Lawmakers can't change history [Letter]

February 17, 2014

In regard to the General Assembly's consideration of rescinding the 1862 ratification of the so-called "shadow" 13th Amendment which upheld slavery ("Lawmakers asked to revisit vote for slavery," Jan. 30), Sen. Brian E. Frosh stated, "We need to change our history." There was a time in the not too distant past when a statement such as this by an elected public official would have been met with astonishment and disbelief. In this age of political correctness, however, it hardly raises an eyebrow. History can be reinterpreted, revisited or reanalyzed, but I've never heard of an event that took place 152 years in the past being changed. Could it be possible that the Maryland legislature is being just a bit arrogant in assuming this additional power?

The Sun article explained in detail the complex political issues that influenced the 1862 vote, foremost of which was the fact that Maryland was a slaveholding border state whose secession would have been potentially disastrous for the Union. We can debate the motives and morality of those who voted for this amendment, but the result of that vote should not be changed. And why should it? No American today, except for perhaps the most misguided zealot, would defend the institution of slavery. If the General Assembly believes it is necessary to go back over a century and a half and change its vote to affirm that, we're in worse shape than I thought we were.

Robert Carter, Severna Park

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