The Republican party of Maryland had come to power in 1896 advocating political virtue and responsible leadership. As in other States, this party went right to work in erecting barriers to the Democrat party ever regaining power and diluting their voter strength. In Baltimore, city wards were “renumbered and regrouped in order to assure maximum Republican ascendancy.” Republicans also repealed the Eastern Shore law which denied the traditional assignment of one senator from the east, thus permitting two from the West where Republicans were firmly in control. It took only several years of Republican political virtue for the State’s voters to return the Democrats to power in 1899.
Republican Political Virtue in Maryland
“Even more offensive to the political reform element was the record of political legerdemain of the Republican leaders both in the city and in the State governments. Gov. Lloyd Lowndes personally endeavored to fulfill campaign promises of an honest administration, but his efforts were nullified by chicanery and fraud on the part of his Republican associates. Foremost among these was Congressman Sidney E. Mudd of the Fifth Congressional District who in 1896 while Speaker of the House of Delegates, had extended his influence over the counties of Southern Maryland and, corralling the Negro vote there, had quickly become one of the leading Republican bosses.
Although well-educated, his attitude toward political morality was cynical and can best be exemplified by his own definition of an honest man as “a bastard who will stay bought.”
The worst Republican scandal arose over fraudulent census returns. While serving in Congress in 1900, Mudd had sponsored the appointment of a group of census enumerators for his district and, it was alleged, had intimated to them the type of returns he expected. One of Mudd’s ardent henchmen made certain that census lists for several counties were padded with names secured from tombstones and similar sources. Children aged five and six were listed as day laborers and schoolteachers so that the Federal Census of 1900, insofar as it applied to Southern Maryland, enhanced the influence of Mudd’s bailiwick and gave the Republicans there a sizable number of non-existent voters.”
(Arthur Poe Gorman: A Biography, John R. Lambert, LSU Press, 1953, pg. 273-274)