The Civil War divided Baltimore and Maryland's residents. Much of the social and political elite favored the Confederacy—and indeed owned house slaves. When Union soldiers from the 6th Massachusetts Militia and some unarmed Pennsylvania state militia with their band marched through the city at the start of the war, Confederate sympathizers decided to attack the troops. This led to the first bloodshed in the Civil War during the Baltimore riot of 1861.
Maryland was not reconstructed but at the end of slavery, racial tensions happened as free blacks flocked to the city, creating increased competition for skilled jobs. Baltimore had a larger population of African Americans than any other city in the north. The new Maryland state constitution of 1864 ended slavery and provided for the education of all children, including blacks and established an unequal system. In 1880, the economy grew when manufacturing replaced trade. The city became a nationally important industrial center, especially thanks to its port that contributed to shipping grain, flour, tobacco, and raw cotton to Europe. The construction of new housing was an important factor in Baltimore's economy. Most of the major builders were craftsmen who were entrepreneurs who built small numbers of houses, working with landowners. In 1877, B&O company attempted to lower wages and that originated a major railroad workers' strike. On July 20, 1877, Maryland Governor John Lee Carroll asked to end the strikes because the train service was interrupted. Citizens sympathetic to the railroad workers attacked the National Guard troops as they marched from their armories in Baltimore to Camden Station.
Founded in 1894, the Maryland Suffrage Association was one of the first state suffrage associations for women in the U.S. Together with the Equal Suffrage League of Baltimore, they lobbied for women's right to vote at every session of the General Assembly until the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in Maryland in 1941. In1904, the Great Baltimore Fire destroyed part of downtown, which demanded reform. Moreover, the municipal administration underwent a process of moralization and professionalization in the 20th century. After, Baltimore modeled itself on the other American metropolises and chose to modernize its institutions and address the industrial and urban challenges of the era.
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