Lincoln's divided backyard: Maryland in the Civil War era
Cannon, Jessica Ann
Boles, John B.
Doctor of Philosophy
Maryland in the mid-nineteenth century was a state trying to balance its regional ties to both an agrarian culture based on the institution of slavery and an industrializing, urban culture. Caught in between two warring societies, Marylanders themselves were unsure of their identity given the rapid changes of the late antebellum decades. This study argues Maryland's cultural identity shifted from being a "southern" state in 1861 to being a "northern" state by 1865 in the minds of its own citizens as well as in the minds of politicians, soldiers, and civilians from other parts of the nation. This transition was the result of economic, political, and social changes that took place in the state during the late antebellum period, although cultural and ideological recognition of this shift did not occur until the war brought Maryland's dual identities into focus and compelled state citizens to choose a side in the conflict. A minority of citizens contested the state's "northern" identity both during and after the war, but the new cultural identity remained dominant largely because northern industrial, urban, and demographic patterns were already well-established and Union military policies directed most Marylanders' political and economic behavior towards a loyal and northern-looking orientation by the end of the war. Understanding these cultural dynamics in a border state like Maryland helps to clarify our vision of complicated and competing ideologies in mid-nineteenth century America.
American history; Social psychology; Economic history; Political science