The War Of 1812 Resulted In A Split Between These Two States

Of all the wars in American history, the War of 1812 is one of the most frequently overlooked. Per History, the two-and-a-half-year war saw the young United States take on "the greatest naval power in the world," Great Britain — just several decades after beating that country in a war for independence. History explains war broke out as a result of American desires to expand and anger over continued trade restrictions from the British. From 1812 to 1815, battles broke out across the country as the United States and its Native American allies fought against Britain and its own Canadian and Native American allies. Despite numerous costly defeats — including the capture of Washington, D.C., in 1814 — the United States was able to obtain a peace treaty from Great Britain in 1815.

Even more overlooked than the War of 1812 itself are the effects the war had on the young United States. One such effect was the creation of a new U.S. state — a split in one of the original 13 colonies, turning it into two states rather than one. That state was Massachusetts, and the new state created from its former territory was Maine.

It's a bit surprising to realize that Massachusetts and Maine used to be a single state (named Massachusetts), especially considering that they don't even border each other. (Pesky New Hampshire is in the way.) But Mass Humanities reports that Maine "had been administered as a district of Massachusetts since 1647," despite initially having been established as a separate colony.

Following British occupation in 1814, Maine chose to secede from Massachusetts

From 1647 until the early 1800s, Maine was a province of the state of Massachusetts. But Mainers weren't particularly happy about this arrangement. Mass Humanities reports that Maine's population swelled following the Revolutionary War, and with it swelled calls for statehood. These calls came from both wealthy merchants and poor farmers alike, who believed that the Massachusetts government was unable to fairly represent the interests of the people of Maine.

But it was the War of 1812 that brought the Maine independence movement to a fever pitch. During that war's second year, per Mental Floss, the British navy occupied Eastport, Maine. In a matter of weeks, the entire territory of Maine fell under British occupation. Worst of all: the Massachusetts government did nothing to stop the occupation, with Governor Caleb Strong deciding to withhold military relief from Maine. Even after the war concluded, some parts of Maine were still under British occupation until 1818.

Naturally, per Mass Humanities, Maine was filled with "vigorous campaigning for statehood" in 1815, as any last ties of loyalty to Massachusetts had been torn. And, in 1819, Mainers voted so overwhelmingly for independence that the Massachusetts state government was forced to agree. But Maine's statehood still had to be approved by the federal government — and it was, in the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Under that bill, Maine was admitted to the Union as a "free" state, while Missouri was admitted as a "slave" state, which maintained a balance between pro- and anti-slavery territories.