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Montesquieu famously concluded in The Spirit of the Laws that each form of government has an animating principle—a set of "human passions that set it in motion"—and that each form can be corrupted if its animating principle is undermined. Maryland is a compelling case study of Montesquieu's theory: founded in 1632 by Lord Baltimore as a haven for Catholics, a mere two decades later that animating principle was dead. This article explores why. More specifically, the article examines the birth, death, and resurrection of Maryland's animating principle by identifying with as much precision as possible the impact of the law itself on regime change in colonial Maryland.