Mason Dixon Line

Diving into America’s history and unraveling a story is not as easy as it sounds. Stories are not just stories, they are tales of sweat and blood of men and women, of bloodshed and milestones crossed, things which are done by ordinary and extraordinary people. All these things come up together to make up a story. If the story in question is in fact, verity, then we call it history. History is as rich with spellbinding stories as the mother earth’s core is abundant with minerals. To come out with just one story out of history is, if not a herculean task, quite a tough assignment. So, let’s divert our attention from the narratives we have heard before and seen on telly, let’s find out something which is quite close to all of us and yet we are unaware about it. So join me to know about the famous and forgotten boundary which figuratively divided the slave states and the non slave states of USA. The Mason Dixon Line is just what we are talking about. A story of years of dispute over land and toiling labor of two men spanned around this Mason Dixon Line.

What is Mason Dixon Line?

Before heading down to know more on history about Mason Dixon, it would be wise to get our geographical facts clear on the Mason Dixon Line location. Originally, Mason Dixon Line was east-west to the Southern borders of Pennsylvania and lied north-south to the borders of Maryland and Delaware. Now years later, past the years of slavery, civil war and independence, this famed line of dispute still stands albeit crumbling and forgotten.

Turning the pages of history, we can easily come to know that one of the significant differences on which lives were laid and battles fought was on the difference between the color of skin. In the American Civil War era, the freedom of slaves created a feeling of trepidation among the southern states and this line came to be known as a symbolic division between freedom and slavery, between pro-slavery states and northern states which were up in arms against slavery. Even though, such is the lineage of this boundary, the actual story behind its making goes further than this, to the times of two elite family, Calvert and Penn who fought tooth and nail for capturing the contended land of Maryland and Pennsylvania. King Charles I of England accorded the land of Maryland to George Calvert in 1632, however the land which was known as Pennsylvania later was given to William Penn by King Charles II, 50 years later in 1682.

In the good old times of colonies, a disputed land meant nothing but war, and as there was some confusion over the boundaries of these colonies, both the families expressed vexation in this matter. Finally, this dispute reached the Courtroom of the Chief Justice of England, and thus, a compromise was agreed upon. The job of establishing a line between these states was thrust on the capable shoulders of two men. Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, two unknown figures imprinted their marks in the annals of American history when they set out to live up to this tall order. These two Englishmen, one a land surveyor (Mason) and another an astronomer (Dixon), were equipped with just astronomical and land surveying tools. They took the help of celestial angles to build up a short wall of limes stone. The lime stone boulders were quarried in Great Britain and shipped all the way to America for the very purpose of constructing this wall. Building the 233 mile of boundary wall of Mason Dixon Line began in 1763 and it took the duo almost four years to achieve the end goal. These four years were not easy for them as they strenuously fought against unfavorable terrain and hostile Native Americans. In the year of 1767, this line of dispute came to be standing as the Mason Dixon Line.

Again after some 50 years or so, the Mason Dixon Line grabbed the public eye when the great debate over slavery raged on during Missouri Compromise of 1820. As a result, the line became an epitome of conflict of states over slave-holding in USA in the early independence era.