Mason-Dixon Line

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Mason-Dixon Line,

boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland (running between lat. 39°43'26.3"N and lat. 39°43'17.6"N), surveyed by the English team of Charles Mason, a mathematician and astronomer, and Jeremiah Dixon, a mathematician and land surveyor, between 1763 and 1767. The ambiguous description of the boundaries in the Maryland and Pennsylvania charters led to a protracted disagreement between the proprietors of the two colonies, the Penns of Pennsylvania and the Calverts of Maryland. The dispute was submitted to the English court of chancery in 1735. A compromise between two families in 1760 resulted in the appointment of Mason and Dixon. By 1767 the surveyors had run their line 244 mi (393 km) west from the Delaware border, every fifth milestone bearing the Penn and Calvert arms. The survey was completed to the western limit of Maryland in 1773; in 1779 the line was extended to mark the southern boundary of Pennsylvania with Virginia (present-day West Virginia). Before the Civil War the term "Mason-Dixon Line" popularly designated the boundary dividing the slave states from the free states, and it is still used to distinguish the South from the North.

Bibliography

See study by E. Danson (2001).

Mason-Dixon Line

boundary between Pennsylvania and Mary-land that came to divide the slave (southern) states from the free (northern) states. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 1714]
References in periodicals archive ?
It is another feather in the cap of the whole nation, not just that part below the mythical Mason Dixon line that some believes exists.
At the time, there was no black-owned commercial bank north of the Mason Dixon line. The last black bank in Philadelphia, Citizens & Southern Bank & Trust, had closed its doors 36 years earlier.
The American facility has recently moved into a new purpose built factory on the Mason Dixon line in Pennsylvania USA.
But later this week an exhibition on Jeremiah opens at the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, County Durham, to mark the 250th anniversary of the start of work on the Mason Dixon Line. It will run until October.

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