February 20, 1839

On February 20, 1839, the US Congress officially banned dueling within the District of Columbia. If the esteemed Representatives and Senators from the 26 states of the United States had a disagreement that could not be settled amicably or within the court system, they’d have to take their arguments to Maryland, which they did. Like South Carolina became known as the eloping state, Maryland earned the dubious distinction as the dueling state. These grown men would find any reason to point a gun or knife at each other. Like if someone said their Aunt Sandra’s potato salad wasn’t fit to eat because she kept putting onions in it. Aunt Sandra’s nephew would send a Second over to demand satisfaction and off to Maryland they’d traipse. It didn’t have to be over family honor, it was also because of politics. The elected representatives of that time were willing to shoot or stab each other over politics. They’d get into a heated argument debating a law, and then they’d start acting like middle-school boys demanding each other run behind the gym to fight over every imagined or real insult. This all stopped after the Civil War when southerners finally realized that the arbitrary killing of capable men over stupid arguments was a waste of time and resources. It did take a massive killing off of young men between the ages of 18 and 35 for that to sink in. We’ll still punch you in the nose for not understanding the importance of a good devilled egg made the right way, but we won’t stab or shoot you over it any more. Just don’t expect the same from Aunt Sandra. That bitch will cut you.

 

About Joel Byers

Born in North Georgia and educated at some very fine public institutions. Real education started after graduating from college and then getting married and raising two boys. Has the ability to see the funny and absurd in most things and will always remark on it, even if it means getting the stink-eye from his victims.
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