Politics in the Border States: A Study of the Patterns of Political Organization, and Political Change, Common to the Border States: Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri

By John H. Fenton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
MARYLAND TRENDS

IN 1649, the Maryland Assembly passed the "Toleration Act," a milestone in the history of religious toleration. In 1856, Maryland cast the majority of its vote for Millard Fillmore, the Know-Nothing candidate for President, and ranked as the only state in the union to do so.

Maryland is replete with contradictions. The socalled "Fall Line" divides the state into two geographical and cultural halves. The Fall Line runs roughly from Washington to Baltimore, thence to Wilmington, Delaware. North and west of the Line, the land rises to form the Piedmont Plateau; south of the Line the topography flattens to become a part of the coastal plain, or Tidewater Maryland.

The early English settlers made their homes in southern or Tidewater Maryland. Rather extensive grants of land were made to the early settlers, and the type of crop grown was tobacco. Successful production of tobacco required large plantations and great numbers of unskilled labor. The first requirement was supplied by the King and Lord Baltimore, and the second by the importation of slaves.

The year of the first United States Census, 1790, there were 191,627 white residents of Maryland and 103,036 slaves. The vast majority of the slaves were in the southern portion of the state, leaving the southern section's population very nearly evenly divided in number between slaves and non-slaves. For example, in Charles county there were, in 1790, 10,124 white

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