Constitution Thursday – Maryland, My Maryland

Luther Martin - Attorney General of Maryland

Luther Martin – Attorney General of Maryland

Over the course of the Convention, Luther Martin (Maryland) had been a petulant opponent of the plan and an irritant to pretty much everybody there – even those who agreed with him. Now that his State, Maryland, is taking up ratification, he will continue to adamantly and vociferously oppose the Constitution. He is the very embodiment of the Anti-Federalists.

Pretty much nobody will listen to his ranting, and Maryland will easily vote to ratify.

It’s what happens after that is so fascinating to me. Because of our own historical myopia, we tend to only see the good and heroic sides of the Framers and Founders. We don’t relate to them as people just like us, facing difficulties and crises. Consequently we don’t learn from their example of how to deal with and even overcome those difficulties.

The rest of Luther Martins’ life will be spent in various pursuits as a lawyer – including defending Aaron Burr against charges of treason – and in the bottle. But by 1807, he will be called, “The Federalist Bulldog,” by no less than Thomas Jefferson. What drives a man who is virulently anti-Federalist to change his mind? Was it the ultimate “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em?” Or did Luther Martin discover something about human nature in his later years?

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Posted on July 28, 2016, in Constitution, History and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. It’s okay, that you left the moral for the very end…! Good episode, and one I’d not known about. (Gore Vidal’s novel told me most of what I knew about Burr. A scholarly biography of Hamilton –I can’t find it right now, or I’d cite it– contradicted much of that, but I never thought Vidal was any kind of scholar, or someone who’d tell the truth — even under oath! 🙂 ) (The other thing about Burr that stays with me: There was a TV commercial involving a radio call-in quiz… The question was “Who shot Alexander Hamilton” and the poor guy who had to answer had just finished a peanut butter sandwich — and hadn’t got to his glass of milk yet:) )

    You [u]do[/u] know you’re going to catch some flack, for using the name Luther Martin… Right? 🙂


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