The Mason-Dixon Line by John Davenport

By John Davenport

Seems to be on the background of the boundary which served because the barrier among the North and the South and represented the tensions over slavery. Gettysburg, November 1863 -- plans, one position -- One position, peoples -- The surveyors -- Drawing imperial traces -- The border from the revolution to the Missouri Compromise -- Erasing the road : the crises of the 1850's -- The Mason-Dixon Line at battle -- Dixie and the misplaced reason -- Binding the wound : the Mason-Dixon Line this day

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Mason demonstrated an uncanny ability to visualize and superimpose boundaries where none existed in nature. He also revealed an obsession with recordkeeping. A patient and careful LIFE AFTER THE SURVEY Charles Mason spent the year after his departure from America engaged in even more extensive astronomical studies and striving to budget his income from the Pennsylvania-Maryland survey. In 1769, Mason observed and recorded a second transit of Venus, and he marveled at the appearance of the same comet that auspiciously marked the birth of the future French emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte.

The dispute between Pennsylvania and Maryland compromised, however slightly, the economic development of each colony. Disorder made the Indian frontier less secure and thus less attractive to new immigrants whose labor would contribute to the enrichment of the empire as a whole. Turmoil cut into profits and reduced revenue. Political instability affected trade. The imperial economy, so the thinking went, was a delicately balanced system of interconnected regional and local economies; trouble in one sector, therefore, soon spread to others.

That year, Pennsylvania assumed its position in the vanguard of liberty: The new state abolished slavery. Pennsylvania had been a hotbed of radical activity during the 1770s, and its citizens prided themselves on their revolutionary credentials. Their abolition of slavery represented a concrete attempt to realize the goals and dreams of the rebellion; it signified the fulfillment of the promise of liberty. Abolition also put Pennsylvania in the company of Massachusetts, which ended slavery the same year, and other Northern states either actively engaged in or moving toward abolition, each and every one of them located above the Mason-Dixon Line.

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