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Situated in the deep south, the state of Mississippi, nicknamed "The Magnolia State," gets its name from the Mississippi River, which is the state's western boundary. It was settled by the French in 1699 and deeded to the British after the Seven Years' War. After much strife, it joined the Union in 1817, making it the 20th state in the Union. Its capital is Jackson, named in honor of President Andrew Jackson, the founder of Jacksonian democracy, which held sway over Mississippi for decades. By 1820, more than 450 slaves had been freed in Mississippi, and the state restricted them greatly, with laws which mandated that they carry identification to prove they were freedmen, and which forbade their voting or carrying weapons. In 1822, plantation owners pushed through a state law making emancipation of slaves illegal except in cases which were individually manumitted by a special act of the legislature. By 1860, about 1,000 of the 437,000 blacks in Mississippi were free. During the Civil War, more than 80,000 men from Mississippi fought in battles which included the Shiloh and Vicksburg Campaigns, the Battle of Grand Gulf, the Battle of Port Gibson, and General Sherman’s march from Vicksburg to Meridian, which was meant to destroy the railroad center there and which was the prototype of his March to the Sea in Georgia. It was the last state to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment, which emancipated the slaves, holding out until 2013.

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