Kurt's Historic Sites

Augusta, Maine capitol

Maine

Admission to the Union Sequence in Admission Sequence in Capitols I Have Visited
March 15, 1820 23rd admitted 12th visited

Photographed July 1, 2010.

As the United States expanded in the nineteenth century, tension grew between pro-slavery and anti-slavery advocates. Would the “peculiar institution” be permitted in new states and territories, and how would that affect the balance of power in the halls of Congress? In 1820, the status quo was maintained through federal legislation dubbed the Missouri Compromise. It entailed Missouri being admitted as a slave state and the Massachusetts district of Maine entering as a free state. The last part of the agreement arranged that slavery would not be legal in new states formed from Louisiana Purchase land north of the 36°30′ parallel. The Missouri Compromise was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 1857 ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford. When the Civil War erupted a few short years later, Maine was committed to the Union and Missouri was a border state.

Some of my favorite photos from my archives are ones I took at state capitol buildings, and this is among them. This is the view from the Maine State House looking southeast across State Street to Capitol Park. Out of view beyond the trees flows the Kennebec River.

Photographed July 1, 2010.
Photographed July 1, 2010.

The state house in Augusta was designed by architect Charles Bulfinch, and there are similarities between that building and the Massachusetts State House, which Bulfinch designed decades earlier. The Maine State House was completed in 1832.


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