Sunday, June 24, 2012

The (200th anniversary of) the war that made Maine a state

It's the bicentenial of one of the United States' most poorly understood conflicts, the War of 1812, in which foreign troops sacked the federal capital, burned the White House, and occupied a good portion of my native state. Americans suffer from historical amnesia and unlike, say, Hungarians or Serbs, tend to especially forget those conflicts that didn't go so well.
That's a pity for Mainers because the conflict played a central role in our reemergence as a separate polity after a century and a half spent as an internal colony of Massachusetts. The British invasion of eastern Maine -- and the Bay State's tepid reaction to it -- fueled the drive for statehood, a story I tell in this feature in today's Maine Sunday Telegram.

For more context on Maine' historical relationship with Massachusetts, may I suggest my second book, The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier.

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