THE CAMPAIGN FOR THE
Maryland has had four Constitutional Conventions,
those of 1776, 1851, 1864 and 1867. The Convention of
1864, when framing the instrument adopted by it, em-
bodied a test oath* which had the effect of disfranchising
a great number of people. It was provided, however, that
the disabilities could be removed by a two-thirds vote of
both branches of the General Assembly. In a short time
the great mass of voters regained the privilege of suf-
frage. Public sentiment was then aroused in favor of a
convention to revise the Constitution framed during the
Civil War and adopted by a minority of the people. The
General Assembly of 1867 passed legislation submitting
the question of a new Constitutional Convention to a vote.
The campaign for and against the Convention became ex-
tremely bitter in some parts of the State. The fear was
frequently expressed that if a new convention were called
an effort would be made to compel the State to reimburse
those who had suffered losses by reason of the liberation
Opposition was stirred up on this ground despite the
fact that the act of the General Assembly providing for
a ballot on the question contemplated that any constitu-
tion framed by the proposed convention should contain a
clause "prohibiting the Legislature from making any law
providing for payment by this State for persons hereto-
fore held as slaves. "
The Democrats and Conservatives were in favor of the
convention. The opposition was furnished by those
known as "radicals. "
The following advertisement, illustrating the nature of
the arguments used for the convention, is taken from
The Sun of April 10, 1867, the date on which the election
*See test oath, page 523.