Return of the Whole Number of Persons within the Several Districts of the United States: According to "An Act Providing for the Second Census or Enumeration of the Inhabitants of the United States," passed February the Twenty Eighth, One Thousand Eight Hundred
Washington: 1802. 8vo. -88pp. plus folding table.
Contemporary marbled paper covered boards, rebacked with calf
The second American Census.
The octavo edition of the complete returns of the second American census (the first to be printed by official order), following the very rare folio edition of the previous year. When the delegates of the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia in 1787, the population of America was a great unknown. Aside from the expected reduction in the male population due to the recent war, hoards of Loyalists had fled to Canada, while throughout the 1780s large numbers of families sought new opportunities in the frontier along the Ohio. These dramatic shifts, combined with a known but unquantified increase in the number of births per annum, created a definite need for some sort of official count. Under Madison's leadership six categories were determined for the first American census of 1790: heads of family, free white males over sixteen, free white males under sixteen, free white females, other free persons, and slaves. Despite the usual hesitancy of the people to offer such personal information to government officials, the effort was a resounding success; but due to rapid growth and increased contact with Indians, it was clear that the next census would require even more statistical enumeration. In early 1800, Congress passed an act mandating a new census. The present effort contains a new layer of schedules, including places of residence, new age group brackets for free white males and females, and, most importantly, the qualification that untaxed Indians be left off the roll of "other free persons." All of the states are represented, as well as the aforementioned territories and other regions such as the eastern and western districts of Pennsylvania and Virginia, and the District of Columbia, here noted as part of Virginia. Such luminaries as Thomas Jefferson and Timothy Dwight of Yale called for even more specific information such as economic standing, occupation, and distinctions between immigrant and natural-born free people; but Congress, for now, ignored their appeals. The total population, with corrections, is given as just over 5.3 million. A most important record of the growth of the United States, at a key moment in the history of American demography.
Howes R221; Sabin 70147; Evans 3442; Sowerby, Jefferson's Library 3289; Anderson, The American Census, pp.14-23; Cassedy, Demography in Early America, pp.206-42; Reese, Federal Hundred 88.