Meet Maine Here.
Maine became an independent state in 1820 after more than 200 years of struggle over control of the valuable lands and waters of America’s northeastern frontier.
Regional Struggle: Who controls this land?
In the 1500s Wabanaki peoples first encountered Europeans who soon laid claim to Wabanaki homelands. Over the next centuries, Maine’s political identity transformed from exclusively Wabanaki territory to English colony to a district within the state of Massachusetts. After the American Revolution, people in the District of Maine debated and voted six times before finally approving independent statehood.
National Story: Statehood at What Cost?
The petition for Maine statehood finally had to be approved by Congress. There, Maine’s prolonged bid for independence from Massachusetts nearly collapsed as it became embroiled in the escalating national dispute over slavery. The resulting “Missouri Compromise” forced Massachusetts representatives from the District of Maine to decide if they would vote for Maine’s statehood, even though these votes would expand slavery to new states west of the Mississippi River.