By Kathrin Levitan (auth.)
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Additional resources for A Cultural History of the British Census: Envisioning the Multitude in the Nineteenth Century
The societies also reported on foreign statistics and censuses. ”63 McCulloch, in fact, saw one of the prime benefits of the census to be its ability to answer controversial questions. ”66 Despite their claims of neutrality, however, the statisticians were moralists as well, and they arrived on the scene just as the heated debate over the “condition of England” was taking off. ”67 The Journal of the Statistical Society of London declared in 1839 that when the system of registration shall have been perfected .
The census as the basis for other statistical investigations was also a recurring theme. Finally, the census could not have been conceptualized or administered in the way that it was without an understanding of population as the central element in the power of the nation. 28 The census of 1801 was the first attempt to systematically describe this population as a united whole. 29 It did not take long before the “people” recognized their role and stake in this process. Members of the government and the general public worked to change and expand the census over the course of the nineteenth century.
11 In every way, then, a census was an insult to and an infringement on the individual liberties of the British gentleman. The second half of the eighteenth century, however, saw an increased interest in statistics. 13 The individuals most interested in political arithmetic were no longer tied to the government, and were in fact primarily religiously nonconformist intellectuals who were influenced by Enlightenment notions of economic and political liberty. These people, including the dissenting minister Richard Price, believed that the government’s growing authority needed to be checked.
A Cultural History of the British Census: Envisioning the Multitude in the Nineteenth Century by Kathrin Levitan (auth.)