One of the original Thirteen Colonies, Maryland is considered to be the birthplace of religious freedom in America, when it was formed in the early 17th century as an intended refuge for persecuted Catholics from England by George Calvert. He became the first Lord Baltimore and the first English proprietor of the then-Maryland colonial grant. Maryland was the seventh state to ratify the United States Constitution on April 28, 1788.
Before the American Civil War, it was one of the border states, straddling the North and South. Federal law permitted the sale of slaves within the state. Of its 1860 population of 687,000, about 60,000 men joined the United States Army and about 25,000 fought for the Confederacy. Northern and Western areas of the state were especially close to the North while Southern and Eastern Maryland were especially close to the South. In each case, the political sentiments of these regions reflected their economic interests.