Portal:Maryland

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Maryland is a state located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east. Maryland was the seventh state to ratify the United States Constitution, and has three occasionally used nicknames: the Old Line State, the Free State, and the Chesapeake Bay State. Maryland is also considered to be the birthplace of religious freedom in America dating back to its earliest colonial days when it was made a refuge for persecuted Catholics from England by George Calvert the first Lord Baltimore, and the first English proprietor of the then-Maryland colonial grant. Maryland is one of the smallest states in terms of area, as well as one of the most densely populated states of the United States. The state's largest city is Baltimore, and its capital is Annapolis. Although the state is officially claimed to be named after Queen Henrietta Maria, many historians believe Maryland was named after Mary, the mother of Jesus, by George Calvert, 1st Lord Baltimore prior to his death in 1632. The original intent may never be known. Maryland has the highest median household income, making it the wealthiest state in the nation.

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The Government of Maryland is conducted according to the Maryland Constitution. The United States is a federation; consequently, the Government of Maryland, like the other 49 state governments, has exclusive authority over matters that lie entirely within the state's borders, except as limited by the Constitution of the United States.

Power in Maryland is divided among three branches of government:executive,legislative,and judicial. Unlike most other states, significant autonomy is granted to many of Maryland's counties.

Most of the business of government is done in Annapolis, the State capital. Virtually all state and county elections are held in even-numbered years not divisible by four, in which the President of the United States is not elected—this, as in other states, is intended to divide State and Federal politics.

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A rendition of the bombardment of Fort McHenry which inspired the composition of The Star Spangled Banner.

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Alger Hiss testifying

Alger Hiss (November 11, 1904 – November 15, 1996) was a U.S. State Department official involved in the establishment of the United Nations. He was accused of being a Soviet spy in 1948 and convicted of perjury in connection with this charge in 1950. Evidence revealed after Hiss's conviction has added a variety of information to the case, and the question of his guilt or innocence remains controversial. Some reliable sources have suggested that those who believe in Hiss's innocence are in the minority of scholarly opinion.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Mary Lavinia Hughes and Charles Alger Hiss, Alger Hiss's early life was repeatedly marred by tragedy. His father committed suicide when Alger was 2 years old, his older brother Bosley died of Bright's disease when Alger was 22, and he lost his sister Mary Ann to suicide when he was 25. His father had been a middle class wholesale grocer, and after his death Mary Hiss relied largely on family members for financial support in raising her five children. The Hiss family lived in a Baltimore neighborhood that was described as one of "shabby gentility."

Hiss was educated at Baltimore City College high school and Johns Hopkins University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was voted "most popular student" by his classmates. In 1929, he received his law degree from Harvard Law School, where he was a protégé of Felix Frankfurter, the future Supreme Court justice. Before joining a Boston law firm, he served for a year as clerk to Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. That same year, Hiss married the former Mrs. Priscilla Hobson, a Bryn Mawr graduate who would later work as a grade school English teacher.

In 1933, he entered government service, working in several areas as an attorney in President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal, starting with the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA). Hiss worked for the Nye Committee, which investigated and documented wartime profiteering by military contractors during World War I, and served briefly in the Justice Department.

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Thomas Viaduct
  • ...that the Thomas Viaduct (pictured) over the Patapsco River was the first multi-span masonry railroad bridge in the United States when it was constructed between 1833 and 1835?

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