Lesson Plans Lesson Plans

Maine Statehood

Kathleen Neumann, Maine Historical Society, Cumberland County



  • Social Studies -- Civics & Government
  • Social Studies -- History

7 days

  • 1775-1850
  • Civics & Citizenship
  • Community

Maine's quest for statehood began in the years immediately following the American Revolution. Though the state of Massachusetts consented to the separation in 1819 and Maine would ultimately achieve statehood in 1820, Maine’s split from Massachusetts was not without controversy and was not universally supported by people living in Maine. Using primary sources, students will explore the arguments for and against Maine statehood. Students will gather evidence and arguments to debate the statement: It is in the best interests of the people of Maine for Maine to become its own state.

  • Students will be able to use primary sources to describe the different arguments for and against Maine statehood.
  • Students will practice the skills involved in analyzing primary sources.
  • Students will learn how to and practice using evidence from primary sources to support a point view.

The debate exercise can be easily modified into a persuasive essay format; instead of having students debate in teams, have them take a stand on the statement/idea and compose a persuasive essay using the debate format. Teachers can also use the documents and instruct students to answer the essential questions as Document Based Questions (DBQs).

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A resource developed by the Maine Historical Society with support from the Teaching with Primary Resources grant from the Library of Congress