“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Denton in Caroline County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Emancipation's Close Call

Did Union Troops Suppress the Vote?

Emancipation's Close Call Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), September 3, 2022
1. Emancipation's Close Call Marker
The 1863 Emancipation Proclamation did not free Maryland's enslaved people, as states that remained in the Union were excluded from the proclamation's provisions. It was Maryland's new constitution, adopted by the narrow margin of 291 votes out of almost 60,000 cast on November 2, 1864, that ended slavery in the state. Maryland's voluntary abolition of slavery boosted President Abraham Lincoln's reelection campaign.

Caroline County was divided in its loyalties, and while Union supporters hailed emancipation, those with Southern sympathies believed the new constitution resulted from suspicious circumstances. Albert Gullett, editor of the Denton Journal, declared the process to have been full of "outrages and frauds" that disenfranchised at least 1,000 county voters.

Gullett asserted that more than half of the eligible voters in Caroline County did not attempt to vote for fear of arrest by Union soldiers, potential opponents of the constitution were closely interrogated and forced to prove their loyalty, and that many were denied the right to vote. Gullett also claimed protesters were arrested and half the votes
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against the state constitution in Denton were deliberately destroyed. Eighty-nine men signed an affidavit supporting the latter assertion.

When county citizens filed legal actions claiming they were disenfranchised, a Union general ordered their arrest. Gullett was ultimately forced from his newspaper and later committed suicide.
Erected by Maryland Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RRCommunicationsGovernment & PoliticsWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Maryland Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical date for this entry is November 2, 1864.
Location. 38° 53.192′ N, 75° 49.956′ W. Marker is in Denton, Maryland, in Caroline County. Marker is at the intersection of Market Street and North 2nd Street, on the right when traveling west on Market Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 205 Market St, Denton MD 21629, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Caroline Courthouse (a few steps from this marker); Caroline Court House (within shouting distance of this marker); On this spot Sept. 5, 1938 stood Franklin Delano Roosevelt (within shouting distance of this marker); President Roosevelt's Speech (within
Emancipation's Close Call Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), September 3, 2022
2. Emancipation's Close Call Marker
shouting distance of this marker); War Along the Chesapeake (within shouting distance of this marker); Thomas Carney (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Great Wars of World Conflict (about 300 feet away); Two Neighbors * Two Governors * Two States (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Denton.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. This marker has replaced the linked marker.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 5, 2022. It was originally submitted on September 5, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 126 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 5, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Apr. 15, 2024