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John P. Kennedy

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Subject: William Alexander Graham, United States congressional delegations from Maryland, Horse-Shoe Robinson, USS Kennedy (DD-306), United States Secretary of the Navy
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John P. Kennedy

John P. Kennedy
21st United States Secretary of the Navy
In office
July 26, 1852 – March 4, 1853
Preceded by William A. Graham
Succeeded by James C. Dobbin
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 4th district
In office
April 25, 1838 – March 3, 1839
Preceded by Isaac McKim
Succeeded by Solomon Hillen, Jr.
In office
March 4, 1841 – March 3, 1845
Preceded by Solomon Hillen, Jr.
Succeeded by William F. Giles
Personal details
Born John Pendleton Kennedy
(1795-10-25)October 25, 1795
Baltimore, Maryland, US
Died August 18, 1870(1870-08-18) (aged 74)
Newport, Rhode Island, US
Political party Whig
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Gray
Margaret Hughes
Profession Politician, lawyer, writer
Religion Episcopalian
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Battles/wars War of 1812

John Pendleton Kennedy (October 25, 1795 – August 18, 1870) was an American novelist and Whig politician who served as United States Secretary of the Navy from July 26, 1852 to March 4, 1853, during the administration of President Millard Fillmore, and as a U.S. Representative from the Maryland's 4th congressional district. He was the brother of U.S. Senator Anthony Kennedy. He was also the Speaker of the Maryland State assembly and served several different terms in the assembly.

Kennedy helped to lead the effort to end slavery in Maryland,[1] which, as a non-confederate state, was not affected by the Emancipation Proclamation and required a state law to free slaves within its borders and to outlaw the furtherance of the practice.[1]

Kennedy was also an advocate of religious tolerance and also of memorializing and furthering study of Maryland history.

He is also credited with playing seminal roles in the founding of several historical, cultural and educational institutions in Maryland; including (the now called) Historic St. Mary's City (site of the colonial founding of Maryland and the birthplace of religious freedom in America), St. Mary's College of Maryland (then St. Mary's Female seminary), the Peabody Library (now a part of Johns Hopkins University) and the Peabody Conservatory of Music (also now a part of Johns Hopkins).

He also played key and decisive roles in the United States government's study, adoption and implementation of the telegraph.


  • Early Life/Education 1
  • Literary life 2
  • Political life 3
  • Position on religious tolerance 4
  • Opposition to slavery 5
    • Civil War 5.1
  • Work with cultural and educational institutions 6
  • Roles in science and technology 7
    • Federal study and acceptance of the telegraph 7.1
    • Commissioner of the 1867 Paris Exposition 7.2
  • Retirement from public office 8
  • Legacy 9
  • Books and essays 10
  • Further reading 11
  • See also 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14

Early Life/Education

John Pendleton Kennedy was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 25, 1795,[2] the son of an Irish immigrant and merchant, John Kennedy, and Nancy Pendleton, who was the daughter of a wealthy Virginia family, who had moved North to Maryland. Poor investments resulted in his father declaring bankruptcy in 1809.[3]
John Pendleton Kennedy attended private schools while growing up and was relatively well educated for the time. He graduated from Baltimore College in 1812.

Kennedy's college studies were interrupted by the War of 1812. He joined the army and in 1814, marched with the United Company of the 5th Baltimore Light Dragoons, known as the "Baltimore 5th," a unit that included rich merchants, lawyers, and other professionals. In a night of confusion, Kennedy lost his boots and marched onward in dancing pumps. Near the village of Bladensburg, Maryland, James Monroe, the Secretary of State, ordered the Baltimore 5th to move back from the left of the forward line to an exposed position a quarter-mile away. After the British forces crossed a bridge, the 5th moved forward. The fighting was intense: nearly every British officer among the advancing troops was hit, but then the British fired Congreve rockets. At first the 5th stood firm, but when the two regiments to the right had run away, the 5th also broke. Kennedy threw away his musket, and carried a wounded fellow-soldier to safety.[4] Kennedy later fought in the Battle of North Point.

Literary life

John Pendleton Kennedy as a young man.

Although admitted to the bar in 1816, he was much more interested in literature and politics than law. Kennedy's first literary attempt was a fortnightly periodical called the Red Book, publishing anonymously with his roommate Peter Hoffman Cruse from 1819–1820.[5] Kennedy published Swallow Barn, or A Sojourn in the Old Dominion in 1832, which would become his best-known work.[6] Horse-Shoe Robinson was published in 1835 to win a permanent place of respect in the history of American fiction.

Washington Irving and his Literary Friends at Sunnyside; third from right in back is John Pendleton Kennedy.

Kennedy's friends and personal associations included James Fenimore Cooper, Charles Dickens, Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, William Gilmore Simms, and William Thackeray.[7] Kennedy's journal entries dated September 1858 state that Thackeray asked him for assistance with a chapter in The Virginians:[7] Kennedy then assisted him by contributing scenic written depictions to that chapter.[7]

While sitting round a back parlor table at the home of noted Baltimore literarist,civic leader and friend John H. B. Latrobe at 11 West Mulberry Street, across from the old Baltimore Cathedral in the Mount Vernon, Baltimore neighborhood in October 1833, imbibing in some spirits and genial conversation with other friend James H. Miller, they together judged the draft of "MS. Found in a Bottle" from a then unknown aspiring writer Edgar Allan Poe to be worthy of publishing in the Baltimore Sunday Visitor because of its dark and macabre atmosphere and awarded a prize giving the young future author/poet his first publication. Also in 1835, he helped later introduce Poe to Thomas Willis White, editor of the Southern Literary Messenger.[8]

While abroad Kennedy became a friend of William Makepeace Thackeray and wrote or outlined the fourth chapter of the second volume of The Virginians, a fact which accounts for the great accuracy of its scenic descriptions. Of his works Horse-Shoe Robinson is the best and ranks high in antebellum fiction. Washington Irving read an advance copy of it and reported he was "so tickled with some parts of it" that he read it aloud to his friends.[9] Kennedy sometimes wrote under the pen name Mark Littleton, especially in his political satires.[2]

Political life

Kennedy was an active Whig. He was appointed Secretary of the Legation in Chile on January 27, 1823, but did not proceed to his post and resigned on June 23 of the same year. He was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1820 and in 1838, he succeeded Isaac McKim in the U.S. House of Representatives, but was defeated in his bid for reelection in November of that year. He was re-elected to Congress in 1840 and 1842; but, because of his strong opposition to the annexation of Texas, he was defeated in 1844. His influence in Congress was largely responsible for the appropriation of $30,000 to test Samuel Morse's telegraph.

President Matthew C. Perry to Japan and Lieutenant William Lewis Herndon and Lieutenant Lardner Gibbon to explore the Amazon .

1850 photo of John Pendleton Kennedy at approximately 55 years of age.

Kennedy was proposed as a vice-presidential running mate to Abraham Lincoln when Lincoln first sought the Presidency of the United States,[10] although Pendleton was ultimately not selected. Pendelton became a forceful supporter of the Union during the Civil War, and he supported the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation.[11] And then later, since the proclamation did not free Maryland slaves because the state was not in the confederacy, he also used his influence to push for legislation in Maryland that ultimately ended slavery there in 1864.[1][11]

Position on religious tolerance

Kennedy called for erecting a monument to the founding of the state of Maryland and to the birth of religious freedom in its original colonial settlement in St. Mary's City, Maryland. Three local citizens then expanded on his idea and sought to start a school that would become a "Living Monument" to religious freedom. The school was founded as such a monument in 1840 by order of the state legislature. Its original name was St. Mary's Seminary, but it would later be known as St. Mary's College of Maryland.

All the world outside of these portals was intolerant, proscriptive, vengeful against the children of a dissenting faith. Here only in Maryland, throughout all this wide world of Christendom, was there an altar erected and truly dedicated to the freedom of Christian worship. Let those who first reared it enjoy the renown to which it has entitled them.[12][13]
John Pendleton Kennedy, On memorializing the birth of religious freedom in St. Mary's City Maryland[12][13]

Earlier, when he was in the Maryland state legislature Kennedy was instrumental in repealing a law that discriminated against Jewish people in court and trial procedures in Maryland.[14] Jewish people were a tiny population in the state at the time and Kennedy was not Jewish, so there was no political or personal advantage to his position. His opposition to slavery in Maryland can be traced back for decades but the depth of that opposition went through an evolution from mild and more economically based in the beginning, to being stronger and more morally based by the time of the emancipation proclamation.[15] Kennedy, an [16] However he did also advocate setting limits on overall foreign national immigration into Maryland beginning in the 1850s, stating that he felt that the sheer number of new immigrants might overwhelm the economy.

Opposition to slavery

Kennedy's opposition to slavery was first publicly expressed in his writings, and then later in his life, as politician, through his speeches and political initiatives. His opposition to slavery in Maryland can be traced back through many decades of his life, but the depth of that opposition went through an evolution from milder and more understated in the beginning, to being stronger, more vocal and more morally based by the time of the Emancipation Proclamation and then the following state level effort to end slavery in Maryland, as the state was not included in the Emancipation Proclamation because it was not in the confederacy.

Kennedy once wrote that witnessing a speech by Frederick Douglass had opened his eyes more fully to the "curse" of slavery, as Kennedy called it by 1863.

In the novel that Kennedy wrote in the 1830s, Swallow barn, the story is critical of slavery but also idealizes plantation life. However, the original book manuscript shows that some of Kennedy's initial descriptions of plantation life were much more critical of slavery, but that he crossed those out of the manuscript before the book went to the printer, possibly because he was afraid of being too openly critical of slavery while living in Maryland, a slave state.

Historians are not in consensus as to whether his earlier softer opposition to slavery was a way of preventing violent attacks against himself, since he lived in a border state where slavery was still practiced and still widely supported. Opposing slavery in Maryland too strongly or too loudly may have been more dangerous there, than doing so farther North, in the non-slave regions of the United States where expressing abolitionism was safer as compared to a pro-slavery state like Maryland. Other historians maintain that his views on slavery simply evolved over time, from weaker opposition to stronger opposition.

The novel, although more muted in its criticism of slavery by the time of its publication and also expressing some idyllic stereotypes about plantation life, leads to the prediction that slavery will bring the Southern states to ruin. Swallow Barn was published in 1832, 29 years before the start of the Civil War and long before anyone else was known to predict that the Southern and Northern states were headed for armed conflict.

Civil War

Just prior to the Civil War Kennedy wrote that abolishing slavery immediately was not worth full-scale Civil War and that slavery should instead be ended in stages in order to avoid war. He noted that Civil Wars were historically the most bloody and devastating kinds of warfare and suggested a negotiated, phased approach to ending slavery in order to prevent war with the South.

But after the war broke out, he returned to a position of outright opposition to slavery and he began to call for "immediate emancipation" of slaves. His demands for the end of slavery grew stronger as the war progressed. By the height of the Civil War, when Kennedy's opposition to slavery had become much stronger, he signed his name to a key political pamphlet in Maryland opposing slavery and calling for its immediate end.[1]

There is consensus among historians that Kennedy was critical of slavery to some degree for decades, strongly opposed to slavery by the height of the Civil War, and strongly opposed the confederacy. In Maryland state politics and charity leadership, Kennedy was also known to help other minority groups, notably Jews and Irish Catholics. When the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in Maryland (because it was not in the confederacy) Kennedy played a key leadership role in campaigning for the end of slavery in the state.

Map shows slave-holding areas affected by the Emancipation Proclamation in red, and slave-holding areas not affected by the emancipation proclamation, including Maryland, in blue. Map is based on the situation in 1863, just after passage of the emancipation proclamation.
Map of slave populations in Maryland by county at the time of the Civil War

Because Maryland was not in the confederacy, the emancipation proclamation did not apply to the state and slavery continued there.[17] Unlike the confederate states, President Lincoln was afraid to emancipate Maryland because he was concerned that would cause it to leave the Union and join the Confederacy, this is why he did not include Maryland in the Emancipation Proclamation. Only the state itself could end slavery at this point,[17] and this was not a certain outcome at all,[17] as Maryland was a

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Isaac McKim
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 4th congressional district

April 25, 1838 – March 3, 1839
Succeeded by
James Carroll, Solomon Hillen, Jr.
Preceded by
James Carroll, Solomon Hillen, Jr.
and Alexander Randall
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 4th congressional district

March 4, 1841 – March 3, 1845
Succeeded by
William F. Giles
Political offices
Preceded by
William S. Waters
Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates
Succeeded by
William J. Blakistone
Government offices
Preceded by
William A. Graham
United States Secretary of the Navy
July 26, 1852 – March 4, 1853
Succeeded by
James C. Dobbin

External links

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Immediate emancipation in Maryland. Proceedings of the Union State Central Committee, at a meeting held in Temperance Temple, Baltimore, Wednesday, December 16, 1863", 24 pages, Publisher: Cornell University Library (January 1, 1863), ISBN 1429753242, ISBN 978-1429753241
  2. ^ a b Ehrlich, Eugene and Gorton Carruth. The Oxford Illustrated Literary Guide to the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982: 218. ISBN 0-19-503186-5
  3. ^ Hubbell, Jay B. The South in American Literature: 1607–1900. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1954: 483.
  4. ^ Pierre Berton (1981), Flames across the Border: The Canadian-American Tragedy, 1813—1814, Boston: Atlantic-Little, Brown, Chapter 11, "The Burning of Washington, August 1814", pp. 368—370.
  5. ^ Hubbell, Jay B. The South in American Literature: 1607–1900. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1954: 484.
  6. ^ Hubbell, Jay B. The South in American Literature: 1607–1900. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1954: 485.
  7. ^ a b c "John Pendleton Kennedy: Author, Statesman, Patriot", April 15, 2013, Amy Kimball, Materials Manager for Special Collections, The Sheridan Libraries
  8. ^ Meyers, Jeffrey. Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy. New York: Cooper Square Press, 1992: 70. ISBN 0-8154-1038-7
  9. ^ Burstein, Andrew. Original Knickerbocker: The Life of Washington Irving. New York: Basic Books, 2007: 280. ISBN 978-0-465-00853-7
  10. ^ The Magazine of American History, Vol. 29, 1893, 282–283
  11. ^ a b c Barbara Jeanne Fields, "Slavery and Freedom on the Middle Ground: Maryland During the Nineteenth Century (Yale Historical Publications Series)", Publisher: Univ Tennessee Press; (July 30, 2012), ISBN 1572338512, ISBN 978-1572338517
  12. ^ a b "Discourse on the life and character of George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore", John Pendleton Kennedy, page 43, University of Michigan Library (January 1, 1845), ASIN: B003B65WS0
  13. ^ a b "Discourse on the life and character of George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore", John Pendleton Kennedy, page 45, Google Books Version, citation for this version added for direct viewing of text,,+religious+tolerance&source=bl&ots=aa4fTMef7-&sig=JgNL-Xorf7qgmIaAugr1aYQAZwA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Tw1pU_7RGY-QyAT1_4CYCw&ved=0CFUQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=john%20pendleton%20kennedy%2C%20religious%20tolerance&f=false
  14. ^ a b c "The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia: 1825",, Note: There are two different "Kennedys" mentioned in this source, 1) Thomas Kennedy, followed later by 2) John Pendleton Kennedy,
  15. ^ a b "The Life of John Pendleton Kennedy", Henry T. Tuckerman Kuchapishwa na Kessinger Publishing, Llc, ISBN 978-1-164-43961-5, ISBN 1-164-43961-8
  16. ^ a b c d "Forgotten Doors: The Other Ports of Entry to the United States Hardcover", chapter entitled Immigration through Baltimore Page 66, M. Mark Stolarik, Balch Inst for Ethnic Studies (November 1988) ISBN 0944190006, ISBN 978-0944190005
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Miranda S. Spivack, September 13, 2013, "The not-quite-Free State: Maryland dragged its feet on emancipation during Civil War: Special Report, Civil War 150", CHAPTER 7, The Washington Post,
  18. ^ "Archaeology, Narrative, and the Politics of the Past: The View from Southern Maryland", Page 41, Julia King, University of Tennessee Press; July 30, 2012, ISBN 1572338512, ISBN 978-1572338517
  19. ^ a b c "Archaeology, Narrative, and the Politics of the Past: The View from Southern Maryland", Page 64, Julia King, University of Tennessee Press; July 30, 2012, ISBN 1572338512, ISBN 978-1572338517
  20. ^ "Religious Freedom Byway Would Recognize Maryland's Historic Role", Megan Greenwell, Washington Post, Thursday, August 21, 2008
  21. ^ Cecilius Calvert, "Instructions to the Colonists by Lord Baltimore, (1633)" in Clayton Coleman Hall, ed., Narratives of Early Maryland, 1633-1684 (NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1910), 11-23.
  22. ^ "Reconstructing the Brick Chapel of 1667" Page 1, See section entitled "The Birthplace of Religious Freedom"
  23. ^ a b "The History of the United States Naval Academy Band", MU1 Doug O'Connor, United States Naval Academy, Naval Academy Band
  24. ^ "American President, A Reference Resource: Millard Fillmore-- John P. Kennedy (1852–1853): Secretary of the Navy", Miller Center, University of Virginia, Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia,
  25. ^ The Magazine of American History, Vol. 29, 1893, 282–283
  26. ^ Frank Friedel (1967), ed., Union Pamphlets of the Civil War, A John Harvard Library Book, Cambridge, MA: Harvard, p. [86].
  27. ^ Ehrlich, Eugene and Gorton Carruth. The Oxford Illustrated Literary Guide to the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982: 71. ISBN 0-19-503186-5
  28. ^ a b c d e "Autograph Leaves of our Country's Authors", John Pendleton Kennedy and Alexander Bliss, 1864, Smithsonian Institution,
  29. ^ a b c d "Gettysburg Address On Display At The Smithsonian", Jeff Elliot, Abraham Lincoln Blog, November 28, 2008, Note: See "about notes" on author Jeff Elliot, who is an historian with 40 years of research experience,


See also

  • Berton, Pierre (1981), Flames across the Border: The Canadian-American Tragedy, 1813-1814, Boston: Atlantic-Little, Brown.
  • Bohner, Charles H. (1961), John Pendleton Kennedy, Gentleman from Baltimore, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins.
  • Friedel, Frank (1967), Union Pamphlets of the Civil War, [includes Kennedy's Great Drama], A John Harvard Library Book, Cambridge, MA: Harvard.
  • Gwathmey, Edward Moseley (1931), John Pendleton Kennedy, New York: Thomas Nelson.
  • Hare, John L. (2002), Will the Circle be Unbroken?: Family and Sectionalism in the Virginia Novels of Kennedy, Caruthers, and Tucker, 1830—1845, New York: Routledge.
  • Marine, William Matthew (1913), The British Invasion of Maryland, 1812-1815, Baltimore: Society of the War of 1812 in Maryland.
  • Ridgely, Joseph Vincent (1966), John Pendleton Kennedy, New York: Twayne.
  • Tuckerman, Henry Theodore (1871), The Life of John Pendleton Kennedy, Collected Works of Henry Theodore Tuckerman, Volume 10, New York: Putnam.

Further reading

§ Published under Kennedy's pen-name Mark Littleton.

  • The Red Book (1818–19, two volumes).
  • Swallow Barn: Or, A Sojourn in the Old Dominion (1832). §
  • Horse-Shoe Robinson: A Tale of the Tory Ascendency in South Carolina, in 1780 (1835).
  • Rob of the Bowl: A Legend of St. Inigoe's (1838). §
  • Annals of Quodlibet [under pen-name Solomon Secondthoughts] (1840).
  • Defence of the Whigs [under pen-name A Member of the Twenty-seventh Congress] (1844).
  • Memoirs of the Life of William Wirt (1849, two volumes).
  • The Great Drama: An Appeal to Maryland, Baltimore, reprinted from the Washington National Intelligencer of May 9, 1861.
  • The Border States: Their Power and Duty in the Present Disordered Condition of the Country (1861).
  • Autograph Leaves of Our Country's Authors[28][29] [anthology,[28][29] co-edited by John P. Kennedy[28][29] and Alexander Bliss[28][29]] (1864)[28]
  • Mr. Paul Ambrose's Letters on the Rebellion [under pen-name Paul Ambrose] (1865).
  • Collected Works of John Pendleton Kennedy (1870–72, ten volumes).
  • At Home and Abroad: A Series of Essays: With a Journal in Europe in 1867–68 (1872, essays).

Books and essays

The naval ships USS John P. Kennedy and USS Kennedy (DD-306) were named for him.

Today there are two large special collections of his papers, manuscripts and correspondence; one remains at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore and the other is at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. There are also a number of libraries from Virginia to Boston that have smaller collections of his correspondence (both private and official letters).

It is my wish that the manuscript volumes containing my journals, my note or common-place books, and the several volumes of my own letters in press copy, as also all my other letters, such as may possess any interest or value (which I desire to be bound in volumes) that are now in loose sheets, shall be returned to my executors, who are requested to have the same packed away in a strong walnut box, closed and locked, and then delivered to the Peabody Institute, to be preserved by them unopened until the year 1900, when the same shall become the property of the Institute, to be kept among its books and records.[1]

In his will, Kennedy wrote the following:


Kennedy died at Newport, Rhode Island on August 18, 1870,[27] and is buried in Greenmount Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.

During this time he had a summer home overlooking the south branch of the Patapsco River upstream near Orange Grove-Avalon-Ilchester off the main western line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad now in the area of Patapsco Valley State Park which was devastated by a disastrous flood in 1868.

Kennedy retired from elected and appointed offices in March 1853 when President Fillmore left office, but he remained very active in both Federal and state of Maryland politics nevertheless, supporting Fillmore in 1856, when Fillmore won Maryland's electoral votes and Kennedy's brother Anthony won a U.S. Senate seat. His name was mentioned as one of the vice-presidential prospects on the Republican ticket alongside Abraham Lincoln in 1860[25] (meaning that Abraham Lincoln might have been paired with a man named "John Kennedy"). Kennedy, however, was the Maryland chairman of the Constitutional Union Party, which nominated John Bell and Edward Everett.[26] Kennedy played an instrumental leadership role in the Union Party's successful effort to end slavery in Maryland in 1864. This had to be done at the state level, because the emancipation proclamation did not apply to the state. At the end of the American Civil War — during which he forcefully supported the Union – he advocated amnesty for the South.

Retirement from public office

Kennedy was a commissioner of the 1867 Paris Exposition,[24] an international science, technology and arts fair that in 1867 was held in Paris France. The fair had participation from 42 nations and had over 50,000 exhibits. It was the second World's Fair.

Commissioner of the 1867 Paris Exposition

While serving in the United States Congress, John Pendleton Kennedy was the primary and decisive force in Congress in securing 30,000 dollars (an enormous sum at the time) for testing Samuel Morse's telegraph communications system. This was the first electronic means of long distance communication in human history. The government tests corroborated Morse's invention and led to federal adoption of the technology and the subsequent establishment of the American telegraph communications system, which revolutionized communications and the economic development of the United States. Federal acceptance of the telegraph had a major impact on Abraham Lincoln's management of the Civil War as well.

Federal study and acceptance of the telegraph

Roles in science and technology

During his term as U.S. Secretary of the Navy Kennedy made the request for the establishment of the United States Naval Academy Band in Annapolis in 1852.[23] The band continues to be active to this day.[23]

Historic St. Mary's City also co-runs (jointly, along with St. Mary's College of Maryland) the now internationally recognized Historical Archaeology Field School, a descendent of Kennedy's idea that a school should be involved in researching and preserving the remains of colonial St. Mary's City.

Kennedy was the primary initial impetus[18] and was also pivotal in gaining early state recognition of its responsibility for protecting, studying and memorializing [22] as a key state historic area, placing historical research and preservation mandates under the original auspices of the new state-sponsored St. Mary's Female Seminary, located on the same site. This planted the early seeds of what would eventually become Historic St. Mary's City, a state-run archeological research and historic interpretation area that exists today on the site of Maryland's original colonial settlement.

Kennedy also played key roles in the establishment of St. Mary's Female Seminary which is now known as St. Mary's College of Maryland, the state's public honors college. The school was established with Kennedy's political support and his reputation as a respected Maryland author, as the state's "Living Monument to religious freedom", memorializing its location on the site of Maryland's first colony, which was also considered to be the birthplace of religious freedom in America as well. The school continues to have this designation to this day. The original concept of memorializing religious freedom was Kennedy's idea.

Kennedy, in his close association with George Peabody, was instrumental in the establishment of the Peabody Institute, which later evolved and split into the Peabody Library and the Peabody Conservatory of Music, which are now both part of Johns Hopkins University. He also served on the first board of trustees for the institute and did the first writing that outlined its mission. He also recorded minutes for the board's earliest meetings. Kennedy is known to have worked for years to help lay the groundwork for these institutions.

Work with cultural and educational institutions

Kennedy, although prone to oversimplifying and idealizing Maryland history, nevertheless paradoxically was known in a number of cases for defending [16] However he did also advocate setting limits on overall foreign national immigration into Maryland beginning in the 1850s, stating that he felt that the sheer number of new immigrants might overwhelm the economy.

At the meeting, Thomas Swann, a state politician, put forward a motion calling for the party to work for "Immediate emancipation (of all slaves) in Maryland".[1] John Pendleton Kennedy spoke next, and seconded the motion.[1] Since Kennedy was the former speaker of the Maryland General Assembly, as well as being a respected author, his support carried enormous weight in the party. A vote was taken and the motion passed.[1] However the people of Maryland as a whole were by then divided on the issue[17] and so twelve months of campaigning and lobbying on the matter of slavery continued throughout the state.[17] During this effort Kennedy signed his name to a party pamphlet calling for "immediate emancipation" of all slaves[1] that was widely circulated. On November 1, 1864, after a year-long debate, a state referendum was put forth on the slavery question.[1][11][17] The citizens of Maryland voted to abolish slavery,[17] but only by a 1,000 vote margin,[17] as the Southern part of the state was heavily dependent on the slave economy.[17]

(The Union Party was a powerful political party in the state at the time). [1]

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