Maryland is known as both the Old Line State and the Free State .
Old Line State . According to some historians, General George Washington gave Maryland the name "Old Line State" connecting it with its regular line troops, the Maryland Line, who served courageously in many Revolutionary War battles.
Free State . The nickname "Free State" was created by Hamilton Owens, editor of the newspaper, the Baltimore Sun . In 1923, Georgia Congressman William D. Upshaw, a firm supporter of Prohibition, denounced Maryland as a traitor to the Union for refusing to pass a State act against the use of alcohol. Mr. Owens thereupon wrote a not-quite-serious editorial entitled "The Maryland Free State." He argued that Maryland should withdraw from the Union rather than prohibit the sale of liquor. Mr. Owens decided not to print the article. He popularized the nickname, however, in later editorials.
© Copyright September 2, 1999, Office of the Secretary of State.
Last Modified October 04, 2002 . bv