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A New Nation
(1776-1830)

The Census



The Census
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.95

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    statehood, assured, census, Archeologists, representation, confidential, military, extensive, social, colonist, government, based, public, zero, citizen, tally
     content words:    United States, Revolutionary War, Our Founding Fathers


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The Census
By Jane Runyon
  

1     If the year ends in a zero, you can count on a census being taken in the United States. A census is a count of the number of people living in a certain area. In the days of history when Rome ruled much of the world, a census was used to tax the people. Archeologists have found evidence that censuses were taken as far back as 3000 B.C. So, why do we need a census today? And how did they begin in the colonies?
 
2     The British used a census as early as the 1600s in the Virginia colony. They used the number of people they counted to decide how much they should tax each colonist. Before a new area of land was added to the colonies, a census was taken. Much later, it was decided that an area needed to have a population of 60,000 before it could apply for statehood.
 
3     After the Revolutionary War, a new government was formed for the United States of America. The Constitution declared that the number of members in the House of Representatives would be based on the population of a state. The country had just finished a long war. The government had accumulated a large debt because of that war. Someone needed to pay those debts. Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution placed the responsibility for the war debts with the states depending upon their population. It was decided that an extensive census needed to be taken. Our Founding Fathers were pretty smart. None of the states wanted to have to pay a lot of money for the debts. That would be a reason not to report a large population. On the other hand, all of the states wanted to have the largest representation they could in the House of Representatives. That was a good reason to report everyone they could. By combining these two items, it assured the fact that states would report their number of people accurately.

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A New Nation
(1776-1830)

             A New Nation
(1776-1830)



United States
             United States


    American Government  
 
    Black History and Blacks in U.S. History  
 
    Children in History  
 
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    How Can I Help?  
 
 
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    Native Americans  
 
    Presidents of the United States  
 
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United States History
    A Nation Divided
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    A New Nation
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    The Great Depression
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(1865-1900)
 
 
    The War of 1812  
 
    Wild, Wild West  
 
    World War I
(1914-1918)
 
 
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