Vital Signs

Maryland, the South's Forgotten Cousin

As recently as the 1930's, elderly black people in rural Maryland were still keeping headstrong children in line with the admonition that something called "pattiroll" would "get" them if they didn't behave themselves. "Pattirolls," or patrols, were gangs of Union Army soldiers who rode throughout the moonlit countryside enforcing curfews in occupied Maryland during the War Between the States, and they are just one small aspect of the era's ironic and intriguing history, a history often misquoted by Northern liberal. Southern sellout, and cross-burning bigot, each to his own end.

In the spring of 1967, I saw the Ku Klux Klan parade down York Road in Towson, Maryland. Although their color guard carried the Confederate, the Maryland, and the United States flags, of the three only the Stars and Bars has unfortunately become America's premier symbol of hatred and is most closely connected with the Klan. Any attempt, however, to prove that the flag stands for liberty, not racism, is lost on people whose heads are filled with welfarist legend. Also lost on most is the importance of the events which occurred in Maryland prior to and during the War for Southern Independence, but the drama of this little border state and of her people is central to any serious discussion of Calhoun's irrepressible conflict.

The question of whether Maryland was more Southern or Northern in temperament...

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