Without question, Sarah Anne Ellis Dorsey was one of the most intellectually gifted women of Mississippi. With considerable aplomb, she dealt as best she could with the emotional tensions arising from her lifelong compulsion to balance the conventional female role of the plantation South with a more rigorous life of the mind. Her heart and soul refused to submit to all the repressive demands that held women in a virtual prison, called hearth and home. But finding a proper balance between these polarities in the 19th century was scarcely easy.
Joining the United States, 1799–1832
“Build me straight, O worthy Master!
Stanch and strong, a goodly vessel,
That shall laugh at all disaster
And with wave and whirlwind wrestle!”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The study of historic architectural styles provides us a unique way to learn how our ancestors lived and worked, how and what they built, and what they thought about themselves and their society as expressed in their buildings. Mississippi has a wide variety of architectural styles. Here is an overview of them.
Studying the architecture of the communities in our state can reveal new insights into our history and culture. Using examples of a log cabin and a more ornate Federal style house, students can easily draw conclusions about differences in ways of living. This lesson will encourage further investigation of a variety of architectural styles used throughout the state’s history and a consideration of how our buildings reflect who we are and the realities of our world from one time period to another.
Washington, Mississippi, provided the stage in the early 19th century for extraordinary historical events: In 1801 it became the capital of the Mississippi Territory; in 1811, Jefferson College, the only chartered educational institution prior to the statehood of Mississippi opened there; and in 1817, Mississippi’s state constitution was drafted there in a small Methodist Church, which later became part of Jefferson College.
Jefferson College, Mississippi’s first institute of higher learning, opened in 1811. The site chosen for the establishment of this now historic school was Washington, the capital of the Mississippi Territory. Over its one-hundred-and-fifty-three-year history as an institute of learning, Jefferson College struggled with lack of financial support and student enrollment. Even though the school was forced to close in 1964, Jefferson College continues its legacy of learning through its museum, buildings, and grounds.
The land that became the state of Mississippi had been claimed by European powers for nearly a century prior to it first coming under American jurisdiction. Between the late 1600s and the late 1700s, France, Great Britain, and Spain each established extensions of their respective colonial empires within the region. During these efforts they attempted to form political, military, and economic alliances with the area’s original inhabitants, including the Choctaw and Chickasaw peoples and numerous smaller tribal entities.
Ask people to define “geography,” and most of them will initially say it is location — where a place is. The “where” is certainly central to geography, and with tools such as maps and global positioning technology, geography is the subject best equipped to address a question about location. However, a simple exercise will illustrate that geography is much more than just location.
The geography of an area is what makes a location unique and distinguishes it from any other place. With its beaches, Spanish moss, magnolias, white-tailed deer, and the great Mississippi River, Mississippi is unique and rich in natural beauty. Along with this natural beauty, a distinct way of life that is rich in history and a culture deeply rooted in the diversity of its people can be found here in the Magnolia State. It is this human and physical geography that makes Mississippi distinguishable from the other forty-nine U.S. states.
When Mississippi became a United States territory in 1798, its first government was made up of a territorial governor, a secretary to the governor, and three judges. Washington, Mississippi, served as the territorial capital. That is where the first Mississippi Constitution was drafted and sent to the United States Congress for the territory’s admittance in the Union as a state. On December 10, 1817, Mississippi became the twentieth state, and since then, Mississippi’s citizens and officials shaped state government into what it is today.
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