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News Opinion Readers Respond

Revisionist history about Baltimore and the Civil War

Revisionist history is often times inaccurate, and such is the case with J.B. Salganik's recent op-ed article ("Baltimore true identity," Sept. 6).

There are multiple points in Mr. Salganik's commentary which require clarification. First and foremost, Baltimore's loyalties during the Civil War were decidedly pro-Southern. One need only look to the Baltimore Massacre of April 1861 to understand the contempt and vitriol Baltimore citizens had for Union troops marching through their city to aid in the suppression of the "rebellion." Members of the Baltimore City Council and Police Chief George Kane were incarcerated at Fort McHenry for their pro-Southern sympathies.

Had it not been for President Abraham Lincoln's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and the incarceration of numerous Maryland legislators in 1861, Maryland would have been a Confederate state. Men from prominent Maryland families fought for the South during the war. In fact, after the war, many Southern-centric politicians were voted back into power. For example, former Police Chief Kane became the city's mayor in 1877.

The Dred Scott decision is often derided by individuals who lack a clear understanding of constitutional law. While on moral grounds the Scott decision may be debatable, on constitutional grounds Justice Roger Taney was acting as a constructionist, and his interpretation of the law at the time was accurate.

Lastly, Mr. Salganik erroneously asserts that lyrics contained in "Maryland my Maryland" advocate President Lincoln's "assassination." While the James Ryder Randall lyrics do refer to Lincoln as a despot, tyrant, and vandal, they do not support his demise.

Lou Fritz, Towson

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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