Friday, March 04, 2022

The Mason-Dixon Line, Past And Present

By William Haupt III | Tennessee Watchdog Journalist, Columnist, Author, and Citizen Legislator

Image Credit: Jimmy Emerson, DVM / CC

“The Mason-Dixon Line has been a state border, a cause of a Civil War, and a political and cultural divide. Today it is the symbolic frontier that is protecting patriotism from wokeism.” - William Howard  

Surveyors have left their mark on American history. George Washington began his career as a surveyor and wound up the 1st president of the U.S. In 1760 Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon choreographed their geographic skills to mediate a dispute between Maryland and Pennsylvania. Little did they know that the Mason-Dixon Line would become an iconic part of American history. 

 The history of the Mason-Dixon Line is significant and colorful, but many delusions remain why it was created, and what it created. Over the years it has enforced political and social isolationism, sectional separatism, dividing one culture from another and good guys from bad guys. Few know the real history of this mythical line and what it’s been and not been and “what it stands for today.”      

In 1760 when Mason and Dixon were hired to set borders for Maryland and Pennsylvania this had little significance. It was later extended to West Virginia. But it was not noteworthy until 1820 when the 36°30 parallel was chosen as the radius that defined the logistics of the Missouri Compromise. 

The Mason-Dixon Line was not connected to slavery until 1820 when it marked prospective slave and non-slave states west of the Mississippi River and north of this parallel within Missouri. The Missouri Compromise divided Missouri to satisfy those who owned slaves and those that did not.   

It is a delusion that slavery did not exist north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Woke historians pontificate slavery is a Southern institution. Yet, 18th century New England had a notorious history of slavery dating back to 1619 when Dutch ships sold slaves to British colonies in Virginia and Jamestown.

Ships carried sugar and molasses from the Caribbean to New England and made it into rum. It was then shipped to Africa and traded for slaves. By the mid-1800s buying and selling of slaves was the biggest and most profitable industry in New England. Rhode Island was the hub of this evil industry.  

There was no Mason-Dixon Line before 1760 when slaves were imported and traded in the North–not the South. Historians note that the North was not only the entry point for most slaves, but many remained in New England and worked as domestics for some of these colonies most elite families. 

In Joe Biden’s state of Delaware, north of the Mason-Dixon Line, slavery flourished until the end of the Civil War. Delaware did not join the Confederacy, but they continued to pass new laws limiting the rights of black citizens. They were notorious bounty hunters that profited from runaway slaves.

It was not the Mason-Dixon Line, or a moral right verse a moral wrong, but competitive labor that forced Congress to ban slavery. By mid-1800 the North was more mercantile and the South more agrarian. The North needed cheap raw materials from the South. But as the South refined its own industries the Mason-Dixon Line was a symbolic threat to the North due to Southern competition. 

Almost all institutional slavery within societies with cultural social order had condemned slavery in civilized countries by the end of our Civil War. Although the Civil War ended the inhuman, uncivil practice of legalized slavery in America, it never erased the significance of the Mason-Dixon Line.

After the Civil War, the Mason-Dixon Line was a marker used by Segregationist Democrat Andrew Johnson during Reconstruction. He not only allowed former Confederate states to pass Jim Crow laws that disenfranchised blacks, he allowed slavery to be replaced with segregation. Contrary to woke myth, Johnson allowed segregation to take roots north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

During the Great Migration of the mid 1900s, six million blacks moved north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Many reported segregation was just as evil there. It was Segregationist Democrats, not the Mason-Dixon Line that supported segregation. Joe Biden’s fierce opposition to school busing to integrate schools reveals how many of the Democrats north of Mason-Dixon fought desegregation.

From the end of the Civil War, through Reconstruction to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Segregationist Democrats controlled the South. The Mason-Dixon Line was the allegorical barrier for segregation. Yet segregation existed in states throughout the U.S. in different forms in the North and the South. 

The Mason-Dixon Line was never sacred to the South. It was a line in the sand drawn by Congress that they respected. But this symbolic parallel has been a weapon by the North to cast aspersions against Southern culture, religious values and political ideologies. Forever and a day it has been a mythical barricade to “shelter pseudo Northern sophistication from crude Southern contamination.” 

This enigmatical line continues to serve as a political and cultural boundary that defines differences in socio-political ideology between the North and South. Without discrimination towards race, class or gender, today it defines the regional strengths of the South; its culture, religious dogma, law and order, family values, respect for guns and marriage, its conservative politics and its elite patriotism.

At a time when atonement and socio-political virtue overshadows our past sins, there is no need to victimize one group to celebrate another. No truth needs to be encoded in fiction to be dissertated. 

A line to settle a property dispute morphed into a barrier dividing a nation in 1820. It marked a dark time with the Missouri Compromise. And for decades it unjustly branded and discredited the South. 

At one time the Mason-Dixon Line was nothing more than a line embellished by Congress that the South respected. But with increased mass trans-American migration from the progressive Northern states to the protective confines of the South, the 36°30 parallel is no longer just coordinates on a map. It’s now the “first line of defense” for the South to protect itself from “leftugee” contamination.

Without a doubt, this diachronic declaration will always occupy an important position in the annals of our nation’s history. No other geographical line will ever play a more distinctive role in defining our regional and cultural differences. The political pride and geographic protection it once served the North, it now vital to the New South, for social, cultural and political protection from the North.  

The Mason-Dixon Line has responded to political and social evolution in purpose and in definition. Just as our past indiscretions have been rectified and atoned, the economic and social progress in the “New South” has brought a new status to the Mason-Dixon Line. Today this historic allegorical line is the South’s most celebrated icon that protects its Arcadian Promised Land of milk and honey from Northern woke progressivism.

“In the North, patriotism is considered a matter of choice. For anyone born in the South, patriotism is not a matter of choice. It is a way of life.” -Alice McKee