“SIEGE: At The State House” by Mac Smith; A Spooky Story of Political Lust for Power in Augusta


SIEGE: At The State House, by MacSmith, in Paperback, Published by DownEast Books in 2022.  It is Held by the Wicked Witch at Bayview Heights, Portland.

This book haunts this blogger because it is the first edition of a torrent of books already in print about attempts by criminals to turn our democracy into an autocractic government,  unfortunately.  SIEGE:  At the State House, by Mac Smith. is the richly detailed account of an effort by a group of Maine politicians back in 1879 to prevent the ruling Republican politicians in Augusta from regaining power at the State House following the tumultous years of the Civil War..

The detailed plot was hatched behind closed doors all over the state with promises of a revolution to come.  At the core of the plot was a complex ballot tampering scheme – replacing ballots judged to be fraudulent with illegal ballots. When the insurrectionists try to take over the State House in Augusta, Maine’s  Civil War Hero Joshua Chamberlain stands on its doorsteps. He tells the mob they will have to kill him before they can take over the State House.    They back down.  No one wants to kill Maine’s Civil War hero.  If it weren’t for Chamnberlain’s courage, the outcome could have been very different – resulting in a Civil War in Augusta.  Regretably, none of Trump’s political base or dear leader himself had the courage to tell the insecurectionists to back off.  Where was our Chamberlain when we needed him?

The story of the failed coup effort is very detailed – much more than this blogger needed to know – but perhaps it will quench the thirst of history buffs who seek much more detail than this blogger.  A much better knowledge of and interest in the demographics  of this large state would be hellpful to someone considering reading this history.  This blogger was lost much of the time somewhere in upstate Maine with no knowledge or curiousity about  some of the political forces driving this attempted coup.  This despite several readings of SIEGE.

It was a relief for this reader to arrive at the appendix of the book that clarified perhaps the justification for the publishing of this book:    “The people to blame for the siege at the State House……would spend the rest of their lives in the shadow of that infamy.  Because their crime had national consequences, the events of the siege were known throughout the country, as were the names of the men responsible.  Most of them left politicics and a few fled the state, but the stain would follow them throughout their lives.”

Oh how normals yearn for a return to the recent past where the crazies and nut jobs were not the new normal!