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Move stalls to change Maryland state song from Civil War era

Portrait of 16th United States President Abraham Lincoln. (1809-1865)
Portrait of 16th United States President Abraham Lincoln. (1809-1865)
National Archives, Getty Images

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland House lawmakers have stalled a bill to revise the state song to remove Civil War-era references to "Northern scum" and other phrases some consider offensive.

A leading lawmaker said Thursday that House delegates voiced different opinions on what to do about "Maryland, My Maryland," the song written in 1861 and adopted in 1939.

Set to the traditional seasonal tune of "O Tannenbaum," it refers to President Abraham Lincoln as a "despot" and exhorts Maryland to "burst the tyrant's chain" and secede from the Union — at a time when many in Maryland sympathized with the Confederacy.

Del. Peter Hammen of Baltimore says the measure won't face a House vote this session because lawmakers need more time to consider options. Senate counterparts had approved the bill to revise the song.