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Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J.; Moore, Timothy D. (Historian); Lannér-Cusin, Johanna E.; Schoenleber, Charles H.; Reid, Jonathan M.; Flamingo, Margaret R.; Fields, David P. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Maryland (1)

Introduction,   pp. xxi-lvi

Page xxiii

house of Maryland's General Assembly, and the proprietor and his coun-
selors, who, after 1650, formed the Assembly's upper house. In 1774,
Maryland freemen rallied for more extensive legislative powers in the
colony, establishing what would be the first of nine extralegal conven-
tions that wrested control of the legislative process from the established
power structure. The Ninth Convention adjourned in November 1776.
The proprietary government arguably ended in Maryland when the
first of those extralegal assemblies convened in June 1774. But the sym-
bolic end of the regime occurred in June 1776, shortly after the Eighth
Convention assembled, when Governor Robert Eden, the last of the col-
ony's governors, left Maryland's shores. By undermining and ultimately
throwing off the proprietary government, Marylanders had achieved a
revolution in their provincial government as the American colonies
moved toward independence.6
In the mid-1770s Maryland's internal politics, especially the dispute
between colonists and the proprietor, had commanded much of the
colony's attention. However, Marylanders' concerns were also imperial
and had been since 1765 and the furor over the Stamp Act. Mary-
landers were well aware that the changes in British imperial policy put
an end to the period of "salutary neglect," as Parliament encroached
on the affairs of colonial assemblies.
Maryland in the Pre-war Years: Resistance to British and Proprietary Rule
Maryland politics during the 1760s and the first half of the 1770s was
dominated by two principal political factions-the court party and the
country party. Political insiders-people who regularly received lucra-
tive appointments and other forms of political patronage from the
proprietary regime-represented the court party. The regime was not
without means to reward the faithful. Depending on the year, between
£12,000 and E14,000 in posts and remittances was available to entice
supporters and to lavish on Marylanders who had proved their loyalty
to the regime and the governor. Members of the court party in the
General Assembly had a vested interest in voting for policies that fa-
vored the maintenance of proprietary prerogative. Below the higher-
ranking officials, who received key government posts and significant
monetary reward, a host of lesser officials also received appointments.
A system of kickbacks bolstered the appointment scheme in proprietary
Maryland, with lesser officials "thanking" their patrons for posts of
note. Opposed to the court party, the country party represented po-
litical outsiders or outliers. Some political outsiders no doubt hoped to
become insiders, but the difficulty of transitioning from country to
court could be great. As critics, some people established themselves as
permanent outsiders to the system that seemed to violate the best in-
terests of rank-and-file Marylanders.7

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