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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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From Slavery to Freedom

From Slavery to Freedom

The Future of the Black Race or Racial Mixing as Degeneration

Chapter:
(p.88) 9 From Slavery to Freedom
Source:
Counting Americans
Author(s):

Paul Schor

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199917853.003.0010

This chapter discusses changes introduced by three Reconstruction-era amendments and their consequences for the census. These amendments include the suppression of slavery by the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865; the redefinition of American citizenship at the federal and state levels by the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868; and guaranteeing black men’s right to vote under the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870. These amendments had two major consequences for the census: on the one hand, the end of the Three-Fifths Compromise; on the other, the development of the census itself into the instrument of control and sanction of the limitation of former slaves’ right to vote. The 1870 census thus had to measure with much difficulty both the distribution of the population for the apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives and the enforcement of these amendments. States where the voting rights of blacks were denied would see their representation diminished accordingly.

Keywords:   Reconstruction era, blacks, right to vote, slavery, Thirteenth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Fifteenth Amendment, 1870 census, US census

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