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Counting AmericansHow the US Census Classified the Nation$
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Paul Schor

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199917853

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199917853.001.0001

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Census Data for 1850 and 1860 and the Defeat of the South

Census Data for 1850 and 1860 and the Defeat of the South

(p.66) 7 Census Data for 1850 and 1860 and the Defeat of the South
Counting Americans

Paul Schor

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses how census data for 1850 and 1860 contributed to the military defeat of the South in the Civil War. For instance, the main innovation of the 1860 census was the cartographic presentation of the data. The agents of the Census Office reported the results of the 1860 census on existing maps of southern postal routes, county by county. Thus, northern generals gained access to data on cultivated acres, the numbers of horses and mules, and the quantities of wheat, corn, oats, or other crops, as well as on the numbers of whites, free blacks, and slaves in each county. The data of the 1850 and 1860 censuses on slaves and free blacks also played a central role in the polemics between slavery proponents and abolitionists.

Keywords:   American South, slavery, census data, southern postal routes, Civil War, US census

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