Albert Ritchie: Respected Governor and State Rights Defender
Two years ago, Larry Hogan, the sixty-second governor and one of the two Republican governors of Maryland, assumed into office. Ninety-seven years ago, one of the greatest Democrat governors was elected—Albert Ritchie. He created an administration that was so effective it almost shaped the way how the people of Maryland voted for their next governor officials.
Albert Ritchie was a lawyer who was one of the longest-serving governor in the United States. He spent fifteen years of his life in service of the Marylanders as a governor and was declared as the “eighth longest gubernatorial tenure in post-Constitutional U.S. history.” His days of service added to 5,474.
His service started in 1919, where he first won as the governor of Maryland. He brought about reforms and policies that Marylanders are still benefitting from today. Before his term, schools in Maryland were ranked among America’s worst, so he overhauled the whole system, hired better leaders and upgraded the wage grade of the teachers. He supported for the funding of poorer school systems, which brought about greater equalization of the education budget.
He also advocated for better social services and defending state rights. He ordered the construction of additional asylums and facilities for the mentally challenged and child convicts. He was strict about finances. He used state’s savings in creating more roads and in reducing Marylander’s taxes.
Because of the effectivity of his administration, he was reelected thrice, gaining a landslide win in the said three reelections. However, on his fifth term, Harry W. Nice defeated him with the vote count 247,644 to 253,813 respectively. This was linked back to jealousy from the other members of the Democratic Party. He was also nominated as a presidential contender, twice, and considered as the only serious presidential candidate from Maryland.
His shocking and abrupt death in 1936 was considered as a “national loss,” as written by the New York Herald Tribune. At fifty-nine, the four-term governor was taken away by a stroke of cerebral hemorrhage. His funeral was attended by thousands of people. Approximately thirty-one thousand people visited his bier during the public twenty-four-hour vigil. On the day of his funeral, one thousand guests occupied the Christ Episcopal Church in Baltimore and ten thousand more waited on the outside of the chapel. There were approximately ten thousand more people who waited for Ritchie in the Greenmount Cemetery, where he was buried. The people who attended Albert Ritchie’s funeral are the testament that one man can change and bring a state together.
The Baltimore Sun. 1999. “Albert C. Ritchie, State House titan.” Last modified July 22. Accessed March 8, 2017. http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1999-07-22/news/9907220305_1_ritchie-maryland-governor albert-c.