Maine’s Divisive Birth

Maine Map

   

    Maine gained statehood on March 15, 1820, becoming the 23rd state of the Union, after a bitter political fight. Maine’s request for statehood came at a seemingly perfect time for federal politicians, and a rather unfortunate one for the citizens of the state, as the Missouri Territory, a prolific slave-owning territory, sought the same as Maine. At the time, there were an equal number of free and slave states in the Union, and the addition of Missouri as a slave state would lead to outcry in the North. However, forcing Missouri to enter as a free state would potentially lead to southern revolt.

    As such, the decision was made to tie the two states’ inceptions together, thus maintaining the status quo and achieving compromise. However, this brought misgivings among Maine’s citizens, and they fought this pairing vehemently. Despite this, they were eventually convinced that statehood was worth the proverbial price of admission. Nearly one year after putting the question up to vote, the state of Maine was created, along with Missouri in 1821, possibly delaying the upcoming Civil War by decades.

 

Dirigo Seal

Sources:

Liam Riordan, Maine Statehood: An Overview (Dec 21, 2016) Journal Article. Found on the University of Maine Website, https://umaine.edu/mhc/wp-content/uploads/sites/276/2016/12/ME-Statehood-Factsheet.pdf

Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Missouri Compromise (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1998). Web. https://www.britannica.com/event/Missouri-Compromise

 

Map:

(Image Source: Harvey Fletcher, Historical US Maps. (unknown publishing date). Web.  http://www.historical-us-maps.com/statehood-maps.html