I'm in Baltimore today, looking through some of my great-grandfather's papers and books and becoming their caretaker. As many readers probably know, I have an ongoing research interest in him. He was the president of Maryland's Constitutional Convention of 1968. The Constitution ultimately failed amidst the turmoil of the King assassination and the expansive changes to the state government that were proposed.
I came across this statement by him at the beginning of the convention that I liked a lot. A strong federalist and reformist impulse motivated his work throughout the convention:
"And so, we, the citizens of what we proudly call the great free State of Maryland, have, along with our fellow citizens of other states, become cringing, favor-seeking vassals, fawning at the feet of Uncle Sam, grateful for the few crumbs of our own money tossed to us. But that great big, sprawling, bureaucratic colossus sitting astride the Potomac is too big, too far removed from the people, too impersonal to make more than uncertain, feeble, ineffective, and ofttimes inept attempts to solve these problems which ought to be solved by state and local governments.
The challenge is clear for us to see; it is written in large bold letters on the walls of this historic State House. We have almost complete freedom in drafting a constitution to submit to our people. So long as it provides for a republican form of government, so long as it does not transgress the rights and liberties of the individual citizens guaranteed and protected by the Constitution of the United States, we, the people of the State of Maryland, can have almost any kind of constitution we choose."
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