Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Contact: Kristen Schulze Muszynski
Work: 626-8404/Cell: 441-7638

Maine marks 195 Years as an Independent State

AUGUSTA ? On March 15, Maine will mark 195 years as one of the United States of America.

The federal notification of Maine?s ?Act of Admission? into the union is part of the holdings at the Maine State Archives. Congress passed the Act on March 3, 1820, and President James Monroe signed it that same day.

The Act of Admission designates Maine as a ?separate and independent state.? U.S. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, who would later be elected president of the United States in 1824, sent the Act to the State of Maine.

Before becoming a state, Maine was a district of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Maine brought pressure to become independent from Massachusetts and sought admission to the United States as a ?free? state that rejected slavery. Southern states objected, contending that admitting Maine would upset the political balance between free states and states that allowed slavery. Congress ultimately proposed admitting Maine as a free state and Missouri as a slave state. Although many Maine politicians objected, Congress approved the Missouri Compromise.

The resulting Act of Admission states that, as of March 15, 1820, ?the State of Maine is hereby declared to be one of the United States of America, and admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States, in all respects whatever.?

The full transcript of the Act is available online at

Historical documents such as the Act of Admission are preserved at the Maine State Archives facility in Augusta. An image of the Act is available on the Archives website and Facebook page.