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Thomas Holliday Hicks

Thomas Holliday Hicks

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Thomas Holliday Hicks was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 politician from Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

. He served as the 31st Governor of Maryland
Governor of Maryland
The Governor of Maryland heads the executive branch of the government of Maryland, and he is the commander-in-chief of the state's National Guard units. The Governor is the highest-ranking official in the state, and he has a broad range of appointive powers in both the State and local governments,...

 from 1858 until 1862, and as a U.S. Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from Maryland from 1862 until his death in 1865.

Early career


Born in 1798 near East New Market, Maryland
East New Market, Maryland
East New Market is a town located in Dorchester County, Maryland. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 167. The zip code is 21631.-Geography:East New Market is located at ....

, Hicks began his political career as a Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 when he was elected town constable and then, in 1824, elected Sheriff of Dorchester County
Dorchester County, Maryland
Dorchester County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland on its Eastern Shore. It is bordered by the Choptank River to the north, Talbot County to the northwest, Caroline County to the northeast, Wicomico County to the southeast, Sussex County, Delaware, to the east, and the Chesapeake...

. Later, he switched to the Whig Party
Whig Party (United States)
The Whig Party was a political party of the United States during the era of Jacksonian democracy. Considered integral to the Second Party System and operating from the early 1830s to the mid-1850s, the party was formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic...

 and was elected to the House of Delegates
Maryland House of Delegates
The Maryland House of Delegates is the lower house of the General Assembly, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Maryland, and is composed of 141 Delegates elected from 47 districts. The House chamber is located in the state capitol building on State Circle in Annapolis...

 in 1830 and re-elected in 1836.

In 1837, the legislature elected him a member of the Governor's Council, the last to be chosen before that body was abolished. In 1838, he was appointed Register of Wills for Dorchester County. He stayed in that job until his election as Governor.

Governor of Maryland


In 1857, Hicks switched to the Native American Party, more commonly known as the Know-Nothing Party. As such, in 1858, he ran for Governor and defeated Democrat John Charles Groome by 8,700 votes. The election, however, was notable for fraud, open intimidation of voters, and unprecedented violence. Hicks was one of the oldest men to become Governor.

In his gubernatorial inaugural address, Hicks criticized the numbers of foreign immigrants coming to America and warned that they would "change the national character". He opposed abolitionists
Abolitionism
Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery.In western Europe and the Americas abolitionism was a movement to end the slave trade and set slaves free. At the behest of Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas who was shocked at the treatment of natives in the New World, Spain enacted the first...

 and supported slave owners. He denounced “[t]he attacks of fanatical and misguided persons against property in slaves" and went on that the slave owners had a right under the "Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 to recover their property." Hicks belatedly supported the Union of the states and sought to prevent Maryland from seceding
Secession
Secession is the act of withdrawing from an organization, union, or especially a political entity. Threats of secession also can be a strategy for achieving more limited goals.-Secession theory:...

 and joining the Confederacy
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

. This would have isolated Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 in confederate territory.

Hicks reflected the divisions in his state. In Hicks' writings about the South and its secession, he referred to it as "we." He wrote that "they", the North (and Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

), were wrong in "refus[ing] to observe the plain requirements of the Constitution" to permit new states to join the Union as slave states.

After the bloodshed in Baltimore
Baltimore riot of 1861
The Baltimore riot of 1861 was an incident that took place on April 19, 1861, in Baltimore, Maryland between Confederate sympathizers and members of the Massachusetts militia en route to Washington for Federal service...

 involving the Massachusetts troops that were fired on in marching between railroad stations on April 19, 1861, Baltimore Mayor George William Brown
George William Brown
George William Brown was the mayor of Baltimore, Maryland from 1860 to 1861.-Pratt Street Riot:Brown played an important role in controlling the Pratt Street Riot on April 19, 1861, at the onset of the American Civil War. After the Pratt Street Riot, some small skirmishes occurred throughout...

, Marshal George P. Kane, and former Governor Enoch Louis Lowe
Enoch Louis Lowe
Enoch Louis Lowe served as the 29th Governor of the state of Maryland in the United States from 1851 to 1854.-Early life:...

 requested that Hicks burn the railroad bridges leading to Baltimore to prevent further troops from entering the state. Hicks reportedly approved this proposal. These actions were addressed in Ex parte Merryman
Ex parte Merryman
Ex parte Merryman, 17 F. Cas. 144 , is a well-known U.S. federal court case which arose out of the American Civil War. It was a test of the authority of the President to suspend "the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus"...

, the famous case of Maryland militia Captain John Merryman
John Merryman
John Merryman was the petitioner in one of the best known habeas corpus cases of the American Civil War, a militia officer during the Civil War, and a Maryland politician.-Early life:...

 who was arrested by Union forces.

After initially denying that he had authorized such actions, he backtracked and voiced his support for the Union. But his writing to Lincoln on April 22, 1861 informed the new President that "I feel it my duty most respectfully to advise you that no more troops be ordered or allowed to pass through Maryland." He requested that Lincoln obtain a truce with the South and offered to mediate. He stated that Maryland's position as a border state
Border states (Civil War)
In the context of the American Civil War, the border states were slave states that did not declare their secession from the United States before April 1861...

 was to remain neutral.

Subsequently, many prominent men lobbied Hicks to call the General Assembly into special session, purportedly for the mixed reason of opposing secession and opposing the Northern attitude towards the South. Initially called into session in Annapolis
Annapolis, Maryland
Annapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Maryland, as well as the county seat of Anne Arundel County. It had a population of 38,394 at the 2010 census and is situated on the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Severn River, south of Baltimore and about east of Washington, D.C. Annapolis is...

, Hicks changed it to Frederick
Frederick, Maryland
Frederick is a city in north-central Maryland. It is the county seat of Frederick County, the largest county by area in the state of Maryland. Frederick is an outlying community of the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is part of a greater...

. Annapolis was a Southern Democratic town, and secessionist, and Frederick was Unionist. Additionally, many legislators and Southern sympathizers were arrested by Lincoln. The legislature convened in Frederick unanimously adopted a measure stating that they would not commit the state to secession, "even though we have the constitutional authority to take such action."

Late career and death


In December 1862, his successor as Governor, Augustus W. Bradford
Augustus Bradford
Augustus Williamson Bradford , a Democrat, was the 32nd Governor of Maryland in the United States from 1862 to 1866. He served as governor during the Civil War and paid a heavy price for his devotion to the Union.-Biography:...

 (D)
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, appointed him to the U.S. Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from Maryland following the death of his predecessor, James A. Pearce (D)
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

. Although ill, he campaigned for reelection, endorsing Lincoln's reelection in 1864. He died at the Metropolitan Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 on February 13, 1865. Abraham Lincoln attended his funeral in the U.S. Senate Chamber.

He was originally buried at his family farm in Dorchester County. He was later disinterred and moved to Cambridge Cemetery. The state erected a monument over his grave in 1868.

External links


  • Thomas Holliday Hicks at Find A Grave
    Find A Grave
    Find a Grave is a commercial website providing free access and input to an online database of cemetery records. It was founded in 1998 as a DBA and incorporated in 2000.-History:...