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The Mason Dixon-Line: Stories Behind a Geographic Boundary
A Lecture & Discussion for General Audiences and High Schools
Born as the result of a bitter territorial dispute over royal land grants, the Mason-Dixon Line was surveyed between 1763 and 1767 to settle the boundaries for Pennsylvania and Maryland. After 1820, when the Missouri Compromise created political conditions which made the line important to the history of slavery, it became associated with the division between the free and slave states. Today the line is still seen by many as a symbolic dividing line for regional attitudes and customs. This program explores the story of the line, which runs through our land and our history, along with the perceptions that have developed about the boundary.


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Program Focus

For General Audiences - About 1 hour - Program is customized to meet audience interest by concentrating on desired topics).

For High Schools - 1 to 2 hours - will be customized to the grade level, with case studies and maps

Talking Points

(can be customized to fit interest of particular audiences)

1. The Boundary Controversey
2. Boundary Wars
3. King George Orders a Settlement
4. Laying the Line
5. The Englishmen
6. The End of the Restless Period in America
7. Crossing the Line
8. The Missouri Compromise
9. Slavery & Free Soil States
10. Freedom Just Over the Line
11. Jim Crow
12. Seperate but Equal on the Mason-Dixon Line
13. Legacy
14. The Line in Music, Movies & Culture
15. Modern Day Perceptions
16. Discussion
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