|"Maryland, My Maryland" is the official state
song of Maryland. The song is set to the tune of "O
Tannenbaum" and the lyrics are from a nine-stanza
poem written by James Ryder Randall. While the words
were penned in 1861, it was not until April 29, 1939,
that the state's general assembly adopted "Maryland,
My Maryland" as the state song.
Written originally as a poem, the song refers to
Maryland's history and geography and specifically
mentions several historical figures of importance
to the state. It has been called America's "most
The poem was a result of events at the beginning of
the American Civil War. During the secession crisis,
President Abraham Lincoln (referred to in the poem as
"the despot" and "the tyrant") ordered
federal troops to be brought to Washington, D.C. to
protect the capital. Many of these troops were brought
through Baltimore City, a major transportation hub.
There was a lot of Confederate sympathy in Maryland
at the time and riots ensued in April 1861. Several
people were killed in the Baltimore riots, including
a friend of James Ryder Randall. Randall, a native Marylander,
was teaching in Pointe Coupee, Louisiana, at the time
and, moved by the news of his friend's death, wrote
the nine-stanza poem, "Maryland, My Maryland".
The poem was a plea to his home state of Maryland to
secede from the Union and join the Confederacy. It was
first published in the New Orleans Sunday Delta on 26
The poem was quickly turned into a song by putting
it to the tune "O Tannenbaum" (also known
as "Lauriger Horatius") and became instantly
popular in Maryland and throughout the South. It was
sometimes called "the Marseillaise of the South."
"Florida, My Florida" and "Michigan,
My Michigan" are set to the same tune. Both of
them were written after "Maryland, My Maryland".