroad in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
    SOURCE:  B&O Railroad Minute Book
    REPOSITORY:  B&O Railroad Museum Archive
  2. TITLE:   The Recent Railroad Damages
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  July 28, 1877
    NOTES: An account published in the American Railroad Journal, the primary source of railroad news during the time, detailing the lawlessness that is taking place during the strike.  At the time of printing the strike was still taking place at many places throughout the country  It can clearly be seen that the editors of the journal did not sympathize with the striking workers.
    SOURCE:  American Railroad Journal
    REPOSITORY:  B&O Railroad Museum Archive
  3. TITLE:  A Strike at Strikes
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: August 4, 1877
    NOTES: Editorial published by the American Railroad Journal saying that while workers do have a right to earn a fair wage, they do not have a right to strike in such a manner that it causes harm to the property of the company.  The article also says that the actions of the workers “prove more or less injurious to the strikers.”
    SOURCE:  American Railroad Journal
    REPOSITORY:  B&O Railroad Museum Archive
  4. TITLE:  Claims for Good Destroyed by the Rioters
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  August 25, 1877
    NOTES: The Pennsylvania Railroad, the road that sustained the greatest amounts of damage during the strike, issued a statement to anyone who might have had property destroyed by the rioters while it was being transported by them.  The  railroad decided that it was the fault of the local county, and their failure to protect private property and enforce the peace, that made them responsible for all damages causes as opposed to the railroad itself.
    SOURCE:   American Railroad Journal
    REPOSITORY:  B&O Railroad Museum Archive
  5. TITLE: The Great Strike – The Sixth Maryland Regiment Fighting its Way Through Baltimore 
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:  From an engraving by D. Bendann
    NOTES: An attack on the Maryland Sixth Regiment by rioters, sympathizers, and hooligans as they marched to Camden station from the armory in Baltimore.
    MEDIUM:   Photograph
    REPOSITORY:  B&O Railroad Museum Archives
  6. TITLE: Locomotives Sitting Idle
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1877
    NOTES: Locomotives lined up as workers refuse to work during the Strike of 1877.  The location is possibly Martinsburg, West Virginia.
    MEDIUM:   Photograph
    REPOSITORY:  B&O Railroad Museum Archives

Additional Media Resources

Additional Instructional Resources

Secondary Resources

Bruce. Robert V. 1877: Year of Violence. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1970.

Hofstadter, Richard. Social Darwinism in American Thought, 1860-1915. Boston: Beacon Press, 1955 (originally published 1944).

Miller, George H. Railroads and the Granger Laws. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1971.

O. Stowell, David. Streets, Railroads, and the Great Strike of 1877. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1999.

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

Copyright and Other Restrictions

Access to materials linked within these document packets is intended for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. The responsibility for making an independent legal assessment and independently securing any necessary rights rests with persons desiring to use particular items in the context of the intended use.

Password Access to Materials

The use of any user name and password to access materials on this web site constitutes an agreement by the user to abide by any and all copyright restrictions and is an acknowledgement that these materials will be used for personal and educational use only. In most instances, the username aaco and password aaco# will work. Contact ref@mdsa.net if you have any questions or have difficulty accessing files.

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Richard Olson.

Cone Sisters

Maryland State Archives
350 Rowe Boulevard
Annapolis, MD 21401

Introduction

The Cone sisters’ legacy to Baltimore and to the art world at-large is that they were witnesses to an incredibly vibrant period in modern art and literature. Their affluence, education, and sociability allowed them to intermingle with Gertrude Stein, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, thus giving them an opportune vantage point from which to compile a premier art collection.

Born to Herman and Helen Cone, both German-Jewish immigrants, Claribel (November 14, 1864-September 20, 1929) and younger sister Etta (November 30, 1870-August 31, 1949) moved with the family to Baltimore in 1871. The family’s wholesale grocery would soon be re-named H. Cone and Sons as it prospered. Meanwhile, the eldest Cone brothers had relocated to Greensboro North Carolina to establish a textile business named Proximity Manufacturing Co. (now known as Cone Mills Corp.).

Both sisters graduated from Western Female High School. Whereas Etta was comfortable managing the family household, Claribel pursued a medical degree. First studying at the Woman’s Medical College of Baltimore from which she would graduate in 1890, Claribel would continue her education at the Johns Hopkins University Medical School. Although she never practiced medicine, Dr. Cone taught pathology and continued to study with researchers throughout Europe over the next two decades.

The Cone sisters owed much of their initial forays into the art world to their friendship with Gertrude and Leo Stein. After being orphaned, the Stein siblings moved to Baltimore to live with an aunt and soon became part of the Cone’s social crowd. Gertrude Stein studied at the Women’s Medical College during Claribel’s professional tenure. Despite the age difference, these unconventional women were drawn to one another by their love of conversation and music, while demure Etta was beguiled by Gertrude’s Bohemian lifestyle.

Inheritances from their parents allowed the Cone sisters to live comfortably; profits from their brothers’ mills during World War I would increase their fortunes considerably. It was Etta who first purchased artwork. In 1898, she began her collection with five paintings by Theodore Robinson. Etta would continue to acquire art sporadically. While on a European holiday and visiting the Stein’s in Paris, the younger sister was introduced to Picasso and then to Matisse. This initial encounter with Matisse would lead to a lifetime patronage. Much of Etta’s purchases were inspired by ‘romantic charity’ rather than a true desire to compile a collection of work. She would make small acquisitions to help up-and-coming arts like Matisse, Picasso, and even students at the Maryland Institute, College of Art; she would buy from the collection of the financially strapped Stein’s. Her tastes tended toward the conservative; more frequently than not, she bought portraits to decorate her home.

Contrary to Etta, Dr. Claribel purchased much more avant-garde works. She was responsible for the addition of Matisse’s Blue Nude and Paul Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen From the Bibemus Quarry to their collection. Whereas Etta might pay 10000 francs for a painting or a group of drawings, Claribel was much more bold in her purchases; the aforementioned paintings costing 120,760 and 410,000 francs respectively. But like her younger sister, building a collection was not the focus from the acquisition. Instead, the sisters covered every wall space of their apartments in the Marlborough building in Baltimore with their purchases.

It wasn’t until Claribel’s untimely death from pneumonia that Etta sought advice and used brokers to add to the personal collection. Upon her death, Claribel willed her paintings to Etta stipulating that the work should eventually be given to the Baltimore Museum of Art “if the spirit of appreciation of modern art in Baltimore should improve.” Etta would continue her patronage of Matisse, while not necessarily purchasing from his less-conservative periods. For instance, she never acquired one of his paper cut-outs. Over the next two decades, Etta made shrewd purchases to fill gaps in the collection.

Upon Etta’s death in 1949, despite overtures by New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Cone Collection was donated to the Baltimore Museum of Art. It contains over 3000 works, 500 of which are by Matisse. The estimated value is one billion dollars.

The Cone sister’s legacy is not one of radical feminism as was Gertrude Stein’s. Claribel and Etta remained unmarried, as did 10% of women during this time period. They traveled extensively within the company of other women as was customary within their social sphere. However, Claribel’s pursuit of a medical degree was at the forefront of the profession. And their use of the family’s prosperity to observe and collect art documenting the dynamism of post-World War I Europe was unparalleled among other women.

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 6 The Development of the Industrial United States

STANDARD 1: How the rise of corporations, heavy industry, and mechanized farming transformed the American people

Standard 1B: The student understands the rapid growth of cities and how urban life changed.

5-12 Trace the migration of people from farm to city and their adjustment to urban life. [Appreciate historical perspectives]

STANDARD 2: Massive immigration after 1870 and how new social patterns, conflicts, and ideas of national unity developed amid growing cultural diversity.

Standard 2A: The student understands the sources and experiences of the new immigrants

5-12 Assess the challenges, opportunities, and contributions of different immigrant groups. [Examine historical perspectives]

Standard 2C: The student understands how new cultural movements at different social levels affected American life.

5-12 Investigate new forms of popular culture and leisure activities at different levels of American society. [Draw upon visual sources]

Primary Resources

  1. TITLE:  The Cone Collection at the Baltimore Museum of Art
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 2001
    NOTE: Virtual tour of Marlborough apartment; “Collectors Extraordinaire;” “Matisse in the Cone Collection;” and     “Picasso: The Circus”
    SOURCE:  Baltimore Museum of Art
    RESPOSITORY:  Baltimore Museum of Art, Cone Archives
  2. TITLE:  Will of Dr. Claribel Cone
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 25, 1929
    NOTE: serial #10225, folio #531, Book #165, Case #447, p. 61.
    SOURCE:  Baltimore City, Register of Wills
    RESPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives
  3. TITLE:  Will of Etta Cone
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 18, 1949
    NOTE: serial #52036, folio #35, Book #233, CR 232, case #690, p.35
    SOURCE:  Baltimore City, Register of Wills
    RESPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives
  4. TITLE:  Probate inventory of Dr. Claribel Cone
    NOTE: serial #10225, folio #315, Book #257, p. 315; shows location of paintings within Marlborough apartment
    SOURCE:  Baltimore City, Register of Wills
    RESPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives
  5. TITLE:  Probate inventory of Etta Cone
    NOTE: serial #52036, folio #14, Book #308 and serial #52036, folio #557, Book #308; first entry shows stocks and bonds including $1.3 million of Cone Mills stock; second entry addresses bequeathment, but does not contain a specific inventory of paintings
    SOURCE:  Baltimore City, Register of Wills
    RESPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives
  6. TITLE:  Marlborough apartment hotel
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  after 1907
    NOTE: Z24.1515
    SOURCE:  Photo Collection – Baltimore houses
    RESPOSITORY:  Maryland Historical Society
  7. TITLE:  Dr. Claribel Cone A Remarkable Woman
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  April 8, 1911
    NOTE:  Interview with Dr. Cone available on microfilm from Enoch Pratt Library, Morgan State University, UMBC, and UMCP.
    SOURCE:  The Evening Sun (Baltimore)   
  8. TITLE: “Correspondence of Claribel and Etta Cone.”
    AUTHOR: Liza Kirwin
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1987
    SOURCE:  Archives of American Art Journal. V. 27 No. 2(1987) p. 34.
  9. TITLE: “Sopher Recalls Patron”
    AUTHOR: Sharon Dickman
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  April 5, 1971
    SOURCE:  Evening Sun

Additional Media Resources

Michael Palin on the Cone Sisters (Michael Palin and the Ladies Who Loved Matisse). BBC, 2002.

Cone Mills, Greensboro, North Carolina

Women’s Medical College of Baltimore

Additional Instructional Resources

Resources on Incorporating Primary Sources and Historic Sites in Classroom Instruction

Matisse for Kids

Secondary Resources

Abrahams, Harold J. Extinct Medical Schools of Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1969.

Cone, Edward. “Shirtsleeves to Matisses.” Forbes.com, 1999.

Cone, Edward T. “The Miss Etta Cones, The Steins, and M’sieu Matisse: A Memoir.” The American Scholar. Summer 1973 (vol. 42, no. 3) pp.441-460.

Cordell, Eugene F. Medical Annals of Maryland. Baltimore: Medical and Chirurgical Society of Maryland, 1903.

Gabriel, Mary. The Art of Acquiring: A Portrait of Etta & Claribel Cone. Baltimore: Bancroft Press, 2002.

Hirschland, Ellen B. “The Cone Sisters and the Stein Family.” Four Americans in Paris: The Collections of Gertrude Stein and her Family. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1970.

Pollack, Barbara. The Collectors: Dr. Claribel and Miss Etta Cone. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1962.

Richardson, Brenda and William C. Ameringer. Dr. Claribel and Miss Etta. Baltimore: Baltimore Museum of Art, 1985.

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Traci Siegler.

Baltimore, Allan Pinkerton

The Plot to Assassinate President Lincoln, 1861

Introduction

Allan PinkertonOn February 11, 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln boarded an east-bound train in Springfield, Illinois at the start of a whistle stop tour in seventy towns and cities ending in Washington, DC. While enroute to Washington, Lincoln was introduced to Allan Pinkerton, founder of the Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency of Chicago, who had been hired by the Baltimore, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad to investigate suspicious activities along the Baltimore route and the destruction of railroad property. Pinkerton became convinced that a plot existed to ambush Lincoln’s carriage between the Calvert Street Station of the Northern Central and the Camden Street Station of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, allowing conspirators to assassinate the President-elect during his passage through Baltimore on February 23, 1861.  Pinkerton tried to convince Lincoln to cancel his stop at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and proceed straight through Baltimore, but Lincoln insisted upon keeping to his schedule.

On the evening of the 22nd, telegraph lines to Baltimore were cut to prevent communications from passing between potential conspirators. Meanwhile, Lincoln left Harrisburg on a special train, arriving in Baltimore in the middle of the night. Since a city ordinance prohibited night time rail travel though the downtown area of the city, the railcars had to be horse-drawn between the President Street and Camden Street stations. Once Lincoln’s rail carriage had safely passed through Baltimore, Pinkerton sent a one-line telegram to the president of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad: “Plums delivered nuts safely.”

On the afternoon of February 23rd, Lincoln’s schedule train arrived in Baltimore. The large crowd that gathered at the station to see the President-elect quickly learned that Lincoln had already passed by and had to be content with viewing Mary Todd Lincoln, her sons, and John Hay, Lincoln’s private secretary. The newspapers, however, harpooned Lincoln for slipping through Baltimore in the dead of night. Adalbert Volck, a Baltimore dentist and caricaturist, was inspired to pen his famous satirical etching, “Passage Through Baltimore.” Volck’s image of a startled Lincoln in his nightshirt peering out of the side of his rail car as it passes through Baltimore has become part of the Lincoln iconography.

Most historians believe that Pinkerton perception of an assassination plot was incorrect and Lincoln came to regret that he slipped through the city unannounced.

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 5: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)

STANDARD 2: The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people.
Standard 2A: The student understands how the resources of the Union and Confederacy affected the course of the war.

5-12: Identify the turning points of the war and evaluate how political, military, and diplomatic leadership affected the outcome of the conflict. [Assess the importance of the individual in history]

Standard 2B: The student understands the social experience of the war on the battlefield and homefront.

5-12: Compare the human and material costs of the war in the North and South and assess the degree to which the war reunited the nation. [Examine historical perspectives]

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: [Antietam, Md. Allan Pinkerton (“E. J. Allen”) of the Secret Service on horseback].
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1862 September.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Photographic Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE: Selected Civil War Photographs, 1861-1865
    REPOSITORY:
    Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.
  2. DESCRIPTION: Letter, R. A. Hunt to Abraham Lincoln (Warns Lincoln of assassination attempt)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: January 18, 1861
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, DC
  3. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Charles Gould to Henry C. Bowen (Plot to assassinate Lincoln)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: February 5, 1861
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, DC
  4. DESCRIPTION: [Charles P. Stone] (Memorandum pertaining to danger in Baltimore)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: February 21, 1861
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, DC
  5. DESCRIPTION: Letter, William L. Schley to Abraham Lincoln (Plot to harm Lincoln in Baltimore)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: February 23, 1861
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, DC
  6. DESCRIPTION: Passage Through Baltimore
    ARTIST: Adalbert John Volck (1828–1912)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Etching, 1863
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Photographic Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE: Civil War Treasures from the New-York Historical Society
    RESPOSITORY: New York Historical Society
  7. TITLE:  Baltimore and the nineteenth of April 1861
    AUTHOR:  George William Brown
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 
    1887
    NOTE: 
    Brown was the mayor of Baltimore at the time of the riot. See chapter 1 for account of plot.
    SOURCE:
      The Capital and the Bay: Narratives of Washington and the Chesapeake Bay Region, ca. 1600-1925 
    REPOSITORY:
    Library of Congress, American Memory
  8. DESCRIPTION: Published transcription, Pinkerton’s Account of the Plot
    DATE CREATE/PUBLISHED: 1866
    SOURCE: Norma B. Cuthbert, Lincoln and the Baltimore Plot 1861: From Pinkerton Records and Related Papers. San Marino: The Huntington Library, 1949.
    REPOSITORY: Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore
  9. DESCRIPTION: Published transcription, Allan Pinkerton’s Record Book, 1861
    DATE CREATE/PUBLISHED: 1866
    SOURCE: Norma B. Cuthbert, Lincoln and the Baltimore Plot 1861: From Pinkerton Records and Related Papers. San Marino: The Huntington Library, 1949.
    REPOSITORY: Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore
  10. DESCRIPTION: Published transcription, Judd’s Account of the Plot, 1866
    DATE CREATE/PUBLISHED: 1866
    SOURCE: Norma B. Cuthbert, Lincoln and the Baltimore Plot 1861: From Pinkerton Records and Related Papers. San Marino: The Huntington Library, 1949.
    REPOSITORY: Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore
  11. DESCRIPTION: Plot to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln. 
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 1868 in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine
    COPYRIGHT:
    Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:
    The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals
    REPOSITORY: Digitized by Cornell University Library and the Preservation Reformatting Division of the Library of Congress

See also:

  • “Ward H. Lamon and the Baltimore Plot” In  Norma B. Cuthbert, Lincoln and the Baltimore Plot 1861: From Pinkerton Records and Related Papers. San Marino: The Huntington Library, 1949.

Additional Media Resources
Abraham Lincoln Research Site. Website compiled by a former American history teacher.

Secondary Resources
Arnold, Isaac H. “Plot to Assassinate Abraham LincolnHarper’s Magazine (June 1868): 123-128.

Mason, Victor Louis. “Four Lincoln Conspiraces.” The Century. (April 1896):889-912.

Sheads, Scott Sumpter and Daniel Carroll Toomey. Baltimore During the Civil War. Linthicum: Toomey Press, 1997.

Copyright and Other Restrictions

Access to materials linked within these document packets is intended for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. The responsibility for making an independent legal assessment and independently securing any necessary rights rests with persons desiring to use particular items in the context of the intended use.

Password Access to Materials

The use of any user name and password to access materials on this web site constitutes an agreement by the user to abide by any and all copyright restrictions and is an acknowledgement that these materials will be used for personal and educational use only. In most instances, the username aaco and password aaco# will work. Contact ref@mdsa.net if you have any questions or have difficulty accessing files.

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Nancy Bramucci.

Suspension of Civil Liberties in Maryland

The Case of Richard Bennett Carmichael

Introduction

“… if you have unquestionable proof that Judge Carmichael has uttered treasonable language in his charge to the grand jury…
arrest him and bring him to Fort McHenry.”

Richard Bennett CarmichaelDuring the Civil War, Judge Richard Bennett Carmichael was a presiding circuit court judge for Kent, Queen Anne, Caroline, and Talbot counties. In November 1861, federal officials arrested three men charged with interfering with the election process after they heckled Unionists at a rally. Opposed to the arbitrary arrests and abuse of civil liberties, Carmichael instructed grand juries to indict the persons who made or abetted such arrests. As a result, Secretary of State William Seward ordered Judge Carmichael’s arrest. On May 27, 1862, Federal troops entered Carmichael’s courtroom in Easton where he was pistol whipped and dragged from the Talbot County Circuit Court bench.

Instantly this Officer with his revolver drawn pushed on Judge Carmichael and seized him by the breast of his coat. The other officer closed in also. I could not then see Judge Carmichael, but could see they were surging and pulling at him. I saw three pistols snapped at him in the scuffle. In dragging him from his seat the person of the Judge was again concealed from me for some short time. I saw however the officers in front of him striking at him with the barrels of the revolvers. In a short time the Judge covered with blood was dragged from his seat and platform. I soon after left courtroom. Several citizens meantime had been struck with the barrels of the revolvers by the deputies above named. I saw no citizen display a weapon of any sort or offer the least shadow of opposition or resistance. 

Taken to Fort McHenry, Judge Carmichael spent six months in various Union prisons without a trial and was unconditionally released on December 4, 1862.

After the war, Judge Carmichael served in the Maryland House of Delegates and preside over the Maryland Constitutional Convention of 1867. He died October 21, 1884.

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 5: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)

Standard 2B: The student understands the social experience of the war on the battlefield and homefront.

Standard 2B: The student understands the social experience of the war on the battlefield and homefront.

9-12: Evaluate the Union’s reasons for curbing wartime civil liberties. [Consider multiple perspectives]  

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: Richard Bennett Carmichael
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 
    SOURCE: J. Thomas Scharf, History of Maryland from the Earliest Period to the Present Day. Vol. 3. Hatboro, PA: Tradition Press, 1967.
    RESPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  2. DESCRIPTION: Fort McHenry
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
    SOURCE: J. Thomas Scharf, History of Maryland from the Earliest Period to the Present Day. Vol. 3. Hatboro, PA: Tradition Press, 1967.
    RESPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  3. DESCRIPTION: Letter, William H. Seward to John A. Dix
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: October 3, 1861
    NOTES: “It seems to me that that functionary should be arrested even in  his court if need be and sent to Fort Lafayette. You may proceed accordingly.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 2. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1897): 85
  4. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Major General John A. Dix to Governor Augustus W. Bradford
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: February 10, 1862
    NOTES: “Hon. R. B. Carmichael has for many months been one of the prime movers of disaffection and disloyalty on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He was the author of a treasonable memorial to the legislature, published and circulated under his own signature while holding a place on the bench. His charges to the grand juries in his district have been inflammatory and insulting to the Federal Government…. It was proposed months ago to arrest him and send him to Fort Lafayette. Though he deserves it I prefer to have him sent into the Confederate States to be turned over to the insurgents with whom he sympathizes and whose cause he is doing all in his power to promote. He is unworthy of the protection of a Government which he is laboring to subvert and he ought not to enjoy its privileges.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 2. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1897): 213
  5. DESCRIPTION: Letter, John A. Dix to H. H. Goldsborough (p. 576, p. 577)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 23, 1862
    NOTES: “I am disposed however, to defer to your judgment, and if you have unquestionable proof that Judge Carmichael has uttered treasonable language in his charge to the grand jury and that the officers of the court have been so biased and are so controlled by the disloyalty of the judge as to render a fair trial hopeless, then the deputy provost-marshall, Mr. McPhail, is authorized on consultation with you to arrest him and bring him to Fort McHenry.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 576-577.
  6. DESCRIPTION: Docket entry, Talbot County Circuit Court, indicating that the activities of the court have been interrupted because of the arrest of Judge Richard Bennett Carmichael
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 27, 1862
    SOURCE: TALBOT COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT (Minutes) [MSA C1892, 1-43-4-6]
    RESPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  7. DESCRIPTION: Letter J. L. McPhail to W. W. Morris
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 27, 1862
    NOTES: “You will receive the Hon. Judge R. B. Carmichael …. The charges will be sent in the morning.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 600.
  8. DESCRIPTION: Register of prisoner, R. Carmichael
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 28, 1862
    SOURCE: Selected Records of the War Department Relating to Confederate Prisoners of War, 1861-1865. Microfilm No. 598. Roll 96. Volumes 305-310. Register of Prisoners and Ledger of Prisoners’ Accounts, 1861-65: Fort McHenry, Md. Military Prison.
    REPOSITORY: National Archives
  9. DESCRIPTION: “An Exciting Scene at Easton. Arrest of Judge Carmichael and Others on The Charge of Treason.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 29, 1862
    SOURCE: The Maryland Newsheet Collection
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  10. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Col. Samuel Hambleton and James Lloyd to James A. Pearce providing a detailed account of Carmichael’s arrest.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 29, 1862
    SOURCE: TALBOT COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT (Minutes) [MSA C1892, 1-43-4-6]
    RESPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  11. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Thomas H. Hicks to Abraham Lincoln,  (Release of suspected conspirators)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 30, 1862
    NOTE: Thomas H. Hicks was the governor of Maryland, 1858-1862.
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  12. DESCRIPTION: Letter, William Wilkins Glenn to unknown correspondent
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 31, 1862
    NOTES: Includes statement from Judge Carmichael
    SOURCE: Bayly Ellen Marks and Mark Norton Schatz, Between North and South: A Maryland Journalist Views the Civil War: The Narrative of William Wilkins Glenn, 1861-1869. London: Associated University Presses, 1976.
    REPOSITORY: Original letter in the collections of the Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore
  13. DESCRIPTION: Letter, George Vickers to William Price,  (Arrests in Maryland)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 3, 1862
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    RESPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  14. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Samuel Hambleton to James A. Pearce,  (Statement regarding arrest of Judge Richard Carmichael)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 9, 1862
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  15. DESCRIPTION: Letter, William Price to William H. Seward (Arrest of Judge Richard Carmichael)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 9, 1862
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    RESPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  16. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Abraham Lincoln to John W. Crisfield,  (Arrest of Judge Richard Carmichael)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 26, 1862
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    RESPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  17. DESCRIPTION: Letter, A. Minor to Abraham Lincoln, (Arrest of Richard B. Carmichael)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: July 1862
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    RESPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  18. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Richard B. Carmichael to Abraham Lincoln,  (Seeks release from prison)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: July 22, 1862
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    RESPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  19. DESCRIPTION: Letter, James A. Pearce to Abraham Lincoln, (Arrest of Judge Richard B. Carmichael)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: August 8, 1862
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    RESPOSITORY: Library of Congress
  20. DESCRIPTION: Letter John A. Dix to Augustus W. Bradford
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: February 10, 1862
    NOTES: “Hon. R. B. Carmichael has for many months been on of the prime movers of disaffection and disloyalty on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He was the author of a treasonable memorial to the legislature, published and circulated under his own signature while holding a place on the bench. His charges to the grand juries in his district have been inflammatory and insulting to the Federal Government. He has caused military officers to be indicted and has charged grand juries that it was their duty to find bills against all persons who had given information on which arrests had been made by order of the Government….”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 2. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1897): 213

See also:

Secondary Resources

Neely, Mark E., Jr. The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties. Oxford University Press, 1992.

Preston, Dickson J. Talbot County: A History. Centreville: Tidewater Publishers, 1983.

Rehnquist, William H. All the Laws But One: Civil Liberties in Wartime. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998.

Scharf, J. Thomas History of Maryland from the Earliest Period to the Present Day. Vol. 3. Hatboro, PA: Tradition Press, 1967.

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
Fort Avenue
Baltimore, MD

Copyright and Other Restrictions

Access to materials linked within these document packets is intended for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. The responsibility for making an independent legal assessment and independently securing any necessary rights rests with persons desiring to use particular items in the context of the intended use.

Password Access to Materials

The use of any user name and password to access materials on this web site constitutes an agreement by the user to abide by any and all copyright restrictions and is an acknowledgement that these materials will be used for personal and educational use only. In most instances, the username aaco and password aaco# will work. Contact ref@mdsa.net if you have any questions or have difficulty accessing files.

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Nancy Bramucci.

Streets of Fire

Governor Spiro Agnew and the Baltimore City Riots, April 1968

Maryland State ArchivesGovernor Spiro Agnew
350 Rowe Boulevard
Annapolis, MD 21401

 

Introduction

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was fatally shot by James Earl Ray on his motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee.  The leader of the Civil Rights Movement had been killed.  Many people in the United States, both black and white, could not believe the tragic news when they heard it.  Soon the disbelief and shock would turn to confusion and chaos in the streets of urban America.

The slaying of King led to turbulent and racial unrest in the United States in the weeks immediately following the assassination. There was rioting in more than 130 cities in the U.S. At least 46 lives were claimed by the riots throughout the United States. Baltimore was one of the cities most affected by the riots. The violent uprisings occurred especially in the larger urban areas that had a high African-American population.  Such chaos erupted on the streets of Baltimore in April 1968.  From Saturday, April 6th to Tuesday, April 9th, there was rampant rioting and looting.  Many buildings and structures were also burned, as the streets of inner city Baltimore became engulfed in flames.

The Governor of Maryland in 1968 was Spiro Agnew (1918-1996), and Agnew’s role in the Baltimore City Riots was by no means inconsequential.   Agnew was a child of Greek immigrant parents in Baltimore City in 1918.  After majoring in chemistry at Johns Hopkins University, Agnew was drafted and won the Bronze Star for his service in the European theater of World War II.  He returned home from the war and attended the University of Baltimore Law School and would pass the Maryland bar in 1949, before serving in the Korean War as well.  Agnew joined the Republican Party in 1947 and became a popular politician due to his support of civil rights and to a progressive record that appealed to moderates in both the Democratic and Republican parties. In 1966, Agnew was nominated for Governor by his party, after a successful term as County Executive from 1962 to 1966.  Agnew won the gubernatorial race decisively.

However, Agnew’s initial appeal to the African-American community would severely change in April 1968. Governor Agnew had already faced his share of racial unrest in the Cambridge, MD riots of 1967 on the Eastern Shore.  Agnew had blamed SNCC chairman H. Rap Brown for inciting the violence with speeches and rhetoric that Agnew equated with as a call to arms. This time though, the riots occurred in Baltimore, the state’s largest city and pivotal economic center.  The city also was home to a large African American population. The death of King elevated racial tensions in a city that was already facing such racial and overall civil tension due to the civil rights movement and Vietnam War protests.  Agnew offered sincere sympathetic words in comments about Dr. King on April 4, 1968. Yet, these words could not stop the raucous that was to begin soon thereafter.

Looting and fires became a major concern as the riots erupted. There was a great need for order and security that the Baltimore City Police, by themselves, could not provide. With riots raging in Baltimore City, Agnew sent out the National Guard on April 6 to help quell the riots and restore peace to the city, particularly in West Baltimore where the rioting was most heavy and damaging.  A curfew was also established for all city residents as well as a restriction on overall travel to and from the city.  By April 10, the riots had seemingly been extinguished,  The clean-up of the city would be great and the overall effects of the riot had an enormous impact on city life and its residents for decades to come, especially in those areas where the rioting was at its zenith.

Agnew invited Black civic and religious leaders to a meeting to discuss the riots and civil rights in general. Yet the meeting failed, as Agnew could not withhold his contempt for militant leaders. Agnew called these leaders “Circuit riding, Hanoi visiting, caterwauling, riot inciting, burn America down type of leaders”. Those leaders in attendance walked out of the meeting before Agnew had finished his talk. Agnew gained  support among people who felt that there were too many concessions and pardons made to looters and arsonists during the riots. Liberal critics felt Agnew had alienated the African-American community that had turned out for him at the voting booths just two years before.

Finally, the career of Spiro Agnew would go on to greater political heights as well as dispiriting lows.  Agnew was elected the Vice-Resident of the United States under Richard Nixon in 1968, and the duo was re-elected to a second term in 1972. However, in 1973-in the midst of the Watergate investigation-Agnew agreed to resign the position instead of facing criminal charges, when it became quite evident that he had taken bribes as Governor of Maryland and had also evaded paying his taxes.

(Parts of this summary were abstracted from Junto Society: Vice Presidents)

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 10: Contemporary United States (1968 to the present)
STANDARD 2: Economic, social, and cultural developments in contemporary United States 

Standard 2D:The student understands contemporary American culture. 

Standard 2E: Evaluate the continuing grievances of racial and ethnic minorities and their
recurrent reference to the nation’s charter documents. [Explain historical continuity and change]

7-12: Evaluate the continuing grievances of racial and ethnic minorities and their recurrent
reference to the nation’s charter documents. [Explain historical continuity and change]

Primary Resources

  1. TITLE:  Riot Control Formation, Anne Arundel County Police
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  26 April, 1968
    NOTES:
    The photograph is a print made from an original negative. The riot control formation shown in this photograph reveals how county police were ready to deal with the heightened racial tensions in Maryland in April of 1968.
    SOURCE:
    Anne Arundel County Police Department Photograph Collection, MSA SC 2169
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  2. TITLE:  Comment on the Killing of Dr. Martin Luther King, April 4, 1968
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1975
    AUTHOR: Spiro T. Agnew
    MEDIUM: Archives Of Maryland Online, Volume 83, p. 753
    SOURCE:  Addresses and State Papers of Spiro T. Agnew Governor of Maryland
    1967-1969
    EDITOR: Franklin L. Burdette
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  3. TITLE:  News Release and Statement State Flag at Half Mast, April 5, 1968
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1975
    MEDIUM: Archives Of Maryland Online, Volume 83, p. 754
    SOURCE:  Addresses and State Papers of Spiro T. Agnew Governor of Maryland
    1967-1969
    EDITOR: Franklin L. Burdette
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  4. TITLE:  Address to Citizens of Maryland on Burning and Looting, April 7, 1968
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1975
    AUTHOR: Spiro T. Agnew
    MEDIUM: Archives Of Maryland Online, Volume 83, p. 755-756
    SOURCE:  Addresses and State Papers of Spiro T. Agnew Governor of Maryland
    1967-1969
    EDITOR: Franklin L. Burdette
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  5. TITLE:  Statement on Control of Looting in Baltimore April 8, 1968
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1975
    AUTHOR: Spiro T. Agnew
    MEDIUM: Archives Of Maryland Online, Volume 83, p. 757
    SOURCE:  Addresses and State Papers of Spiro T. Agnew Governor of Maryland
    1967-1969
    EDITOR: Franklin L. Burdette
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  6. TITLE:  Statement at Conference with Civil Rights Leaders and Community Leaders State Office Building, Baltimore April 11, 1968
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1975
    AUTHOR: Spiro T. Agnew
    MEDIUM: Archives Of Maryland Online, Volume 83, p. 758-763
    SOURCE:  Addresses and State Papers of Spiro T. Agnew Governor of Maryland
    1967-1969
    EDITOR: Franklin L. Burdette
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  7. TITLE:  News Release and Statement Complimenting Military and Civilian Units in Handling Baltimore Disorder, April 13, 1968
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1975
    MEDIUM: Archives Of Maryland Online, Volume 83, p. 763
    SOURCE:  Addresses and State Papers of Spiro T. Agnew Governor of Maryland
    1967-1969

    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  8. TITLE:  News Conference April 18, 1963
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1975
    AUTHOR: Spiro T. Agnew
    MEDIUM: Archives Of Maryland Online, Volume 83, p. 766-775
    SOURCE:  Addresses and State Papers of Spiro T. Agnew Governor of Maryland
    1967-1969
    EDITOR: Franklin L. Burdette
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
    NOTES: This news conference contains questions from reporters in attendance (and Agnew’s answers) as well as Governor Agnew’s Statement.
  9. TITLE:  News Release on Action to Meet Critical Problems Associated with Riots, April 21, 1968
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1975
    MEDIUM: Archives Of Maryland Online, Volume 83, p. 775-777
    SOURCE:  Addresses and State Papers of Spiro T. Agnew Governor of Maryland
    1967-1969
    EDITOR: Franklin L. Burdette
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  10. TITLE:  News Release on Emergency Assistance To Victims of Civil Disorders, April 23, 1968
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1975
    MEDIUM: Archives Of Maryland Online, Volume 83, p. 777-778
    SOURCE:  Addresses and State Papers of Spiro T. Agnew Governor of Maryland
    1967-1969
    EDITOR: Franklin L. Burdette
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  11. TITLE:   “Guard Called Out In Baltimore Riot; Three Killed; U.S. Troops Sent To Chicago, bolstered in D.C.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 7 April,1968
    MEDIUM: Newspaper
    SOURCE:  Baltimore Sun, p. 1
    REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives, MSA SC 2852
  12. TITLE:  “City Curfew Imposed; Agnew Sends Troops As Unrest Spreads”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 7 April, 1968
    MEDIUM: Newspaper
    SOURCE:  Baltimore Sun, p.1 & 10
    REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives, MSA SC 2852
  13. TITLE:  “In Baltimore”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  7 April, 1968
    MEDIUM: Newspaper
    SOURCE:   Baltimore Sun, p. 6
    REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives, MSA SC 2852
    NOTES: An editorial about the riots in Baltimore of the previous day and night.
  14. TITLE:  “Agnew Wires Johnson; Insurrection Spills to Slums on Westside”
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:  8 April, 1968
    MEDIUM: Newspaper
    SOURCE:  Baltimore Sun, p. 1 & A7
    REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives, MSA SC 2852
  15. TITLE:  “Efficient, Weary Guardsmen unable to Prevent Looting”
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:  8 April, 1968
    MEDIUM: Newspaper
    SOURCE:  Baltimore Sun, p. 1 & A9
    REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives, MSA SC 2852
  16. TITLE:  “Federal Force Rises to 4900…”
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:   9 April, 1968
    MEDIUM: Newspaper
    SOURCE:  Baltimore Sun, p. 1 & A9
    REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives, MSA SC 2852
  17. TITLE:  “Strict Curbs Put On Travel in City”
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:  9 April, 1968
    MEDIUM: Newspaper
    SOURCE:  Baltimore Sun, p. B22
    REPOSITORY:   Maryland State Archives, MSA SC 2852
  18. TITLE:  “Negro Peace Meeting Dispersed by Troops”
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:  10 April, 1968
    MEDIUM: Newspaper
    AUTHOR: Edward G. Pickett
    SOURCE: Baltimore Sun, p. A9
    REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives, MSA SC 2852
  19. TITLE:  “After the Cleanup”
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: 11 April, 1968
    MEDIUM: Newspaper
    SOURCE:  Baltimore Sun, p. A14
    REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives, MSA SC 2852
    NOTES: Editorial
  20. TITLE:  “No, Governor”
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:  12 April, 1968
    MEDIUM: Newspaper
    SOURCE:  Baltimore Sun, p. A10
    REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives, MSA SC 2852
    NOTES: Editorial
  21. TITLE:  “Governor’s Job”
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:   13 April, 1968
    AUTHOR: John Henry Lewis, Jr.
    MEDIUM: Newspaper
    SOURCE:  Baltimore Sun, p. 6
    REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives, MSA SC 2852
    NOTES: A Letter to the Editor
  22. TITLE: Spiro T. Agnew, b. 1918: Fifty-fifth Governor, 1967-1969 (Republican)
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1972.
    MEDIUM: Portrait
    ARTIST: Robert Tollast
    SOURCE:  Exhibit of Governors’ Portraits in the Governor’s Reception Room, Maryland State House, MSA SC 1545-1091
    REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives

Additional Media Resources

Archives of Maryland (Biographical Series). Spiro T. Agnew (1918-1996), MSA SC 3520-1486
Governor of Maryland, 1967-1969, Vice President of the U.S., 1969-1973 (Republican).

Additional Instructional Resources

Resources on Incorporating Primary Sources and Historic Sites in Classroom Instruction

Documents for the Classroom: Is Baltimore Burning?

Secondary Resources

Albright, Joseph. What makes Spiro run; the life and times of Spiro Agnew. New York, 1972.

Clayborne, Carson and Tom Hamburger.  “The Cambridge Convergence: How a night in Maryland 30 Years Ago Changed the Nation’s Course of Racial Politics” Minneapolis Star Tribune, 28 July 1997.

Cummings, Elijah.  “Thirty Years After the Riots”, Afro-American 11 April,1998.

Klee,Gerald D.  M.D. “Riots and Mental Illness” Maryland Psychiatrist, Spring/Summer 1998, Vol. 25 No. 1.

Knopf, Terry Ann. “Race, Riots, and Reporting”Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 4, No. 3. (Mar., 1974), pp. 303-327.

O’Reilly,Kenneth. “The FBI and the Politics of the Riots, 1964-1968”. The Journal of American History, Vol. 75, No. 1. (Jun., 1988), pp. 91-114.

“Spiro the Tyro”. Time Magazine. 20 September, 1968, pgs. 21, 24-25.

Password Access to Journal Articles

Some journal articles linked to this site require password access due to copyright and other restrictions. Teachers participating in the Teaching American History in Maryland program with a valid University of Maryland (UMBC) Library card can access these materials through ResearchPort.

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

Great Blacks in Wax Museum
1601-03 E. North Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland 21213
(410) 563-6416

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Michael T. Walsh.

Arrest of the Maryland Legislature, 1861

Introduction

Kemp Hall, Frederick, MDIn early 1861, Maryland was walking a tightrope between the Union and the Confederacy. In addition to being physically between the two sides, Maryland depended equally on the North and the South for its economy. Although Maryland had always leaned toward the south culturally, sympathies in the state were as much pro-Union as they were pro-Confederate. Reflecting that division and the feeling of many Marylanders that they just wanted to be left alone, the state government would not declare for either side.

For the Federal Government, however, there was no question about which side Maryland had to take. If she seceded, Washington D.C. would be surrounded by hostile states, effectively cut off from the rest of the Union. The situation came to a head on April 19, 1861, when the soldiers of the 6th Massachusetts Volunteers, moving through Baltimore on the way to Washington, were attacked by a pro-Southern mob. When the mob started shooting at the regiment, the soldiers returned fire, and when the smoke had cleared, four soldiers and twelve civilians had been killed.

To avoid further riots, it was decided to send troops through the Naval Academy at Annapolis. To ensure the safety of the troops and the loyalty of the state government, the Federal Government sent General Benjamin F. Butler to Annapolis to secure the city on April 22. That same day, Governor Thomas Holliday Hicks decided to call a special session of the General Assembly to discuss the crisis. At that time, the General Assembly met biannually, but popular outcry was so strong that the governor felt it necessary to call together the Assembly during an off year. However, he probably felt that anti-Union sentiment would run high in a city that had just been occupied by Northern troops, so Governor Hicks decided to convene the Legislature in Frederick, Maryland, a strongly pro-Union city.

The General Assembly first met in the Frederick County Courthouse on April 26. However, it was quickly found that the courthouse was too small, and so, on the second day, the Assembly moved to Kemp Hall the meeting hall belonging to the German Reformed Church. On April 30, the weekly Frederick Herald reported: “The Legislature seems comfortable and well provided for in their new halls in the German Reformed Building. The Senate occupies the Red Men’s Hall, third story — the House, the hall in the second story. These halls have been tastefully and appropriately fitted up for their purposes.”

The main topic of discussion in those tastefully appointed halls was, of course, the question of whether or not to secede from the Union. As the General Assembly met throughout the long summer, a bill and a resolution were introduced calling for secession. Both failed because the legislators said that they did not have the authority to secede from the Union. Even many of the pro-Southern delegates and senators did not support the bills. At the same time, however, the legislators refused to reopen rail links to the Northern States, for fear the they would be used for military purposes and also by pro-Union agitators bent on revenge for the Baltimore riots. One of the few things the General Assembly did agree upon was a resolution sent to President Lincoln protesting the Union occupation of Maryland. It seems that the General Assembly was primarily interested in preserving Maryland’s neutrality, for they neither wanted to secede from the Union, nor to allow Union troops to cross its territory in order to attack the Confederacy.

On August 7, the General Assembly adjourned, intending to meet again on September 17. However, on that day Federal troops and Baltimore police officers arrived in Frederick with orders to arrest the pro-Confederate members of the General Assembly. Thus, the special session in Frederick ended, as did Frederick’s summer as the state capital, as Maryland found itself inexorably drawn further and further into the heart of the bloodiest war in American history.

SOURCE: Taken from Maryland State Archives, “The General Assembly Moves to Frederick, 1861”

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 5: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)

STANDARD 2: The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people. 
Standard 2A: The student understands how the resources of the Union and Confederacy affected the course of the war.

5-12: Identify the turning points of the war and evaluate how political, military, and diplomatic leadership affected the outcome of the conflict. [Assess the importance of the individual in history]

Standard 2B: The student understands the social experience of the war on the battlefield and homefront.

5-12: Compare the human and material costs of the war in the North and South and assess the degree to which the war reunited the nation. [Examine historical perspectives]

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: Arrest and Detention of Certain Members of the Maryland Legislature
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: [1861]
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 667-675.
  2. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Abraham Lincoln to Winfield Scott
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 25, 1861
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, DC
  3. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Winfield Scott to [Brig. Gen. B. F. Butler]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 26, 1861
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 675-675
  4. DESCRIPTION: Resolutions of the General Assembly of Maryland in relation to the arrest and imprisonment of Ross Winans, edq., & c.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: July 1861
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 587-588.
  5. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Simon Cameron to Maj. Gen. N. P. Banks
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 11, 1861
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 678-679
  6. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Frederick Schley, Editor of the Examiner to W. H. Seward
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 12, 1861
    NOTES: ” There are twenty-two senators, of whom twelve is the requisite majority to enact a law. Of the present senators eight are loyal and reliable, leaving fourteen in whom I have no faith and I speak the sentiment of many.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 679-680.
  7. DESCRIPTION: Letter, John A. Dix to Simon Cameron (Arrests made in Baltimore)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 13, 1861
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, DC
  8. DESCRIPTION: Letter, W. G. Snethen to W. H. Seward
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 15, 1861
    NOTES: “I thank you in the name of every truly loyal man in Baltimore an din my own poor name for your arrest of the traitors whom you have sent to Fortress Monroe…. I hope General Banks will take care that the Legislature shall not sit at all…. The arrest of W. Wilkins Glenn, the proprietor of the Exchange, has given intense satisfaction. Beale Richardson and his writing editor Joice, of the Republican, are very violent ….”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 595.
  9. DESCRIPTION: Letter, N. P. Banks to Lieutentant-Colonel Ruger
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 16, 1861
    NOTES: “It is not impossible that the members or a portion of them may be deterred from meeting there on account of certain arrests recently made in Baltimore. It is also quite possible that on the first day of meeting the attendance may be small. Of the facts as to this matter I shall see that you are well informed as they transpire. It becomes necessary that any meeting of this Legislature at any place or time shall be prevented.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 681
  10. DESCRIPTION: Letter, R. Morris Copeland to Major General Banks 
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 18, 1861
    NOTES: “I have just telegraphed to General Dix that we have seized seven members of the house of a very bitter character, and four officers, clerks, & c. who are intensely bitter and are said to have been very forward and to have kept some of the weaker men up to the work. Several arrests were made of violent or resisting persons whom I shall let go after the others are gone. I shall send four men at least to General Dix, at Baltimore, who are very bad men….”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 682-683
  11. DESCRIPTION: Oath of fidelity taken by members of the Maryland Legislature after arrest
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 18, 1861
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 683
  12. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Arthur Rich to William H. Seward
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 19, 1861
    NOTES: “Allow me to congratulate you upon the Government manifesting its strong arm in giving the quietus to our so-called Legislature. It has had the salutary influence in many respects and has soothed down the temper of the disunionists prodigiously.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 684
  13. DESCRIPTION: Letter George W. Howard, Jr. to Simon Cameron
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 25, 1861
    NOTES: “As the treasonable documents of the Legislature of Maryland were seized I think that the journals of all the sessions should be seized also….”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 691
  14. DESCRIPTION: Letter N. P. Banks to Col. R. B. Marcy
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 20, 1861
    NOTES: “I have the honor to report … that all the members of the Maryland Legislature assembled at Frederick City on the 17th instant known or suspected to be disloyal in their relations to the Government have been arrested.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 684-685
  15. DESCRIPTION: Letter John A. Dix to W. H. Seward.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 20, 1861
    NOTES: “I have arrested and put on board the Baltimore E. G. Kilbourn, a dangerous successionist, president of the house of delegates. There are two of the arrested persons whose release would I am confident promote the Union cause, and since the Legislature is effectually broken up the Government cannot be injured and may vindicate its justice by its clemency in these cases.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 685
  16. DESCRIPTION: Letter Thomas H. Hicks, [Governor of Maryland] to Maj. Gen. N. P. Banks
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 20, 1861
    NOTES: “We see the good fruit already produced by these arrests. We can no longer mince matters with these desperate people.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 685
  17. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Allan Pinkerton to William H. Seward
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 23, 1861
    NOTES: Describes some of the arrests, including arrests of newspaper editors.
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 688
  18. DESCRIPTION: Letter, J. M. Coale to Abraham Lincoln  (Requests release of imprisoned members of the Maryland legislature)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: November 12, 1861
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, DC
  19. DESCRIPTION: Letter, John A. Dix to William H. Seward
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: February 17, 1862
    NOTES: Includes report of political prisoners taken, released, and remaining since March 4, 1861, at Fort McHenry, Md.
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 2. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1897): 226-228
  20. DESCRIPTIONSession Laws, Maryland General Assembly, Special Session
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April – December 1861
    SOURCE: Archives of Maryland Online
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  21. DESCRIPTIONPhotograph, Kemp Hall, Frederick
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: c. 1870
    SOURCE: Fredericktown Bank Collection, MSA SC 4702-1-8
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

See also:

Secondary Resources

Brugger, Robert. “Suspended between Memory and Hope (1816-1865).” In Maryland: A Middle Temperament. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press in association with the Maryland Historical Society, 1988.

Brugger, Robert. “A House Divided (1850-1865).” In Maryland: A Middle Temperament. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press in association with the Maryland Historical Society, 1988.

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

Copyright and Other Restrictions

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Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Nancy Bramucci.