The Financial History of Baltimore, 1900-1926

By Leonard Owens Rea | Go to book overview

THE FINANCIAL HISTORY OF BALTIMORE 1900-1926

CHAPTER I
MUNICIPAL ADMINISTRATION

The Corporate Powers. -- Until 1898, the original charter of 1796, encumbered with a mass of amendatory enactments, served as the basis of the municipal government of Baltimore.1 As a consequence of a political upheaval resulting from a wide-spread desire for reform and from an overwhelming independent vote in the election of 1895, a bitter dispute arose between the mayor and the city council over the former's power of appointment.2 This struggle, besides calling forth a storm of popular protest, incidentally revealed the possibilities of maladministration inherent in the old form of municipal government and stimulated intelligent discussion as to the desirability of reorganization.3 The trend of events culminated finally in 18984 with the enactment of a new charter which represented "a conservative adaptation of the accepted principles of municipal reform to local requirements and established usage."5

The attitude of the public at this time was not favorable to any radical changes in the administrative structure of the government, and, therefore, the charter commission of 1898 followed the line of least resistance.6 The instrument drafted

____________________
1
Jacob H. Hollander, The Financial History of Baltimore, 203.
2
Jacob H. Hollander, Notes on Municipal Government, in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science ( 1896), VII, 506.
3
Hollander, Financial History, 356.
4
Laws of Md., 1898, ch. 123.
5
Hollander, 358.
6
B. Howell Griswold Jr., "The Proposed New Charter of Baltimore"; reprint of a series of articles in the Baltimore Sun, June 27 -- July 11, 1910.

-9-

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