Unequal Rights in Maryland Since 1776 Lesson Plan




Unequal Rights in Maryland

In 1776 all persons who said they were Christians, except Quakers, were given equal protection of the laws in Maryland, others were not.

The Declaration of Independence stated that all men are created equal, and

Article 6 of the US Constitution states that “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any public office or public trust under the United States.”

The first amendment to the Constitution also says: Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.


Write a letter to the Editor of a newspaper that explains how why the following laws in Maryland (1776) needed to be changed:

  1. The legislature might lay a tax to support the Christian religion
  2. The oath of office was to be administered only after the applicant had subscribed to a declaration of his belief in the Christian religion.
  3. For expressing disbelief in the Trinity (Christian ), capital punishment (death penalty), branding the forehead and boring the tongue of the offender were penalties.
  4. For labor on the Lords day (Sunday) founded in honor of Christ, and commonly called Sunday, penalties were described.

Jews were under marked disabilities as jurors as witnesses.

  1. Marriage by a rabbi was not clearly licensed in fitting terms.