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Council of Safety

By resolution of 18 July 1775, the Continental Congress recommended that each colony appoint a committee of safety "to superintend and direct all matters necessary for the security and defence of their respective colonies in the recess of their assemblies and conventions." A week later, the Convention of Maryland chose by ballot the Council of Safety of Maryland. Acting as an executive body, the council enforced its dictates and those of the Continental Congress through a system of county committees of observation. The council administered all matters and measures connected with the policy of resistance. Its varied responsibilities included licensing privateers, instituting boycotts, and summoning militia. The council was also charged with taking the Maryland Census of 1776. The state constitution adopted by convention in November 1776 provided for the election of a new General Assembly. The new Assembly chose Thomas Johnson as the state's first governor. In March 1777, two days after Johnson took office, the General Assembly dissolved the Council of Safety.

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