Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lasson on How Maryland Jews Won the Right to Vote

The Gentleman from Hagerstown: How Maryland Jews Won the Right to Vote is an article by Kenneth Lasson, University of Baltimore School of Law. It appeared in Baltimore Jewish Times (2008). Here's the abstract:
This article discusses the early history of Maryland in the context of religious discrimination, specifically in reference to discrimination against those of the Jewish faith, even though the state "was founded as a haven of religious liberty and beacon of toleration." It also highlights a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, Thomas Kennedy, a Christian, as being the leader of the movement to ultimately correct this injustice. Part of the problem were clauses in the state's constitution requiring officeholders to be Christians. Kennedy lost his seat in the House, but didn't give up the battle. Ha had tried several times to get bills passed to solve this problem, but many of these failed. After six years of effort, and after having been reelected to House of Delegates, his bill on behalf of the Jews passed, in February of 1825.

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