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Maine History Online

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Liberty Threatened: Maine in 1775

Text by Candace Kanes

Images from Maine Historical Society

American colonists had struggled at least since 1763, the end of the Seven Years' War, with British regulations and taxes that they found unfair. The conflicts escalated, especially in Massachusetts (of which Maine was a part) until the Revolution began on April 19, 1775.

In Maine, some colonists also demanded that residents comply with the embargo of British goods. Disputes then arose between patriots and loyalists, the latter group siding with the British government.

In 1775, conflict erupted in Machias and Falmouth (Portland). In addition, Benedict Arnold and his troops marched through Maine on their way to Quebec, leaving a legacy of a failed mission to drive the British out of the north.

Many more Mainers would become involved in the war after these opening battles, but the events of 1775 helped make clear what some of the pressures would be in Maine and on Maine people.