This was the first census where there was an attempt to collect information about every member of every household, including women, children, and slaves. Prior to 1850, census records had recorded only the name of the head of the household and broad statistical accounting of other household members (three children under age five, one woman between the age of 35 and 40, etc.). It was also the first census to ask about place of birth
The United States Census of 1850 was the seventh census of the United States. Conducted by the Census Office on June 1, 1850, it determined the resident population of the United States to be 23,191,876 — an increase of 35.9 percent over the 17,069,453 persons enumerated during the 1840 Census. The total population included 3,204,313 slaves.
The question concerning whether or not the individual was taxed provides the researcher with some clues to some other potential records. If the Indian either (1) was "living among white people as an individual, and as such subject to taxation," or (2) was "living with his or her tribe but has received an allotment of land, and thereby has acquired citizenship," then the answer in column 35 was to be recorded as "Yes." In the second case above, column 37 should also have "Yes" recorded in it. If the individual was living on the reservation and has a "Yes" in column 37, there should be an allotment record for that individual somewhere among the agency records for that reservation
The Supplemental American Indian questionnaire was back, but in abbreviated form. It featured a question asking if the person was of full or mixed American Indian ancestry
The Famous Census of 1930.
The biggest change in this year’s census was in racial classification. Enumerators were instructed to no longer use the "Mulatto" classification. Instead, they were given special instructions for reporting the race of interracial persons. A person with both white and black ancestry (termed "blood") was to be recorded as "Negro," no matter thefraction of that lineage (the "one-drop rule"). A person of mixed Black and American Indian ancestry was also to be recorded as "Neg" (for "Negro") unless he was considered to be "predominantly" American Indian and accepted as such within the community. A person with both White and American Indian ancestry was to be recorded as an Indian, unless his American Indian ancestry was small, and he was accepted as White within the community. In all situations in which a person had White and some other racial ancestry, he was to be reported as that other race. Persons who had minority interracial ancestry were to be reported as the race of their father.
For the first and only time, "Mexican" was listed as a race. Enumerators were instructed that all persons born in Mexico, or whose parents were born in Mexico, should be listed as Mexicans, and not under any other racial category. But, in prior censuses and in 1940, enumerators were instructed to list Mexican Americans as white.
Although many are aware that Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, heightened tensions between the North and the South, some historians argue that Hinton R. Helper’s The Impending Crisis of the South: How to Meet It played a more significant role in starting the American
Civil War. According to historian George M. Fredrickson, it can be argued convincingly that Helper’s 1857 publication was “the most important single book, in terms of its political impact, that has
ever been published in the United States.” The Republican Party used it as a campaign document in the 1860 election and incorporated its message within its platform.
The Impending Crisis called for the abolition of slavery and the modernization of the South. Helper argued that slavery was the biggest obstacle to Southern economic growth. The peculiar institution, he claimed, made the South’s population poor, ignorant, and superstitious, and he encouraged nonslaveholding whites to look out for their interests. (Helper was the only Southern intellectual to conceptualize nonslaveholders as a distinct class.)
Slave ownership made the elite downplay the importance and respectability of manual labor. Nonslaveholding whites were only one small step above the slave, Helper pointed out. Slaveowners had duped nonslaveholding whites into believing that the peculiar institution benefited them. In a century or two after slavery’s abolition, Helper predicted that the South would emerge as one of the greatest, cosmopolitan civilizations “that ha[d] ever lived.” “Whence their ancestors may come, whether from Europe, from Asia, from Africa, from Oceania, from North or South America, or from the islands of the sea, or whatever honorable vocation they may now be engaged in, matters nothing at all.”
(The People v. Hall, Oct. 1, 1854, as cited in Forbes, 1993, p.65).
hword “Black” may include all
Negroes, but the term “Negro” does not include all
Black persons...We are of the opinion that the words “White”, “Negro”, “Mulatto”, and
“Black person”, whenever they occur in our constitution...must be taken in their generic
sense...that the words “Black person”, in the 14th section must be taken as contra
distinguished from White, and necessarily includes all races other than the Caucasian
|THE PEOPLE, RESPONDENT, v. GEORGE W. HALL, APPELLANT. Supreme Court of the State of California, 1854.|
|Mr. Ch. J. Murray delivered the opinion of the Court. Mr. J. Heydenfeldt concurred.
The appellant, a free white citizen of this State, was convicted of murder upon the testimony of Chinese witnesses.
The point involved in this case is the admissibility of such evidence.
The 394th section of the Act Concerning Civil Cases provides that no Indian or Negro shall be allowed to testify as a witness in any action or proceeding in which a white person is a party.
The 14th section of the Act of April 16th, 1850, regulating Criminal Proceedings, provides that "No black or mulatto person, or Indian, shall be allowed to give evidence in favor of, or against a white man."
The true point at which we are anxious to arrive is, the legal signification of the words, "black, mulatto, Indian, and white person, " and whether the Legislature adopted them as generic terms, or intended to limit their application to specific types of the human species. . . .
The Act of Congress, in defining that description of aliens may become naturalized citizens, provides that every "free white citizen," etc. . .
If the term "white," as used in the Constitution, was not understood in its generic sense as including the Caucasian race, and necessarily excluding all others, where was the necessary of providing for the admission of Indians to the privilege of voting, by special legislation?
We are of the opinion that the words "white," "Negro," "mulatto," "Indian," and "black person," wherever they occur in our Constitution and laws, must be taken in their generic sense, and that, even admitting the Indian of this continent is not of the Mongolian type, that the words "black person," in the 14th section, must be taken as contradistinguished from white, and necessary excludes all races other than the Caucasian.
We have carefully considered all the consequences resulting from a different rule of construction, and are satisfied that even in a doubtful case, we would be impelled to this decision on ground of public policy.
The same rule which would admit them to testify, would admit them to all the equal rights of citizenship, and we might soon see them at the polls, in the jury box, upon the bench, and in our legislative halls.
This is not a speculation which exists in the excited and overheated imagination of the patriot and statesman, but it is an actual and present danger.
The anomalous spectacle of a distinct people, living in our community, recognizing no laws of this State, except through necessity, bringing with them their prejudices and national feuds, in which they indulge in open violation of law; whose medacity is proverbial; a race of people whom nature has marked as inferior, and who are incapable of progress or intellectual development beyond a certain point, as their history has shown; differing in language, opinions, color, and physical conformation; between whom and ourselves nature has placed an impassable difference, is now presented, and for them is claims, not only the right to swear away the life of a citizen, but the further privilege of participating with us in administering the affairs of our Government.
These facts were before the Legislature that framed this Act, and have been known as matters of public history to every subsequent Legislature.
There can be no doubt as to the intention of Legislature, and that if it had ever been anticipated that this class of people were not embraced in the prohibition, then such specific words would have been employed as would have put the matter beyond any possible controversy.
For these reasons, we are of opinion that the testimony was inadmissible.
The judgment is reversed and the cause remanded.