Abraham Lincoln had to sneak through… the city of Baltimore on the road to his inauguration. His election had stirred a hornet’s nest in that town as violence and secession were proving to be inseparable. Plots were discovered to kill Lincoln as he passed through the city- so much for the rule of law, republican elections, and the will of the people. Lincoln would effectively deconstruct the illogical foundation of secession in his inaugural address, the violent streets of Baltimore served as living proof of its absurdity.
A violent, pro-secession mob shed first blood… in the American Civil War. Massachusetts militiamen were assaulted on the streets of Baltimore while traveling to Washington DC. Lincoln used the provocation to suspend habeas corpus in Maryland. The city was placed under martial law and the mayor, members of the town council, and eventually one third of the state legislature were arrested. All involved, at least in part, played a role in inciting the violence. Lincoln had to enforce ALL the laws, in ALL states- Maryland wanted special treatment, in a sense to be ABOVE the Union.
In April of 1864 Lincoln returned… to Baltimore with a message. The city was still hostile, but pacified under Lincoln’s direction. He reminded the people there that liberty was not a word they owned- it had a bigger, more profound meaning. He told them, “The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty…” Self interest and narrow-minded politics influenced the violence in Baltimore- and the Civil War. Lincoln was the shepherd guiding the country toward the truth.