By K. Levitan
The British census performs an unquestioned function in governance at the present time, and the new digitization of 19th century census information has allowed hundreds of thousands of beginner researchers to imagine their nationwide and familial earlier. This learn tells the tangled tale of the way the census took form over the early many years of its life, constructing from an easy counting of families in the course of the Napoleonic Wars right into a centralized venture that concerned the governmental and highbrow luminaries of Victorian Britain. alongside the way in which, the census intertwined with the urgent questions of the day, together with Malthusianism, industrialization, political illustration, Irish immigration, women’s employment, copy, and empire. The e-book explores the hotly disputed strategy in which the census was once created and constructed and examines how a large solid of characters, together with statisticians, novelists, nationwide and native officers, political and social reformers, and newshounds answered to and used the belief of a census. It exhibits that the act of describing British society in statistical phrases used to be additionally an act of contestation.
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Additional resources for A Cultural History of the British Census: Envisioning the Multitude in the Nineteenth Century (Palgrave Studies in Cultural and Intellectual History)
95 Moreover, a general consensus among census administrators was that “as Inquiry cannot be infinite, prudence must confine it to the most promising facts,” for “the more Questions you put . . 1 Census form and instructions distributed to each household in 1861, from Census of England and Wales for the Year 1861: General Report, Vol. III (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1863), 75–76. ” 98 Yet this conflict between Rickman and the statisticians of the 1830s is also indicative of a larger political division.
60 The statisticians of the 1830s assumed that legislators would be among the first to benefit from the data that they were collecting and organizing, but that they were not the only ones who would find them of interest. ”62 The surveys of the statistical societies focused on a few pressing issues such as education, the conditions of the urban poor, and crime. 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.
The information supplied was about the community as a whole, and provided no details about individuals. This meant that in a small community where the enumerator knew all of the inhabitants, he may have been able to fill out the form without requesting any information directly, and many people would likely have remained unaware that the census was being carried out. 33 The numbers of marriages were also listed for every year from 1754 (when Hardwicke’s Marriage Act made the registration of marriages in England and Wales a law) until 1800.
A Cultural History of the British Census: Envisioning the Multitude in the Nineteenth Century (Palgrave Studies in Cultural and Intellectual History) by K. Levitan