Maryland! My Maryland!


James Ryder RandallThe despot's heel is on thy shore....

In 1861, James Ryder Randall, a native of Maryland, was teaching in a Creole school in Louisiana during the early days of the Civil War. On April 19, 1861, Union troops marching through Baltimore to the President Street station were attacked by a crowd of men hurling bricks. The troops opened fire, killing several in the crowd. Outraged by the news that his friend, Francis Xavier Ward, was among the casualties, Randall articulated his Confederate sympathies as a nine-stanza poem entitled "Maryland, My Maryland." The poem was immediately popular throughout the south and was set to the traditional tune "Lauriger Horatius" ("O, Tannenbaum").

In 1939, "Maryland, My Maryland" was adopted as the State song (Chapter 451, Acts of 1939; Code State Government Article, sec. 13-307). By 1970, newspaper articles began to appear urging that a new state song should be selected due to the inflammatory nature of Randall's lyrics. Since then, members of the Maryland Legislature have periodically introduced bills to change the state song, but such efforts continue to be defeated. 

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 5: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877) 

STANDARD 1: The causes of the Civil War 

Standard 1A: The student understands how the North and South differed and how politics and ideologies led to the Civil War.

7-12: Identify and explain the economic, social, and cultural differences between the North and the South. [Draw upon quantitative data to trace historical developments] 

7-12: Explain how events after the Compromise of 1850 and the Dred Scott decision in 1857 contributed to increasing sectional polarization. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships] 

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: The Lexington of 1861. The Massachusetts Volunteers Fighting Their Way Through the Streets of Baltimore on Their March To the Defense of the National Capitol, April 19, 1861. Hurrah For the Glorious 6th.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Colored lithograph by Currier & Ives, 1861
    SOURCE: Cator Collection
    REPOSITORY: Enoch Pratt Free Library

  2. DESCRIPTION:  James Ryder Randall
    ARTIST: Katherine Walton
    SOURCE: Maryland Commission on Artistic Property Collection, MSA SC 1545-1-1072
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  3. DESCRIPTION:  James Ryder Randall to Branden Matthews, esq., Washington, D.C.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: December 6, 1884
    SOURCE: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS (Topical Files Collection), MSA SC 1456-879
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  4. DESCRIPTION:  Maryland! my Maryland! A Patriotic Song
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Augusta; New Orleans, Georgia; Louisiana, Blackmar & Bro.; Blackmar & Co., 1862
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and other restrictions
    SOURCE: Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920
    REPOSITORY: Duke University 

  5. DESCRIPTION:  Maryland, my Maryland, and Other Poems
    AUTHOR: James Ryder Randall
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Baltimore, Md., New York, J. Murphy Company, ca. 1908 
    SOURCE: Making of America
    REPOSITORY: Cornell University

  6. DESCRIPTION:  Chapter 451 establishing 'Maryland! My Maryland!' as the Maryland State Song.
    SOURCE: Archives of Maryland Online
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  7. DESCRIPTION:  "Memoirs of a Busy Life; By James Ryder Randall:  Vagrant Reminiscensces Of The Author of 'Maryland, My Maryland.'" 
    SOURCE: unidentified newspaper clipping
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  8. DESCRIPTION:   "...A hateful state song"
    SOURCE: unidentified newspaper clipping
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  9. DESCRIPTION:  "Maryland, My Maryland Is 'Communist' In Tokyo, Amazed Traveler Learns." 
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: February 8, 1938
    SOURCE: Evening Sun (Baltimore)
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  10. DESCRIPTION:  "Maryland, My Maryland."
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 5 September 1938
    SOURCE: Evening Sun (Baltimore) 
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  11. DESCRIPTION:  "Origin of the Maryland Anthem, 'Maryland, My Maryland."  
    SOURCE: Chronicles of St. Mary's
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  12. DESCRIPTION:  "Tense Civil War Situation Inspired Maryland's Song."
    DATE PUBLISHED/CREATED: January 4, 1962
    SOURCE: Evening Capital (Annapolis)
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  13. DESCRIPTION:  "Revision of State Song Urged."
    SOURCE: News American (Baltimore)
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  14. DESCRIPTION:  "A Sour Note For Sweet Maryland."
    DATE PUBLISHED/CREATED: September 27, 1979
    SOURCE: Washington Post (Washington, DC)
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives 

  15. DESCRIPTION:  "'Maryland!  My Maryland!' Will Live On Unchanged."  
    DATE PUBLISHED/CREATED: January 30, 1980
    SOURCE: Washington Post (Washington, DC)
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  16. DESCRIPTION:  "Tidying Up Our History With Aid of the Eraser."  
    DATE PUBLISHED/CREATED: January 29, 1980
    SOURCE: Washington Post (Washington, DC)
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  17. DESCRIPTION:  "Maryland's state song."  
    DATE PUBLISHED/CREATED: February 16?, 1980
    SOURCE: Evening Capital (Annapolis)
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  18. DESCRIPTION:  "Why Maryland sings about Yankee despots."
    SOURCE: News American (Baltimore)
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  19. DESCRIPTION:   "Civil War buffs call state songs vital to heritage."
    DATE PUBLISHED/CREATED: March 12, 2001
    SOURCE: Washington Times (Washington, DC)
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

Additional Media Resources

Maryland at a Glance, State Symbols: Maryland State Song - Maryland! My Maryland!

Inventory of the James Ryder Randall Papers located at the Library of the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill

Secondary Resources

Abel, Ernest L. "Maryland-born James Ryder Randall penned one of the Civil War's most stirring songs in honor of his state" America's Civil War (July 1998): 8 

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Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Nancy Bramucci.


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