AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum
Re: 1790 Census Question
In Response To: Re: 1790 Census Question ()
Here is what I found about the 1790 census from the publication "Measuring America"
The first enumeration began on Monday, August 2, 1790, little more than a year after the inauguration of President Washington and shortly before the second session of the first Congress ended. The Congress assigned responsibility for the 1790 census to the marshals of the U.S. judicial districts under an act that, with minor modifications and extensions, governed census-taking through 1840. The law required that every household be visited and that completed census schedules be posted in ‘‘two of the most public places within [each jurisdiction],there to remain for the inspection of all concerned . . .’’ and that ‘‘the aggregate amount of each description of persons’’ for every district be transmitted to the President. The six inquiries in 1790 called for the name of the head of the family and the number of persons in each household of the following descriptions:
Free White males of 16 years and upward (to assess the country’s industrial and military potential), free White males under 16 years, free White females, all other free persons (by sex and color), and slaves.
It is presumed that the Secretary of State (Thomas Jefferson), acting under the authority of the President, sent the marshals within each state, copies of the census act, and the required inquiries10. The marshals then incorporated these inquiries into ‘‘schedules’’ of their own design.
So it looks like for the 1790 census, the AOFP column was for anyone not white and not a slave. It's been years since I used to go onto Native American chats (like 1994, 1995, 1996), but I remember them talking about how back then it was assumed that if a Native American was listed on the census then, they were assimilated or as it says in 1860 "renounced tribal rule". But I don't think the actual instructions for 1790 still exist other than what is in the "Measuring America" publication (which comes from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce and the Census Bureau).
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