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Maryland Looking to Rectify Civil War Snafu

Thomas Corwin

It was strange enough to read that on February 7, 2013 that the state of Mississippi finally ratified the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, making it the 50th and last state to do so. Now comes word that in the state of Maryland, the legislature is considering a bill to overturn a vote for the Corwin Amendment, which dates back to the 1860s and also concerns slavery.

The Corwin Amendment was an attempt by Thomas Corwin of Ohio to permanently block the U.S. government from overriding laws states passed to allow slavery. Only Ohio, Illinois and Maryland actually voted for the amendment. Ohio has long since rescinded their vote. Illinois vote was deemed invalid. Maryland’s vote is for some reasons still on the books.

College intern Shannon Welch of Bethesda. MD found the glitch in her state’s laws and alerted officials who are scrambling now to rectify the somewhat embarrassing situation. There does not appear to be any opposition to the upcoming legislation.

Constitutional scholars would argue that the constitution supersedes the laws of the states. Thus the action by the Maryland legislature would be merely symbolic at this point.

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