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Civil War Music In The 20th Century
Maryland, My Maryland
Maryland, My Maryland
Performed by Tandy MacKenzie
Recorded: c.1917
Written by James Ryder Randall
"Maryland, My Maryland" is the official state song of Maryland. The song is set to the tune of "O Tannenbaum" and the lyrics are from a nine-stanza poem written by James Ryder Randall. While the words were penned in 1861, it was not until April 29, 1939, that the state's general assembly adopted "Maryland, My Maryland" as the state song.

Written originally as a poem, the song refers to Maryland's history and geography and specifically mentions several historical figures of importance to the state. It has been called America's "most martial poem".

The poem was a result of events at the beginning of the American Civil War. During the secession crisis, President Abraham Lincoln (referred to in the poem as "the despot" and "the tyrant") ordered federal troops to be brought to Washington, D.C. to protect the capital. Many of these troops were brought through Baltimore City, a major transportation hub. There was a lot of Confederate sympathy in Maryland at the time and riots ensued in April 1861. Several people were killed in the Baltimore riots, including a friend of James Ryder Randall. Randall, a native Marylander, was teaching in Pointe Coupee, Louisiana, at the time and, moved by the news of his friend's death, wrote the nine-stanza poem, "Maryland, My Maryland". The poem was a plea to his home state of Maryland to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy. It was first published in the New Orleans Sunday Delta on 26 April 1861.

The poem was quickly turned into a song by putting it to the tune "O Tannenbaum" (also known as "Lauriger Horatius") and became instantly popular in Maryland and throughout the South. It was sometimes called "the Marseillaise of the South."

"Florida, My Florida" and "Michigan, My Michigan" are set to the same tune. Both of them were written after "Maryland, My Maryland".

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Last modified July 11, 2012