History of the Federal Judiciary


History of the Federal Judiciary


  Ex parte Merryman and Debates on Civil Liberties During the Civil War
Historical Documents

Popular Culture

Popular songs celebrated the Marylanders who resisted federal troops and organized support for the Southern cause. A song sheet chronicled the arrest and jailing of John Merryman and linked him with leaders of the new Confederate States. The gruesome lyrics of “Maryland, My Maryland” were written soon after the Baltimore riots of April 19, 1861, when Massachusetts troops traveling to Washington, D.C., fired on a taunting mob. Later in the Civil War, several versions of the song were published with Union lyrics, opening, “The Rebel horde is on thy shore.” In 1939, the Maryland legislature declared the original version to be the official state song.
“Maryland, My Maryland”

The despot’s heel is on thy shore,
Maryland!
His touch is at thy temple door,
Maryland!
Avenge the patriotic gore
That flecked the streets of Baltimore,
And be the battle queen of yore,
Maryland! My Maryland!
. . .
Thou wilt not cower in the dust,
Maryland!
Thy beaming sword shall never rust,
Maryland!
Remember Carroll’s sacred trust,
Remember Howard’s warlike thrust—
And all thy slumberers with the just,
Maryland! My Maryland!


Dear Mother! burst the tyrant’s chain,
Maryland!
Virginia should not call in vain;
Maryland!
She meets her sisters on the plain—
“SIC SEMPER,” ‘tis the proud refrain,
That baffles minions back amain!
Maryland!
Arise, in majesty again,
Maryland! My Maryland!
. . .
Thou wilt not yield the vandal toll,
Maryland!
Thou wilt not crook to his control,
Maryland!
Better the fire upon the roll,
Better the blade, the shot, the bowl,
Than crucifixion of the soul,
Maryland! My Maryland!


I hear the distant thunder-hum,
Maryland!
The Old Line’s bugle, fife and drum,
Maryland!
She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb—
Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum!
She breathes—she burns! she’ll come! she’ll come!
Maryland! My Maryland!


[Document Source: “Maryland, My Maryland,” American Song Sheets, 850, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress.]

 

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