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Maryland State House

The Maryland State House has significant relevance to the Underground Railroad in five areas that involve all three branches of government as well as two conventions, one seeking to defend slavery, the other abolishing it. The Maryland legislature debated and enacted laws relating to runaway slaves, punishment for assisting runaways, and the rights of slaveowners to recover escaped slaves. The State's governors, from their State House office, issued pardons for individuals convicted of crimes for their Underground Railroad activities and issued requisitions for the return of men charged in Maryland with assisting runaways who were being held in other jurisdictions. The Court of Appeals, which met in the State House, heard on appeal from circuit courts cases relating to the Underground Railroad. In January 1842, a "Slaveholders' Convention" met in the House of Delegates chamber and drew up a list of twenty-five propositions for consideration by the legislature; a bill incorporating the Convention's proposals subsequently passed the House of Delegates but was rejected by the Senate. Finally, the Consitutional Convention that met in 1864, by abolishing slavery in Maryland, brought the activities of the Underground Railroad to an end.

Visitor Information: Currently open to public.

Location: 91 State Circle, Annapolis, Anne Arundel, 21401

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: State House Trust Maryland

Location Type: Site

People/Organizations Associated with the site: 1676 “Act Relateing to Servants and Slaves”