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A New Nation

The Census

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

     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

             A New Nation

United States
             United States

    American Government  
    Black History and Blacks in U.S. History  
    Children in History  
    Government Careers  
    Hispanic Heritage  
    How Can I Help?  
    National Parks and Monuments  
    Native Americans  
    Presidents of the United States  
    Women's History  

United States History
    A Nation Divided
    A New Nation
    After the Civil War
    American Revolution  
    Cold War
    Colonial America (1492-1776)  
    Lewis and Clark
    Pearl Harbor  
    Spanish American War (1898)  
    The 1890's  
    The 1900's  
    The 1910's  
    The 1920's  
    The 1930's  
    The 1940's  
    The 1950's  
    The 1960's  
    The 1970's  
    The 1980's  
    The 1990's  
    The 2000's  
    The Civil War
    The Great Depression
    The United States Grows
    The War of 1812  
    Wild, Wild West  
    World War I
    World War II  

50 States

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