Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Census for Your Thoughts

Early US leadership put many Enlightenment ideals into practice. One major Enlightenment ideal was to become more rational, using scientific methods where possible, becoming pragmatic and visionary at the same time. The census was a case in point and is built into the US Constitution. Prior to the development of the democratic republic, with its built-in representative election schedules at local, state and national levels, the need for accurate population statistics was not considered quite as crucial from the perspective of, say, a king, who was for most practical purposes satisfied with an estimate. The problem with estimates, though, is that they may be off-kilter, and often were, once actual counts were attempted. 

True to Enlightenment ideals, the implementation of the US census was clever, practical and visionary. In retrospect, the US census is also of great help to historians, providing useful social data, especially for studying certain characteristics of the "common people."

The population in 1790?
About 3.9 million.
In 2010?
About 308.8 million, including more than 3.9 million with significant Native American ancestry.

For any of those conservative fantasists who think the US can roll the grandfather clock back to 1790, they may want to think again. There is no going back. Feel free to look back all you want, though.

Today's Rune: Harvest.    

No comments: