The Mason-Dixon Line

Lead: The most famous boundary in United States history originated in a eighty year dispute between two colonies.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: One of last parts of Colonial Maryland along the Chesapeake Bay to attract settlers was northeast of present day Baltimore. The soil was there heavier and not as hospitable to the growth of tobacco as in the southern reaches of the Bay. This area was good for the cultivation of wheat and corn and as trade with the hungry West Indies expanded, the area began to draw more development. Unfortunately, this brought Maryland into conflict with Pennsylvania. Lord Baltimore's charter promised Maryland land up to the fortieth parallel which in 1632 was the southern border of New England, but in the meantime the government in London had made other promises particularly to William Penn and by the 1730s it was obvious that these grants were in conflict with the Maryland charter. For instance the principal city of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, was significantly south of the fortieth parallel.