Maryland has long prided itself as the only state that refused to pass the 18th Amendment, which imposed prohibition in 1919. Throughout the 1920s, the State House had its own official bootlegger, booze flowed freely through Baltimore, and Marylanders adopted the nickname of “the Free State” to signify their commitment to individual liberty and the fundamental right of every citizen to imbibe.
However, Maryland also failed to ratify another Progressive Era constitutional amendment, the 17th, which in 1913 instituted the direct election of United States Senators. The hope was that allowing voters to choose their own Senator would end, or at least limit, the out-of-control corruption that resulted from corporations bribing state legislators to appoint their preferred politician. While the 17th Amendment has long been uncontroversial, the rise of the Tea Party has brought opposition to this democratic practice back into the mainstream for the first time since before World War I.