Was the Aroostook War of Maine in 1842 a joke or was something else more serious going on? 

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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What has been called the Aroostook War of Maine was a hostile dispute between England and Maine, a confrontation (sometimes referred to as the Pork and Beans War in historical reviews) that concerned the international boundary between the state of Maine and the British colony of New Brunswick. This international incident established the final boundary between the U.S. and England's possessions. Thus, a crucial military connection between Canada and the Atlantic colonies was secured for Britain along with plans for a commercial right of way that would permit British commercial interests to traverse Maine in passage to and from the southern part of Nova Scotia. This passage is still in use today by both Canadian and American railways.

Because there was no actual military confrontation, negotiations were conducted between Baron Ashburton and American Secretary of State Daniel Webster, who prior to his meeting with Ashburton initiated a campaign in order to convince Maine's leaders of the wisdom of the compromise. After this agreement was reached between Maine and Great Britain, the Federal Government no longer allowed any state to send out its militia; instead federal troops were engaged if needed.

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