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Capitals and Capitols: The Places and Spaces of Mississippi's Seat of Government lesson plan


The capital of a nation as well as a state has sentimental meaning to its citizens. It is this significant status given to capitals that can cause regional conflict within a state or nation. Mississippi is no exception to these political struggles in the establishment of its state capital. Mississippi’s capital was relocated for various reasons throughout the history of the state even after the current capital of Jackson was selected in 1821.


Mississippi Studies Framework: Competencies 1, 3 and 4.


Grades 7 through 12.


Mississippi History Now article

Chalkboard/ Chalk

Overhead projector/pen

Unlined paper for maps


Notebook paper to copy charts

Art supplies for projects


On a student-created map of the state, students will locate the cities that have served as Mississippi’s capitals.

Students will determine the reasons why a specific location was chosen to serve as the state capital of Mississippi.

Students will design a project on the history of Mississippi’s capitals and capitols.


Ask class to imagine that they are establishing a new capital in the state of Mississippi. Or perhaps, the students are travelers to an uninhabited land. In the land, or the state, they must establish a capital city. Ask the class to determine what factors should be considered when establishing their capital city. Record the student responses on the chalkboard or overhead transparency. Explain to the students that throughout the history of the state of Mississippi, the capital of the state was relocated a number of times for various reason. Tell the students that today in class they will study the events that brought about the relocation of the state’s capital.



The teacher will instruct the students to skim the Mississippi History Now article and make a list of the various cities that have served as the state’s capital. Students may work alone or with a partner for this portion of the lesson.


Instruct the students to locate the cities that have served as the state’s capital on a student-created map of the state. Allow the students to share their maps with the class.


The teacher will ask student volunteers to make suggestions as to why geographically these cities may have been chosen as sites for the state’s capital.


The teacher will instruct the students to create a chart similar to the one shown below. Students should complete the information on the chart by using the Mississippi History Now article. Students should be allowed to work with partners for this portion of the lesson.

Capitals and Capitols of Mississippi



Reason for Selection

Government meeting site






































Place a copy of the chart on the chalkboard or on an overhead transparency. Ask for the student groups to share answers from their charts. The teacher can record their answers on the chalkboard or overhead. After the information has been recorded on the chart, ask the students to draw conclusions or generalizations about the issues that influenced Mississippi’s choice for capital cities.


Allow the students to work in groups to create a project that might be displayed in the Old Capitol Museum that honors an event related to the history of Mississippi’s capitals and capitols. Allow the students to choose one of the following types of exhibits: video, model or display.


The teacher will allow the students to share their projects with the class.



Allow the students to take a field trip to the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson to see the exhibit on the history of the state’s capitals and capitols.


Allow the students to research the styles of architecture used to design the capitol buildings of Mississippi. Discuss with the students the symbolism of architecture.

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