An ironic newspaper ad

Posted on September 3, 2012 by

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But more from our vantage point, and not from those who read it at the time…

This is from the September 3, 1862 edition of Hagerstown’s newspaper… 150 years ago today.

Now, I guess it seems more ironic because of 1) Hagerstown’s proximity to Sharpsburg/Antietam… and 2) the fact that, in just 14 days, the battle there was a key element in the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation. What seems even more ironic is the fact that the EP didn’t really impact Maryland… not directly. It did, however, influence the state to act on its own in passing legislation that emancipating slaves there, in 1864. No matter what some folks may say, yes, the EP did have an impact in the South… and in more ways than one.

Maryland’s decision is most unique. It was on their own. But you might say… a good number of those who were free and benefited from slavery went, in various degrees, kicking and screaming. After all, it hit where it hurt… in personal finances.

Was it the financial fear that many in the South had all along? Somebody pulling the carpet out under them, and thereby totally and completely tumbling their social and financial foundations?

You have a choice… fight to preserve the right of the institution (and the stability of the social order as you knew it) or, not being totally sold on the idea of secession, and more concerned that it was a sure and certain way to expedite slavery and Antebellum social order “going up the spout”, maintain the status quo with the Union, thereby… at the very least… giving those concerned, a little more time… maybe.

The study of slaveholding/slave culture Unionism in western Maryland is a must, I think, to better understand the same cultures south across the Potomac, but I digress.

Take some time to consider this ad, where it appeared, and the history of events to come.

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