State governments control much of our everyday dealings. Under the U.S. Constitution's Tenth Amendment, states possess all powers not specifically granted to the federal government.  Maryland adopted its first State Constitution in November 1776, its second in June 1851, third in October 1864 and fourth and our current State Constitution September 1867, each containing a declaration of rights - the State's bill of rights.  The source of all power and authority for governing the State of Maryland lies with its citizens. In fact, Article I of the Constitution's Declaration of Rights states: "That all Government of right originates from the People, is founded in compact only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole; and they have, at all times, the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their Form of Government in such manner as they may deem expedient."

The framers of the State Constitution of 1867 followed precedent established in earlier Maryland constitutions and separated the powers of government into three distinct branches, explicitly grants each branch certain powers, which exercise certain checks and balances on each other.  Those branches are the executive, legislative, and judicial branches; each representing Marylanders' interests in our relations with other governments.