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Louisiana in the 19th century


Historic cannon in Maine
Historic cannon in Maine

The American Revolution made clear that Massachusetts was unable or unwilling to protect its province of Maine against the British, and a movement for separation from Massachusetts gained strength after the war. Revolutionary rhetoric about freedom from Great Britain turned into arguments for freedom from Massachusetts. Many Maine residents argued that Massachusetts favored absentee landlords over people living on the land. Agitation for statehood grew further during the War of 1812, a conflict between the United States and Britain over the maritime rights of neutral nations; the British captured Eastport, Castine, Belfast, and Bangor. Finally, Massachusetts consented to separation, and a convention at Portland drafted a constitution. In 1820 Maine became the 23rd state as part of the Missouri Compromise, which allowed Maine to enter the Union as a free state to balance Missouri’s admission as a slave state.

Since the end of the American Revolution, the border between Maine and Canada had been disputed. In the late 1830s, lumber interests in the Canadian province of New Brunswick and in Maine both sought control of the area that is now Aroostook County. Maine and New Brunswick both sent troops to the area, but the so-called Aroostook War ended without bloodshed in 1839. The boundary dispute was resolved by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty in 1842.

In Maine as in other places in the United States during the 19th century, many people turned their efforts to reforming society. Movements to abolish slavery and control the use of alcohol attracted much attention and support. In 1851 Maine passed legislation that outlawed the sale of alcohol and provided extensive powers of search and seizure to enforce the law. A number of other states adopted the so-called “Maine Law,” but critics in Maine pointed to overzealous law enforcers who abused their powers.

By 1858 the Maine legislature revised the law, placing greater limits on the search-and-seizure clauses, but prohibition continued to be an important issue in Maine politics into the 20th century. Maine reformers also worked to abolish slavery, founding the Maine Antislavery Society in the 1830s and gaining strength in the decades before the Civil War (1861-1865).

The Civil War


During the Civil War, about 73,000 Maine residents fought in the Union army and navy. Maine regiments played key roles in many battles, notably the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, a turning point in the war. Maine produced a number of political and military leaders in this period, including Generals Oliver Otis Howard and Joshua Chamberlain; Hannibal Hamlin, a former governor and U.S. senator who served as vice president under Abraham Lincoln from 1861 to 1865; and William Fessenden, a powerful U.S. senator who became Lincoln’s secretary of the treasury in 1864. Hamlin and Fessenden were prominent leaders of Maine’s Republican Party, which gained power in the Civil War era and remained dominant until the 1950s. "Maine" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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