View original document

The full text on this page is automatically extracted from the file linked above and may contain errors and inconsistencies.

Historical Inquiry with
The Statistical Atlas of the United States (1870)
State Population Chart
About the Historical Document
The Statistical Atlas of the United States Based on the Results of the Ninth Census 1870
was published in 1874 and compiled under the authority of Congress by Francis A.
Walker, M.A., the superintendent of the ninth Census and a professor of political
economy and history at the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale College (now Yale
University). As stated on its title page, the document includes “contributions from
many eminent men of science and several departments of the government.”
Walker supervised the Census using scientific methods and sought to make the Census
information gathered more accessible to the general public by producing the Statistical
Atlas, which provides explanations and charts and maps of the data collected. He
expanded the amount of information collected in the Census and applied statistical
techniques to more accurately reflect the development of the United States after the
Civil War.
One page of the atlas, “Chart Showing the Principal Constituent Elements of the
Population of Each State,” displays the U.S. populations of the 37 states at the time
of the 1870 Census as color-coded boxes. These boxes indicate for each state (i) the
population according to limited categories: “native colored,” “native white,” and “born
out of the United States” and (ii) “white” and “colored” people living in other states.

Uses for This Activity
This activity reviews the general layout and content of the population chart. It also
provides historical inquiry questions for students to evaluate the chart. The questions
are divided into the following topics: observe, reflect, question, and analyze. This activity
may be used to introduce and engage students in the process of historical inquiry
and/or to process and reflect about race in the United States. The historical inquiry
questions can be used to examine other charts as well.

Standards and Benchmarks

(see page 15)

Grade Level
8-12

© 2015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Permission is granted to reprint or photocopy this lesson in its entirety for
educational purposes, provided the user credits the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, www.stlouisfed.org/education.

1

Historical Inquiry with the SA (1870) State Population Chart
Materials
•

Internet access and a whiteboard to display PDF 1 (page Pl.XX, “Chart Showing the
Principal Constituent Elements of the Population of Each State,” in the Statistical
Atlas of the United States Based on the Results of the Ninth Census 1870):
https://www.stlouisfed.org/~/media/Education/Lessons/pdf/maps/PDF1_SA1870P
opulation.pdf. (The third page of Handout 3 is a copy of PDF 1.)
NOTE: The PDF is provided because it has better resolution than the Statistical
Atlas online version. The full Statistical Atlas is available at
https://fraser.stlouisfed.org/title/?id=64#scribd-open. The chart in PDF 1 is on
page 70 of the online version.

•

Visuals 1 and 2

•

Handout 1, one copy for each student

•

Handout 1—Answer Key, one copy for the teacher

•

If using the (optional) extension activity, Handouts 2 and 3, one copy of each for
each student

Procedure
1.

2.

Display PDF 1: SA1870 Population (as noted in the Materials section). Explain to the
students that this is a primary source document. It is a population chart from a document called the Statistical Atlas of the United States Based on the Results of the Ninth
Census 1870. In this activity, they will practice historical inquiry by examining the chart
and answering questions about it. Explain the following:
•

The Statistical Atlas was published in 1874 and is considered a watershed
moment for statistics in the United States, bringing us on a par with our European
counterparts.

•

The chart shows the population of each of the 37 states at the time of the 1870
Census.

•

The chart is ordered from the state with the smallest population—thus the smallest square (Nevada)—to the state with the largest population—and the largest
square (New York). Thus, the sizes of the squares are relative to the sizes of the
populations.

•

The different-colored sections refer to the different categories of people counted
by the Census.

•

There is an explanatory paragraph at the top left of the page and a legend at
the top right.

Display Visual 1: Explanation. Tell the students that the visual shows an enlarged copy
of the explanatory paragraph from the chart. Invite a student to read the “Explanation.”

© 2015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Permission is granted to reprint or photocopy this lesson in its entirety for
educational purposes, provided the user credits the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, www.stlouisfed.org/education.

2

Historical Inquiry with the SA (1870) State Population Chart
3.

4.

5.

Display Visual 2: Legend. Review the categories and then explain the following:
•

Each square inch represents approximately 350,000 people (so the size of the
squares matters). You would have to look at the chart in its original size to interpret this measure.

•

Each square is divided into three rectangles, and the colors represent different
groups of people.

•

The tan left-hand rectangle represents persons born outside the United States—
the foreign born. Some states do not have any foreign-born persons recorded.

•

The middle rectangle represents native colored people, where “native” means
born in the United States. The gray (top) part represents colored people born
within the state. The burgundy (bottom) part represents colored people born
outside the state.

•

The right-hand rectangle represents native white people. The light-red (top) part
represents white people born within the state. The dark-red (bottom) represents
white people born outside the state.

•

The separate rectangle to the right of the square represents people who have
moved to others states. The light-red (top) portion represents white people. The
dark-red (bottom) portion represents colored people.

Note the population squares for Arkansas and New York shown on Visual 2. Ask the
students to compare the two. (Likely comparisons follow.)
•

Arkansas has more blacks than it has persons born out of the United States—
in fact, it has proportionally few persons born out of the United States.

•

New York has fewer blacks than it has persons born out of the United States—
in fact, it has proportionally very few blacks.

•

There are proportionally far fewer colored people in New York than in Arkansas;
the colored population appears to be about 25 percent in Arkansas and far less
in New York.

•

The numbers of whites born in and out of Arkansas are about equal. The majority
of whites in New York were born in New York.

•

More whites than blacks have moved out of both states.

Display PDF 1 again. Distribute a copy of Handout 1: Historical Inquiry to each student.
Have the students work in pairs and instruct them to look at the population chart
together to find the answers to the questions on Handout 1. After students complete
the activity, discuss their findings, referring to the Handout 1—Answer Key as needed.

© 2015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Permission is granted to reprint or photocopy this lesson in its entirety for
educational purposes, provided the user credits the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, www.stlouisfed.org/education.

3

Historical Inquiry with the SA (1870) State Population Chart
Assessment
6.

Instruct the students to write an essay that (i) summarizes their findings and (ii) provides evidence gathered from this inquiry and classroom learning that supports their
findings.

Extension (Optional)
7.

Distribute a copy of Handout 2: U.S Map to each student. Instruct the students to
shade the 37 states represented in the 1870 Census population chart.

8.

Discuss where your state fits in the overall 1870 Census data.

9.

Distribute a copy of Handout 3: Historical Inquiry to each student. Tell the students that
the links on the handout will take them to population maps of the United States based
on the most recent Census. They are to look at each of the maps and then choose one
map for which they will answer the questions on the handout. They should be ready
to discuss similarities and difference between the reporting of current Census population data and 1870 Census population data. The links below are also on Handout 3
and can be accessed in a computer lab or viewed by the class on a whiteboard.
NOTE: When each map is opened, if the legend is not shown, the user will need to
scroll down in the “Map Layers” box on the right-hand side to find the checked box,
under which is the title of the map and the legend.
•

Foreign Born Population (Non-Citizen or Naturalized), Percent by State
http://maps.communitycommons.org/viewer/?action=link_map&ids=ve,graybase,7389,7390,3757,7381,7380,7384,water,MSA,zctas,schSec,schEL,st_hou,st_
sen,us_cong,tracts,placebnd,counties,State,roads,places&vm=3757&vr=graybase,water,State,places&bbox=-14095008.019118562,2670585.0127684493,7265818.16400959,6456969.645901933

•

White (Non-Hispanic), Percent by State
http://maps.communitycommons.org/viewer/?action=link_map&ids=ve,graybase,7389,7390,3757,7381,7380,7384,water,MSA,zctas,schSec,schEL,st_hou,st_
sen,us_cong,tracts,placebnd,counties,State,roads,&vm=7389&vr=graybase,water,
State,places&bbox=-14095008.019118562,2670585.0127684493,7265818.16400959,6456969.645901933

•

Black or African American, Percent by State
http://maps.communitycommons.org/viewer/?action=link_map&ids=ve,graybase,7389,7390,3757,7381,7380,7384,water,MSA,zctas,schSec,schEL,st_hou,st_
sen,us_cong,tracts,placebnd,counties,State,roads,places&vm=7381&vr=graybase,water,State,places&bbox=-14095008.019118562,2670585.0127684493,7265818.16400959,6456969.645901933

© 2015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Permission is granted to reprint or photocopy this lesson in its entirety for
educational purposes, provided the user credits the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, www.stlouisfed.org/education.

4

Historical Inquiry with the SA (1870) State Population Chart
•

Asian, Percent by State
http://maps.communitycommons.org/viewer/?action=link_map&ids=ve,graybase,7389,7390,3757,7381,7380,7384,water,MSA,zctas,schSec,schEL,st_hou,st_
sen,us_cong,tracts,placebnd,counties,State,roads,places&vm=7380&vr=graybase,water,State,places&bbox=-14095008.019118562,2670585.0127684493,7265818.16400959,6456969.645901933

•

Native American/Alaskan Native, Percent by State
http://maps.communitycommons.org/viewer/?action=link_map&ids=ve,graybase,7389,7390,3757,7381,7380,7384,water,MSA,zctas,schSec,schEL,st_hou,st_
sen,us_cong,tracts,placebnd,counties,State,roads,places&vm=7384&vr=graybase,water,State,places&bbox=-14095008.019118562,2670585.0127684493,7265818.16400959,6456969.645901933

10. Discuss the students’ findings and discuss similarities and differences between the
reporting of current Census population data and 1870 Census population data.

© 2015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Permission is granted to reprint or photocopy this lesson in its entirety for
educational purposes, provided the user credits the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, www.stlouisfed.org/education.

5

Historical Inquiry with the SA (1870) State Population Chart
Visual 1: Explanation

© 2015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Permission is granted to reprint or photocopy this lesson in its entirety for
educational purposes, provided the user credits the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, www.stlouisfed.org/education.

6

Historical Inquiry with the SA (1870) State Population Chart
Visual 2: Legend

© 2015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Permission is granted to reprint or photocopy this lesson in its entirety for
educational purposes, provided the user credits the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, www.stlouisfed.org/education.

7

Historical Inquiry with the SA (1870) State Population Chart
Handout 1: Historical Inquiry
Observe
1.

What is the time period of this document?

2.

What do you first notice about this document?

3.

Describe what you see in this document.

4.

What is (are) the source(s) of information for this document?

5.

What does the legend (if there is one) tell you about this document?

6.

Is there anything that does not look like it belongs in this document?

Reflect
7.

Who was the audience for this document?

8.

Why is this document important?

9.

What did the author(s) intend to communicate with this document?

10. How might this document be biased?
11. What can you learn from examining this document?
12. Is there anything significant missing from this document?
13. Why was this document likely made?
Question
14. What does this document tell you about the United States and the world at this time?
15. Where can you find further information related to topics addressed in this document?
Analyze
16. How has the United States changed since this document was made?
17. How does the information depicted on this document foreshadow the future?

© 2015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Permission is granted to reprint or photocopy this lesson in its entirety for
educational purposes, provided the user credits the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, www.stlouisfed.org/education.

8

Historical Inquiry with the SA (1870) State Population Chart
Handout 1: Historical Inquiry—Answer Key (page 1 of 2)
Observe
1.

What is the time period of this document? (1870)

2.

What do you first notice about this document? (Answers will vary.)

3.

Describe what you see in this document. (Squares representing the population are
shown for each state and represent persons born outside the United States and colored
and white people born within and outside the state. It also shows for each state the
people who have moved to other states. There are 37 states on the chart.)

4.

What is (are) the source(s) of the information for this document? (Statistical Atlas of
the United States Based on the Results of the Ninth Census 1870)

5.

What does the legend (if there is one) tell you about this document? (The legend
shows what the colors on the chart represent and how people were categorized in
the Census: persons born outside the United States, native colored, and native white.)

6.

Is there anything that does not look like it belongs in this document? (Answers will
vary but may include the following: the focus on birthplace either in or out of a state,
classifying Native Americans as civilized, or classifying Native Americans as native
whites.)

Reflect
7.

Who was the audience for this document? (Answers will vary. The chart is for a
general-interest audience—anyone interested in this type of information.)

8.

Why is this document important? (Answers will vary, but students may say it provides
a record of the U.S. population in 1870 and captures the culture of that time period.)

9.

What did the author(s) intend to communicate with this document? (Answers will
vary, but students may say a simple, visual way to show the population breakdown of
each state.)

10. How might this document be biased? (Answers will vary but may include the following: Native Americans were not counted unless they were considered “civilized” and
then were counted as native whites. Importance is placed on tracking birthplace (native
born and foreign) and movement between states.)
11. What can you learn from examining this document? (Answers will vary, but students
may say the chart shows how many people lived in the United States, where those
people lived, and how people were categorized to be counted in 1870.)

© 2015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Permission is granted to reprint or photocopy this lesson in its entirety for
educational purposes, provided the user credits the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, www.stlouisfed.org/education.

9

Historical Inquiry with the SA (1870) State Population Chart
Handout 1: Historical Inquiry—Answer Key (page 2 of 2)
12. Is there anything significant missing from this document? (Native Americans were not
counted unless they were considered civilized and then they were counted as whites.)
13. Why was this document likely made? (Answers will vary, but students may say to
document the makeup of the population and its migration.)
Question
14. What does this document tell you about the United States and the world at this time?
(Answers will vary but may include the following: The United States is expanding and
now has 37 states, up from the original 13. The number of foreigners listed shows that
people from other countries were still coming to the United States. In general, the
states with a smaller colored population are more likely to have a foreign population
and vice versa. There were relatively more colored people in southern states than
northern states.)
15. Where can you find further information related to topics addressed in this document?
(Answers will vary but may include the following: They could refer to the full Statistical
Atlas for additional information or the government’s Census website.)
Analyze
16. How has the United States changed since this document was made? (Answers will vary
but some likely ones include the following: We now have 50 states. The population
is much larger. The language we use to describe ourselves is different. We use more
ethnic classifications. The size rankings of the states have changed. Indians—now
called Native Americans—now have their own classification and all are counted.)
17. How does the information depicted in this document foreshadow the future?
(Answers will vary but may include the following: It shows the language and thinking
of how populations were segregated at the time this atlas was created. These divisions
among African Americans, whites, and the foreign born are still felt today.)

© 2015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Permission is granted to reprint or photocopy this lesson in its entirety for
educational purposes, provided the user credits the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, www.stlouisfed.org/education.

10

Handout 2: U.S. Map

●

Directions: In the map below, shade the 37 states in 1870 represented in the “Chart
Showing the Principal Constituent Elements of the Population of Each State.”

© 2015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Permission is granted to reprint or photocopy this lesson in its entirety for
educational purposes, provided the user credits the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, www.stlouisfed.org/education.

11

Historical Inquiry with the SA (1870) State Population Chart
Handout 3: Historical Inquiry (page 1 of 3)
Directions: Look at the U.S. Census Bureau data maps at the links on the next page.
Choose one of the five maps and then answer the questions below based on that
map.
Observe
1.

What is the time period of this document?

2.

What do you first notice about this document?

3.

Describe what you see in this document.

4.

What is (are) the source(s) of information for this document?

5.

What does the legend (if there is one) tell you about this document?

6.

Is there anything that does not look like it belongs in this document?

Reflect
7.

Who was the audience for this document?

8.

Why is this document important?

9.

What did the author(s) intend to communicate with this document?

10. How might this document be biased?
11. What can you learn from examining this document?
12. Is there anything significant missing from this document?
13. Why was this document likely made?
Question
14. What does this document tell you about the United States and the world at this time?
15. Where can you find further information related to topics addressed in this document?
Analyze
16. How has the United States changed since this document was made?
17. How does the information depicted on this document foreshadow the future?

© 2015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Permission is granted to reprint or photocopy this lesson in its entirety for
educational purposes, provided the user credits the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, www.stlouisfed.org/education.

12

Historical Inquiry with the SA (1870) State Population Chart
Handout 3: Historical Inquiry (page 2 of 3)
Links
Foreign Born Population (Non-Citizen or Naturalized), Percent by State
http://maps.communitycommons.org/viewer/?action=link_map&ids=ve,graybase,7389,7390,3757,7381,7380,7384,water,MSA,zctas,schSec,schEL,st_hou,st_sen,us_co
ng,tracts,placebnd,counties,State,roads,places&vm=3757&vr=graybase,water,State,places&
bbox=-14095008.019118562,2670585.0127684493,7265818.16400959,6456969.645901933
White (Non-Hispanic), Percent by State
http://maps.communitycommons.org/viewer/?action=link_map&ids=ve,graybase,7389,7390,3757,7381,7380,7384,water,MSA,zctas,schSec,schEL,st_hou,st_sen,us_co
ng,tracts,placebnd,counties,State,roads,&vm=7389&vr=graybase,water,State,places&bbox=
-14095008.019118562,2670585.0127684493,-7265818.16400959,6456969.645901933
Black or African American, Percent by State
http://maps.communitycommons.org/viewer/?action=link_map&ids=ve,graybase,7389,7390,3757,7381,7380,7384,water,MSA,zctas,schSec,schEL,st_hou,st_sen,us_co
ng,tracts,placebnd,counties,State,roads,places&vm=7381&vr=graybase,water,State,places&
bbox=-14095008.019118562,2670585.0127684493,7265818.16400959,6456969.645901933
Asian, Percent by State
http://maps.communitycommons.org/viewer/?action=link_map&ids=ve,graybase,7389,7390,3757,7381,7380,7384,water,MSA,zctas,schSec,schEL,st_hou,st_sen,us_co
ng,tracts,placebnd,counties,State,roads,places&vm=7380&vr=graybase,water,State,places&
bbox=-14095008.019118562,2670585.0127684493,7265818.16400959,6456969.645901933
Native American/Alaskan Native, Percent by State
http://maps.communitycommons.org/viewer/?action=link_map&ids=ve,graybase,7389,7390,3757,7381,7380,7384,water,MSA,zctas,schSec,schEL,st_hou,st_sen,us_co
ng,tracts,placebnd,counties,State,roads,places&vm=7384&vr=graybase,water,State,places&
bbox=-14095008.019118562,2670585.0127684493,7265818.16400959,6456969.645901933

© 2015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Permission is granted to reprint or photocopy this lesson in its entirety for
educational purposes, provided the user credits the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, www.stlouisfed.org/education.

13

Handout 3: Historical Inquiry (page 3 of 3)

© 2015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Permission is granted to reprint or photocopy this lesson in its entirety for
educational purposes, provided the user credits the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, www.stlouisfed.org/education.

14

Historical Inquiry with the SA (1870) State Population Chart
Standards and Benchmarks
College, Career & Civic Life C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards
Dimension 2, Applying Disciplinary Tools and Concepts
•

Historical Sources and Evidence, By the End of Grade 8
D2.His.11.6-8. Use other historical sources to infer a plausible maker, date, place
of origin, and intended audience for historical sources where this information is
not easily identified.
D2.His.12.6-8. Use questions generated about multiple historical sources to
identify further areas of inquiry and additional sources.
D2.His.13.6-8. Evaluate the relevancy and utility of a historical source based on
information such as maker, date, place of origin, intended audience, and purpose.

•

Causation and Argumentation, By the End of Grade 8
D2.His.14.6-8. Explain multiple causes and effects of events and developments
in the past.
D2.His.15.6-8. Evaluate the relative influence of various causes of events and
developments in the past.
D2.His.16.6-8. Organize applicable evidence into a coherent argument about
the past.

•

Historical Sources and Evidence, By the End of Grade 12
D2.His.11.9-12. Critique the usefulness of historical sources for a specific historical
inquiry based on their maker, date, place of origin, intended audience, and
purpose.
D2.His.12.9-12. Use questions generated about multiple historical sources to
pursue further inquiry and investigate additional sources.

•

Causation and Argumentation, By the End of Grade 12
D2.His.14.9-12. Analyze multiple and complex causes and effects of events in
the past.
D2.His.15.9-12. Distinguish between long-term causes and triggering events in
developing a historical argument.
D2.His.16.9-12. Integrate evidence from multiple relevant historical sources and
interpretations into a reasoned argument about the past.

© 2015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Permission is granted to reprint or photocopy this lesson in its entirety for
educational purposes, provided the user credits the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, www.stlouisfed.org/education.

15