“A Separate and Independent State”: Maine’s Act of Admission, which was passed by Congress on March 3, 1820 and signed the same day by President James Monroe. This certified copy was sent to the State of Maine by U.S. Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams. He would later be elected President of the United States in 1824. Maine entered the Union as part of the Missouri Compromise which admitted Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state.
Maine’s Act of Admission, click here.
Maine’s Act of Admission Transcript
Transcipt page one (left side)
An Act for the Admission for the State of Maine into the Union
Whereas, by an act of the State of Massachusetts, passed on the Nineteenth day of June, in the Year One Thousand Eight Hundred and Nineteen, entitled “An Act relating to the Separation of the District of Maine from Massachusetts Proper, and forming the same into a separate and independent state, the people of that part of Massachusetts heretofore known as the District of Maine did, with the consent of the Legislature of said State of Massachusetts, form themselves into an independent state, and did establish a Constitution for the Government of the same, agreeably to the Provisions of said Act – Therefore –
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United State of America in Congress assembled, that, from and after the fifteenth day of March, in the year One Thousand Eight Hundred and Twenty, 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.
H. Clay, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
John Gaillard, President of the Senate pro tempore.
Washington, March 3, 1820.
Transcript page two (right side)
Act for the Admission for the State of Maine into the Union
I certify that the within is a true copy of “An Act for the State of Maine into the Union,” accurately transcribed from the original Roll deposited in the Office of the Department of State of the United States, according to Law, for safe-keeping.
In testimony whereof I, John Quincy Adams, Secretary of the Department, aforesaid, have hereunto subscribed by name, and caused the Seal of my Office of said Department to be affixed, this third Day of March, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Twenty; and of the Independence of the United States the Forty-fourth.
John Quincy Adams.
(Source: Maine State Archives)
Maine.gov Press Release
Maine marks 195 Years as an Independent State
March 3, 2015
Secretary of 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.”
Is Maine now a territory of the United States? The Act of Admission designates Maine as a “separate and independent state.” What do you think of this Act?