The Gentleman from Hagerstown: How Maryland Jews Won the Right to Vote
Baltimore Jewish Times, Vol. 300, No. 9, pp. 36-39, February 29, 2008
9 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2009
Date Written: February 29, 2008
This article discusses the early history of Maryland in the context of religious discrimination, specifically in reference to discrimination against those of the Jewish faith, even though the state "was founded as a haven of religious liberty and beacon of toleration." It also highlights a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, Thomas Kennedy, a Christian, as being the leader of the movement to ultimately correct this injustice. Part of the problem were clauses in the state's constitution requiring officeholders to be Christians. Kennedy lost his seat in the House, but didn't give up the battle. Ha had tried several times to get bills passed to solve this problem, but many of these failed. After six years of effort, and after having been reelected to House of Delegates, his bill on behalf of the Jews passed, in February of 1825.
Keywords: right to vote, right to hold public office, Jews, Maryland, Thomas Kennedy, Maryland Legislature, Maryland House of Delegates, religious freedom, Maryland history, Jacob Lumbrozo, Solomon Etting, Jacob Cohen, civil liberties
JEL Classification: K19, K39, H19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation