University of North Texas Slave and Free Territories Discussion

By this time in the semester, you should be aware that slavery was one of the most divisive issues in American history by the 1820s.  On page 193 in your textbook, there is a map that illustrates free states and territories and slave states and territories.  “Free states and territories” means that slavery was not legal while “slave states and territories” indicates that slavery was legal. As the United States expanded westward, there developed, piecemeal as it turned out, a boundary between slave and free areas.  With the adoption of the Missouri Compromise in 1820, the third part of that line was added to the other two that already existed.  The map on page 193 shows the line that was added in 1820 as part of the boundary between slave and free areas in the United States.

For this assignment you must identify the other two parts of the boundary line that existed between slave and free territories in the United States.  The red line on the map on page 193 was the third segment of the line.  What were the other two segments and when were they added to the line that became the boundary between slave and free states and territories in the United States?  Both of those line segments are mentioned in the textbook section on the Missouri Compromise.  (You need considerably more information than what is mentioned in that section of the textbook for your answer to this assignment.)

One final thought that might help you.  Boundary lines are not necessarily nice, straight lines.  Sometimes they are but other times they are not.  Part of the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma is the Red River which is certainly not a straight line.


The other two parts that make up the boundary line along with the Missouri Compromise include:

  • The Ohio River
  • The Mason-Dixon Line

Combining those three parts together they established where the states split up and become what is considered North (Free State/Union) and the South (Slave State/Confederate).

The Mason-Dixon line was created on October 18, 1967. While the Ohio River was added to the Mason-Dixon line as part of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Then once the Missouri Compromise was created in 1820 it added onto the line, finally completing the proper line that separates the Northern and Southern states from each other.

How the Mason-Dixon line was established is by two Englishmen named Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon had to define the long-disputed boundaries of the overlapping land grants of the Penns, proprietors of Pennsylvania, and the Calverts, proprietors of Maryland. The line spreading across Maryland and Pennsylvania then they combined them with the Ohio River to make the first two segments of the boundary.