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Maryland and the American Revolution

Maryland's reaction to the increasingly stringent British policies of the 1760s and early 1770s was more restrained than neighboring colonies, due largely to protracted bickering between popular and proprietary forces. Little time was left over to worry about imperial politics. Nevertheless, in 1774 Maryland reacted strongly to the Tea Act Crisis and resulting Boston Port Bill. Anthony Stewart, a ship owner, brought the tea-laden Peggy Stewart into Annapolis harbor for the purpose of selling the tax-paid product. Opposition developed among the more radical elements of the colony, forcing Stewart to choose principle over profit. He sailed the ship into full view of the city and set it afire. None of the 2,300 pounds of tea reached shore. Maryland was not the scene of significant military action during the War for Independence, but made contributions by supplying men, arms and ships. In November 1776, with the British threatening Philadelphia, the Continental Congress moved to Annapolis where it remained until the following spring. George Washington is reported to have spoken admiringly of Maryland's soldiers as the "Old Line," giving Maryland its nickname of the "Old Line State."

See timeline of the American Revolution.