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Lesson Plan Slideshow - Daily Life in 1820

Created by Brittany Cook, MHS Bicentennial Fellow


Item 5 of 67


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Mark L. Hill to William King, Washington, D.C., February 4, 1820

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Mark L. Hill to William King, Washington, D.C., February 4, 1820 / Maine Historical Society

Mark Langdon Hill (1772-1842) served as a Massachusetts State Representative from 1819-1821, and from 1821-1823 served in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was a strong supporter of the separation of Maine from Massachusetts. The letter is authored to William King (1768-1852) a supporter of separation, a Massachusetts senator and later Maine’s first governor.

In this letter, Hill described the situation in Congress regarding the issue of Maine separating from Massachusetts. At this point, the question of Maine’s statehood had been left open for nearly two months and tied to Missouri’s statehood. Ultimately, it was determined that Maine could enter the Union as a free state only if Missouri could enter as a slave state, an arrangement known as the Missouri Compromise.

Many Mainers were vehemently against their statehood enabling the spread of slavery. Here, Hill is beginning to waiver in favor of the Missouri Compromise and provides justifications for its inevitability to King. Hill also sees the building conflict of North vs. South as the issue of slavery and abolition become more controversial.

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Item 5 of 67