Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/United States/Political Geography and Statistics

See also the disclaimer. An article-specific Index to topics appeared at the end of the original article. It has not been transcribed.


Copyright, 1888, by Francis A. Walker.


Growth of the population.The population of the English colonies in North America was at no time definitely ascertained. In his History of the Constitution, Mr G. T. Curtis presents a table showing the estimated numbers in the several States as that used by the “Federal Convention” of 1787. By this the aggregate population is put at 2,781,000. By the first census of the United States, however, taken in 1790, the population was ascertained to be then 3,929,214. The second census, in 1800, showed a population of 5,308,483; and the third, that of 1810, showed another prodigious advance, the register reading Watson's predictions. 7,239,881. An important prediction in the history of population is that of Elkanah Watson, of New York, who in 1815 undertook to project the population of the United States from 1820 to 1900. The following are his figures for the period 1820 to 1850 (Table I.), in comparison with the actual results of the successive enumerations:—

1820. 1830. 1840. 1850.

 Watson  9,625,734   12,833,645   17,116,526   23,185,368 
 The census  9,633,822  12,860,020  17,069,453  23,191,876

 Watson's error  −8,088  −32,375  +47,073  −6,508 

No similar series of statistical predictions ever attained such a degree of verification, or commanded equal interest or admiration. But quite as remarkable as the fulfilments of the earlier estimates have been the failures in the later ones, as shown by the corresponding figures for 1860 to 1900 (Table II.):—

1860. 1870. 1880. 1890. 1900.

 Watson  31,753,824   42,328,432   56,450,241   77,266,989   100,355,985 
 Census  31,443,321  38,558,371  50,155,783

 Watson's error  +310,503   +3,770,061  +6,294,458

Conditions of increase.Watson's estimates came so true during the earlier decades because of the remarkable steadiness of the conditions then controlling population. In 1790 there were about 600,000 white families in the United States. Speaking broadly, there were few very rich, and, except from the effects of intemperance or the premature death of the breadwinner, there were few very poor. Food was abundant. Both social traditions and the religious beliefs of the people encouraged fecundity. The country enjoyed domestic tranquillity. All this while, too, the land was but partially settled. Mechanical labour was scarce, and even upon the farm it was difficult to command hired service, almost the only farm labourers down to 1850, in the north, being young men who went out to work for a few years to get a little ready money to marry upon. The conditions recited are such as would allow population to expand without restriction. The change that was inevitable came between 1840 and 1850. That the reduction in the birth-rate coincided with a cause which was regarded as certain to quicken the increase of population, namely, the introduction of a vast body of fresh peasant blood from Europe, affords another instance in proof that, even in this matter of population, moral are far more potent than physical causes.

The accessions between 1840 and 1850 from Ireland and Germany were enormous, the total immigration rising to 1,713,251 against 599,125 during the decade preceding, and against only 143,439 from 1820 to 1830. And these people came in condition to breed with unprecedented rapidity, under the stimulus of an abundance, in regard to food, shelter, and clothing, such as the most fortunate of them had never known. Yet, in spite of these accessions, the population of the country realized a slightly smaller proportion of gain than when the foreign arrivals were almost insignificant.

The change which produced this falling off from the traditional rate of increase, namely, about 3 per cent. per annum, was that from the simplicity of the early times to comparative luxury, involving a rise in the standard of living, the multiplication of artificial necessities, the extension of a paid domestic service, the introduction of women into factory labour. For a time the retardation of the normal rate of increase among the native population was concealed from view by the extraordinary immigration. During the decade 1850 to 1860 the foreign arrivals rose to the enormous total of 2,579,580, till it came about that almost one-seventh of the population of the country consisted of persons born abroad. And among this class no influence was yet exerted in restriction of population. Yet in spite of the arrival of 4,292,831 foreigners between 1840 and 1860, of whom 3,500,000 survived at the latter date, having had three (perhaps four) million children born to them on the soil, the census returns of 1860 showed a falling off from Watson's prediction of 310,503. At the time that prediction was made (1815) the arrivals at ports of the United States had averaged about 5000 per annum. Had the reinforcement from the outside been enhanced only proportionally to the increase within, the figures for 1860 would have found Watson's estimate wrong by several millions.

The ten years from 1860 to 1870 witnessed the introduction of a new force operating to bring down the rate of national increase, namely, the war of secession. The superintendent of the ninth census, 1870, presented a computation of the effects of this cause,—first, through direct losses, by wounds or disease, either in actual service of the army or navy, or in a brief term following discharge; secondly, through the retardation of the rate of increase in the coloured element, due to the privations, exposures, and excesses attendant upon emancipation; thirdly, through the check given to immigration by the existence of war, the fear of conscription, and the apprehension abroad of results prejudicial to the national welfare. The aggregate effect of all these causes was estimated as a loss to the population of 1870 of 1,765,000. Finally, the temporary reduction of the birth-rate, consequent upon the withdrawal of perhaps one-fourth of the natural militia (males of 18 to 44 years) during two-fifths of the decade, may be estimated at perhaps three-quarters of a million. From these computations it would appear that, had the war of 1861-65 not broken out, the population of 1870 would still, in spite of accessions from abroad and of the quickened fecundity of the newly arrived elements, have shown a large deficiency from the numbers estimated by Watson.

The tenth census put it beyond doubt that economic and social forces had been at work, reducing the rate of multiplication. The ascertained population of 1880 was 50,155,783, against the estimated 56,450,241. Yet no war had intervened; the industries of the land had flourished; the advance in accumulated wealth had been beyond all precedent; immigration had increased to 2,944,695 for the decade. It is hazardous to speak of the future; but the most reasonable computation which can at present be made fixes the population of 1900 at about eighty millions, or twenty millions less than the estimate of Watson.

Geographical process of national growth. See Plate VII.The achievement of independence found the people of the United States owning the entire country between the Gulf and the Great Lakes, excepting only Florida, as far to the west as the Mississippi; but the actual settlements were, with a few minor exceptions, confined to a narrow strip of territory along the Atlantic shore. The depth of settlement, from the coast inland, varied greatly, ranging from what would be involved in the mere occupation of the shore for fishing purposes to a body of agricultural occupation extending back to the base of the great Atlantic chain.

If we trace the western boundary of the body of continuous settlement at that time, we find, beginning at the north-east, sparse settlements extending along the entire seaboard to the New Hampshire line. The southern two-thirds of New Hampshire and nearly all Vermont were thinly covered by population. Reaching New York, the line of population branched off from the Hudson, north of the Mohawk, the westward tide flowing through a broad gap between the Adirondacks and the Catskills, which constitutes the northernmost of four main paths along which migration has historically taken place. Spreading over central New York, population had already covered the valley of the Mohawk and the region of the interior lakes. In Pennsylvania population had spread north-westward, occupying not only the Atlantic plain but also, with sparse settlements, the region traversed by the numerous parallel ridges of the eastern portion of the Appalachians. We omit, for the moment, consideration of the settlements around the junction of the Allegheny and the Monongahela rivers, representing an overflow through the second of the four great channels of population, that, namely, which crosses southern Pennsylvania, western Maryland, and northern Virginia, parallel to and along the course of the upper Potomac. Omitting then this, which we may term the Pittsburgh group, we find, in Virginia, that sparse settlements had in 1790 extended westward beyond the Blue Ridge, and into what is now West Virginia, on the western slope of the Alleghany Mountains, while another narrow tongue of population had penetrated south-westwards, down to the head of the Tennessee river, in the great Appalachian valley, having found out the third of the four main channels alluded to. In New Carolina settlement was still limited by the base of the Appalachians. Georgia was as yet, owing to the presence of Indian tribes, only occupied to the depth of about two counties along the Savannah river. The reservations of the Red Men still prevented population from moving westward along the fourth of the great natural paths alluded to,—namely, that around the southern end of the Appalachian chain.

In the preceding rapid survey of the new nation four groups have been omitted, the first, the Pittsburgh group, in south-western Pennsylvania; the second, the smallest, in West Virginia, upon the Ohio and Kanawha rivers; the third, and by far the largest, in northern Kentucky, upon the Ohio river, comprising about 11,000 square miles; and the fourth upon the Cumberland river, in Tennessee. The existence of these outlying groups of population in 1790 bore witness to the daring and even reckless courage of the American pioneer.

1790.In addition there were in 1790 a score or more of small posts or incipient settlements, mainly of French origin, scattered over what was then an almost unbroken wilderness. Among these were Detroit, Vincennes, Kaskaskia, Prairie Du Chien, Machinac, and Green Bay. The entire settled area at the first census is computed to have been 239,935 square miles, which, with an aggregate population of 3,929,214, would yield an average density of 16.4 persons to the square mile. The centre of population, as that phrase is commonly understood, rested east of Baltimore.

1800.The census of 1800 showed a total settled area computed at 305,708 square miles, including all outlying tracts. As the population had risen to 5,308,483, the average density of settlment had become 17.4. The centre of population had moved 41 miles west, along the 39th parallel of latitude.

1810.The map of 1810 shows a vast change, owing to the acquisition of Louisiana from France; the settled area was 407,945 square miles, which, with an ascertained population of 7,239,881, gave an average of 17.7 persons to the square mile. It is remarkable that the American people, in nearly doubling their numbers between 1790 and 1810, only increased the average density of settlement from 16.4 to 17.7. At the latter date we find the hills of western New York now almost entirely covered with population, which has spread along the southern shore of Lake Erie, well over into Ohio, effecting a junction with the previously existing body of settlement about the forks of the Ohio. The occupation of that river has become complete from its source to its mouth, with the exception of small gaps below the entrance of the Tennessee. The early Kentucky settlements have expanded in every direction, until almost the entire State is covered, while that body of population has been extended southwards to the Tennessee, in what is now northern Alabama. In Georgia settlement is still held back by the presence of the Creek and Cherokee Indians, although a treaty with the former tribe in 1802 has opened up portions of the State, which have been eagerly occupied. In Ohio the movements of population northward from the river of that name and westward from Pennsylvania have carried forward the line of settlement, until it comprises two-thirds of the State. Michigan and Indiana, still Territories, remain virgin soil, with the exception of a little strip around Detroit, and a small area in the south-western part of Indiana. St Louis has been transferred, by the purchase of Louisiana, from a foreign jurisdiction to that of the United States, and has become an important centre of population, settlements having spread from it northward to above the mouth of the Missouri, and southward, along the Mississippi, to the mouth of the Ohio. At the mouth of the Arkansas is found a similar body of population. Looking still farther south, settlements are observed in the newly organized Territory of Orleans, extending across the Mississippi to its left bank, and reaching up to the site of Vicksburg.

1820.In 1820, at the fourth census, the population had become 9,633,822; the area of settlement had reached 588,717 square miles, yielding an average density of 18.9. The effect of the westward movement during the decade had been to move the centre of population 50 miles, still on the 39th parallel.

1830.In 1830 the area of settlement was 632,717 square miles, yielding, with an aggregate population of 12,866,020, an average density of 20.3. The centre of population had passed westward only 30 miles, the energies of the people having been given largely to filling up the already included areas. The most noticeable changes are in the south. In Georgia the settlements have spread westward, across the entire breadth of the State, where they have struck against the barrier of the diminished Creek reservation. Stopped at this point, they have moved downwards into the south-west corner of the State, and over the boundary line into Florida, recently acquired from Spain. No general advance is to be noted in Mississippi, owing to the continued presence of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations. The Alabama group has widened and deepened, until perhaps two-thirds of the State is covered. In Mississippi the chief growth has been through a broad belt, up the river of the same name, reaching to the present site of Kansas City. Population has progressed northward in Illinois, until more than half the State is covered; while Indiana and Ohio have greatly reduced their vacant areas.

1840.The settled area of 1840 was 807,292 square miles; the population was 17,069,453, the average density 21.1. The centre of population had moved 55 miles, almost exactly due west. The most marked changes during the ten years had been in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, whence the Indian tribes—Cherokees, Creeks, Chickasaws, and Choctaws—had been removed to the Indian Territory. Now, at last, we see population taking the southernmost of the four western routes of migration,—that round the lower end of the Appalachian chain. In northern Illinois, the Sac and Fox and Pottawatamie tribes having been removed to the Indian Territory, their country has been promptly taken up; and we now find settlements carried over the whole extent of Indiana and Illinois, and northwards across Michigan and Wisconsin, as far as the 43d parallel. Population has passed the Mississippi into Iowa Territory, and occupies a broad belt up and down that stream. In Missouri the settlements have spread northwards from the Missouri river nearly to the boundary of the State, and in the opposite direction until they cover most of the southern portion, making connexion with the settlements in Arkansas. Population has largely increased in Florida; but the southern portion of the State remains unoccupied, owing to the hostility of the Seminole Indians.

1850.Between 1840 and 1850 the limits of the United States had been greatly extended by the annexation of Texas and the territory ceded by Mexico in the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, these acquisitions embracing an area larger than the original area of the United States as defined by the treaty of 1783. The frontier of population now rests on the Missouri through a great north and south extent; and this date thus marks the natural division of the history of population in the United States into two parts. The map of 1850 does indeed show a few settlements on the newly acquired Pacific coast, sparsely covering perhaps 30,000 square miles, with mining camps from a few weeks to a year old, comprising in all about 100,000 souls. But these small and distant groups may, in a survey like the present, be disregarded. In this great journey of the English race to the Missouri we have seen the population increase from 3,929,214 to 23,191,876; the settled area has increased from 239,985 square miles to 979,249. The territory of the United States has grown, through purchase and war, from 827,844 to 2,980,961 square miles. The original thirteen States have become thirty. The centre of population has moved westward, during sixty years, over the space of 276 miles, notwithstanding the deepening of agricultural settlement in the older portions of the country and the growth of large commercial towns upon the seaboard, which have raised the average density to 23.7 persons to the square mile.

1860.In 1860 the population of the Pacific coast settlements (about 100,000 in 1850) had risen to about 620,000, covering sparsely about 100,000 square miles. In the east the great fact observed is the extension of settlement, for the first time, beyond the line of the Missouri. The movement up the slope of the great plains has begun. Into Kansas and Nebraska, especially the former, settlers are pouring rapidly, under the influence of the fierce struggle which is being waged to determine the political character of those Territories. Population has reached even beyond the 97th meridian. In the south Texas has filled up still more rapidly, its extreme settlements reaching to the 100th meridian. The small groups about St Paul, in Minnesota, have spread in all directions, after forming a broad band of union with the main body of population, down the line of the Mississippi. In Iowa population has crept steadly north-westward, along the course of the drainage, until the State is nearly covered. Following up the Missouri, settlers have crossed into the south-eastern corner of the present Territory of Dakota. In Wisconsin the settlements have moved at least one degree farther north. In the upper peninsula of Michigan the little settlements which appeared in 1850, in the upper region around Keweenaw Point, have extended and increased in density as that mining region has developed in importance. The hitherto unsettled regions in southern Missouri, north-eastern Arkansas, and north-western Mississippi have become sparsely covered. The entire occupied area of 1860 is 1,194,754 square miles; the population is 31,443,321, and the average density 26.5. The centre has moved 81 miles westward since 1850.

1870.The year 1870 found the nation undivided, with an aggregate population of 38,558,371, occupying 1,272,239 square miles, the average density being 30.3. The new Cordilleran and Pacific coast settlements, beyond the 100th meridian, comprising about 1,000,000 souls, occupying about 120,000 square miles, have arranged themselves, rudely, in three longitudinal belts. The most eastern of these lies in central Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming, and along the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains. Population was first largely attracted thither in 1859 and 1860 by the discovery of mineral deposits, and has been retained there by the richness of the soil and the abundance of water for irrigation. The second belt is that of Utah, settled by the Mormons. This community differs radically in character from other Rocky Mountain settlements, being essentially agricultural, the mining industries having been discountenanced as tending to fill their “Promised Land” with Gentile adventurers. The settlements here in 1870 extended from southern Idaho southward, through central Utah, into northern Arizona. With the exception of the two considerable towns of Ogden and Salt Lake, they consisted mainly of scattered hamlets and small villages, around which were grouped the farms of the several communities. The third belt is that in the Pacific States and Territories, extending from Washington Territory southward to southern California, and eastward to the systems of “Sinks,” so called, in western Nevada. This highly complicated body of population owes its existence to the mining industry. Beginning in 1849, it has grown through successive mineral discoveries, although more than one of its chief seats in earlier days have long since become deserted camps, more dreary even than before the white man came. Latterly tire value of this region to the agriculturist has been recognized, and the occupations of the inhabitants are undergoing a marked change. These three longitudinal belts comprised nine-tenths of the population of 1870 which was west of the general frontier line. The remainder were scattered about in the valleys and on the mountains of Montana, Idaho, and Arizona, in military posts, in isolated mining camps, and on cattle ranches.

In the east the traditional westward movement proceeded at less than its usual rate during 1860-70. Whereas the centre of population moved 81 miles in 1850-60, it accomplished a journey of only 42 miles in the succeeding decade. In part this was due to the discouragement of pioneer enterprise by the state of war, portions of the frontier being involved in Indian hostilities, or becoming the scene of guerilla atrocities, all the way from Minnesota to Arizona; in part, to the absorption into the army of the restless portion of the population which had been wont to lead the race in opening up new regions. In larger part, however, it was due to the prodigious growth, under the artificial encouragement afforded by war, of the manufacturing industries of the east. Nevertheless, in southern Minnesota population had gone to the boundary of the State, and had poured up the Big Sioux river in south-eastern Dakota; Iowa had become entirely occupied; through Kansas and Nebraska population had moved westward, following, in general, the courses of the larger streams and of the newly constructed Pacific railroads.

1880.The tenth census (1880) disclosed a population of 50,155,783. The first thing which strikes one is the vast extent of territory brought under occupation for the first time. The settled area has risen sharply to 1,569,570 square miles, so that, with nearly twelve millions added to the population, the average density of settlement has only increased from 30.3 to 32. The settlements in the Cordilleran regions and on the Pacific show enormous accessions of occupied territory. In the east we note changes which are far greater in absolute importance, though less conspicuous in comparison with the extent of previously existing settlement. In Kansas and Nebraska a broad tide has spread westward over the plains, annexing vast tracts before unoccupied. At several points the pioneer line has reached the boundary of the Humid Region, so that further extension must hereafter be governed by the supply of water in the streams. Hence we already see the principal river marked by long ribbon-like bands of population. In Minnesota and east Dakota the building of railroads and the remarkable wheat-producing capabilities of the region have caused a rapid development of population. Besides the agricultural region of east Dakota, we note the formation of a body of settlement in the Black Hills, in the south-west corner, the result of important discoveries of gold deposits. In Wisconsin the unsettled area has rapidly decreased as railroad construction has advanced. In the upper peninsula of Michigan the copper and iron interests, and the railroads which subserve them, have peopled a large extent of territory. In the lower peninsula not only have settlements surrounded the head of the peninsula, but there remains only a small body of unsettled lands in the interior, the vast pine forests having been swept away by the activity of the lumbering industry. In the south Texas has made great strides, through the extension of railroads and the development of the cattle and sheep interest. The unsettled area in the peninsula of Florida has decreased decidedly, while the vacant spaces heretofore seen along the upper coast of Florida and Louisiana have disappeared. The centre of population moved 58 miles westward between 1870 and 1880, making the total journey 457 miles since 1790.

The following tables (III., IV.) show the distribution of population by drainage basins and according to altitude:—

Population by drainage basins.

Drainage Basin. Area in
 Square Miles. 
Population, 1880.

Total.  Per Sq. Mile. 

 New England coast 61,830    3,788,334 61.2
 Middle Atlantic coast  83,020    9,240,897 111.3 
 South Atlantic coast 132,040    4,114,563 31.2
 Great Lakes 175,340    5,684,147 32.4
 Gulf of Mexico 1,725,980   25,884,117 14.9

  Total Atlantic  2,178,210   48,717,293 22.4
 Great Basin 228,150  227,107   1.0
 Pacific Ocean 619,240    1,211,383  1.9

  Total 3,025,600   50,155,783  16.6

Population according to altitude.

 Height above 
in Feet.
 of the Group. 
Per Cent of
 Total Population 
 within the Group. 
 below each 
 Per Cent. of 
below each

    0-100 9,152,296  18.25  9,152,296 18.25
  100-500 10,776,284  21.48 19,928,580 39.73
  500-1000 19,024,320  37.93 38,952,900 77.66
 1000-1500 7,904,780  15.76 46,857,680 93.42
 1500-2000 1,878,715   3.75 48,736,395 97.17
 2000-3000 664,923   1.33 49,401,318 98.50
 3000-4000 128,544    .26 49,529,862 98.76
 4000-5000 167,236    .33 49,697,098 99.09
 5000-6000 271,317    .54 49,968,415 99.63
 6000-8000 109,497    .22 50,077,912 99.85
 8000 and over  77,871    .15 50,155,783 100    

From the latter table it appears that nearly one-fifth of the inhabitants of the country lived below 100 feet, i.e., along the immediate seaboard and in the swampy alluvial regions of the south; more than two-fifths lived below 500 feet, more than three-fourths below 1000 feet, while 97 per cent. lived below 2000 feet. Within the area below 500 feet is included nearly all that part of the population which is engaged in manufacturing, in the foreign commerce of the country, and in the culture of cotton, rice, and sugar. The interval between the 500 and the 1500 contours comprises the greater part of the prairie region and the grain-producing States of the north-west. The mean elevation of the surface of the United States is roughly computed at 2600 feet. The mean elevation of the actual population of 1880 is estimated at 700 feet.

Nativity of the population.At the date of the census of 1880 there were 6,679,943 persons residing in the United States who had been born in foreign lands, while at the same time there were 9,593,106 born in the United States who were living in other States than those of their birth. Generally speaking, the migrations of natives of the country have been, if not as usual directly along parallels of latitude, at least within the immediate zones of the individuals thus seeking new homes. Historically the statistics of the foreign elements are very incomplete. For only four censuses (1850-80) has the place of birth been returned in the enumeration of inhabitants. From 1850 backwards to 1820 we have only tables compiled from the passenger lists of vessels bringing in emigrants, data notoriously imperfect. Prior to 1820 there are only scraps of evidence. The following tables (V., VI.) show the arrivals at United States ports from 1820 to 1850 by decades, and the total population and total number of persons of foreign birth, with the proportions subsisting between the two, at each of the four censuses taken since this class of statistics began to be collected:—

Total. From
 British Isles. 
 From Other 

 1820-30   151,000   8,000   82,000  61,000
1830-40  599,000 152,000  283,000 164,000
1840-50  1,713,000  435,000 1,048,009 230,000

Persons of
 Foreign Birth. 
Per Cent.
 of Foreign. 

 1850  23,191,876 2,244,602  9.68
1860 31,443,321 4,138,697 13.16
1870 38,558,371 5,567,229 14.44
1880 50,155,783 6,679,943 13.32

The foreign-born have settled mainly between the 38th and 45th degrees of latitude; more than two-thirds of them are found between the 39th and 43d degrees.

The following table (VII.) shows the proportion per 10,000 of the natives of the foreign countries named:—

1850. 1860. 1870. 1880.

 Born in England and Wales  1,375 1,154 1,124 1,117
 Born in Ireland  4,285   3,893   3,333   2,776 
 Born in Scotland  314  262  253  255
 Born in Germany 2,601 3,083 3,037 2,944
 Born in France  241  266  209  160
 Born in British America  658  604  886 1,074
 Born in Sweden and Norway    80  175  434  560
 All other foreigners  446  563  724 1,114

The occupations most affected by foreigners will appear from the following table (VIII.), in which the units represent thousands:—

Persons born in Engaged
in all
Personal or
Trade and
and Mining

 United States 13,897  6,858 3,076 1,352 2,611
 Germany 1,033  293  218  152  368
 Ireland  979  140  415  138  284
 Great Britain  467  104   80   56  226
 Sweden and Norway   206   92   53   16   45
 British America  351   73   91   33  154

In the following table (IX.) a few of the more important single occupations are selected for a further comparison:—

 Germany.   Ireland.  Great

 Agricultural labourers 48 24 15 23 21
 Farmers and planters 233  108  83 68 51
 Boot and shoe makers  28 17  7  3  8
 Textile operatives  9 39 32  1 44
 Domestic servants 43 122  19 19 22
 In iron and steel works   9 17 10  1  2
 Labourers 114  225  31 28 50
 Miners 10 25 47  5  6
 Railroad employés 10 33  7  5  6
 Traders and dealers 60 32 17  2  7

The question of the degree to which foreign elements have contributed to the remarkable growth of population in the United States has formed the subject of much discussion. In 1870 an important step towards the obtaining of adequate statistical data for the solution of the problem was made by ascertaining, in addition to the number of persons born abroad, the number having a foreign-born father or mother, or both. From this count it appeared that, while there were (1) 5,567,229 persons resident in the United States who were born in other countries, there were (2) 10,521,233 who had a foreign father, (3) 10,105,627 who had a foreign mother, (4) 9,734,845 who had both parents foreign, and (5) 10,892,015 who had one or both parents foreign.[1] Another and important step was taken in 1880, when the census office obtained the means of determining the number of persons one or both of whose parents had been born in each specified foreign country. From this enumeration it appeared that, while there were then in the United States (1) 6,679,943 persons who had themselves been born abroad, there were (2) 14,349,310 who had a foreign father, (3) 13,585,080 who had a foreign mother, (4) 13,011,646 who had both parents foreign, and (5) 14,922,744 who had one or both parents foreign. In addition to the above were found 33,252 persons, themselves born abroad, but of parents native to the United States. This would make the total number of persons born abroad, and of persons of foreign parentage, 14,955,996. This aggregate was distributed as follows among the chief nationalities (Table X.):—

Persons having Irish fathers 4,529,523
Persons having German fathers 4,883,842
Persons having British fathers 2,039,808
Persons having Scandinavian fathers 635,405
Persons having British American fathers 939,247
Persons having fathers born in other foreign countries than those specified 1,321,485
Persons having native fathers and foreign mothers 573,434
Foreign persons, having both parents native 33,252

Total 14,955,996
Persons having Irish mothers 4,448,421
Persons having German mothers 4,557,629
Persons having British mothers 1,790,200
Persons having Scandinavian mothers 631,309
Persons having British American mothers 931,408
Persons having mothers born in foreign countries other than those specified 1,226,113
Persons having native mothers and foreign fathers 1,337,664
Foreign persons, having both parents native 33,252

Total 14,955,996

Comparing these results with the total number of persons from each specified foreign country resident in the United States, we find that, for every 1000 persons living in the United States who were born in Ireland, there were in 1880 2442 who had an Irish father, 2387 who had an Irish mother; for every 1000 persons born in Germany there were 2483 who had a German father, 2306 who had a German mother; for every 1000 persons born in Great Britain there were 2223 who had a British father, 1941 who had a British mother; for every 1000 persons born in Sweden or Norway there were 1690 who had a Swedish or Norwegian father, 1671 who had a Swedish or Norwegian mother; for every 1000 persons born in British America there were 1310 who had a British American father, 1292 who had a British American mother.

These ratios do not accurately represent the comparative fecundity of the foreign population, unless reference be had to the periods of time during which the several elements have respectively formed an important part of the population of the United States. The fact that for every 1000 persons born in Ireland there were in 1880 2442 persons (including of course the 1000 mentioned), who had an Irish father, while for every 1000 British Americans there were only 1310 who had a British American father, would seem to indicate that the Irish are vastly more prolific than the British Americans. The disproportion is, however, mainly due to the fact that the Irish residents have lived in the country for a very much longer period of time than the British Americans. Thus, of every 10,000 foreigners in the United States in 1850, 4285 were Irish, while only 658 were British Americans. In 1880, out of every 10,000 foreigners, only 2776 were Irish, 1074 were British Americans. Again, it will have been noted that, in every case mentioned, there are more of persons having a foreign father than of persona having a foreign mother. This is true regarding each nationality, not only for the country, but for each State, and is due to the fact that immigration is predominantly of males.

The coloured race.The first census (1790) showed the number of coloured persons to be 757,208, the coloured element thus constituting a larger proportion of the population than ever after, i.e., 19.3 per cent. By 1800 the coloured element had increased absolutely to 1,002,037, being a gain per cent. of 32.32, but had declined relatively to 18.9 per cent. of the entire population. By 1810 it had reached 1,377,808, again of 37.05 per cent, upon its own numbers in 1790; it had also advanced towards its former share of the population, being 19 per cent. of the whole. By 1820 the number had risen to 1,771,656, a gain of 28.58 per cent. in ten years; the share of this element in the total population had sunk to 18.4 per cent. By 1830 the number had increased to 2,328,642, a gain of 31.44 per cent.; the ratio to the total population had sunk to 18.2. By 1840 the total numbers had risen to 2,873,648, a gain of 23.4 per cent. (16.8 per cent. of the whole population). In 1850 the number was 3,638,808 (13.3 of whole population), a gain of 26.62 per cent, in ten years. On the threshold of the civil war in 1860 the number had risen to 4,441,830 (14.1 per cent, of whole population), being a gain of 22.06 per cent, in ten years. The enumeration of the coloured population in 1870 was subsequently proved to have been partial and inaccurate in many parts of several Southern States. The number returned was only 4,880,009 (12.7 per cent. of total population), a gain of only 9.86 per cent, in ten years. In 1880 the number was 6,580,793 (13.1 of the whole), an increase of 34.85 per cent. over 1870.

The following table (XI.) summarizes the facts of gain per cent. within the coloured population by ten-, twenty-, and thirty-year periods, from 1790 to 1880:—

Per Cent.
of Total
Increase per Cent.

 10 Years.   20 Years.   30 Years. 

 1790   757,208 19.3 ... ... ...
 1800 1,002,037 18.9 32.32 ... ...
 1810 1,377,808 19  37.05 81.96 ...
 1820 1,771,656 18.4 28.58 76.8  133.97
 1830 2,328,642 18.2 31.44 69.01 132.39
 1840 2,873,648 16.8 23.4  62.2  108.56
 1850 3,638,808 13.3 26.62 56.26 105.39
 1860 4,441,830 14.1 22.06 54.57  90.74
 1870 4,880,009 12.7  9.86 34.11  69.82
 1880 6,580,793 13.1 34.85 48.15  80.85

The coloured people, all but an inconsiderable fraction, live between the 29th and 40th degrees of latitude. In this respect, the foreign and the coloured elements are largely complementary. Only between the 38th and 40th parallels are both elements found in considerable numbers. In longitude the coloured are much more widely spread than are the foreigners. Again, the temperature and rainfall groups which contain one of these elements largely seldom embrace any considerable portion of the other. Thus, it appears that, while more than 87 per cent. of the foreign-born live in regions having a mean annual temperature of 40° to 55° F., more than 93 per cent. of the coloured reside in regions having a mean annual temperature of 50° to 70°. In the region having a rainfall of about 60 inches annually, the coloured form no less than 43 per cent. of the total, and in the next grade 36.5 per cent., while in the region having a rainfall of 50 to 55 inches more than half the inhabitants are coloured. Where the rainfall is less than 45 inches the coloured population falls below the average, in some cases very far below. Not less than 85 per cent. of the coloured are found within regions between 40 and 60 inches. The foreign population, on the other hand, is chiefly grouped in regions between 30 and 50 inches, those regions containing nearly 85 per cent. of the foreign-born. Further, only 14.10 per cent, of the foreign population live in the regions raised 100 to 500 feet above the sea, while within those regions are found not less than 44.95 per cent. of the coloured population.

The question of the future of the coloured race in the United States mainly depends on the answer to a prior question, whether the fact of the concentration in so great a degree of this element upon the lands at once very hot and very moist, which has actually taken place, is due to the superior attractions of cotton-planting in the past and even in the present, or represents also the special physiological aptitudes of the race. The enormous apparent increase in this element during 1870 to 1880 led some persons to project a line of ascent which would, in a few generations, cause the continent to be peopled almost entirely by members of the African race. Such predictions are as idle as were those of the speedy extinction of the coloured population after the disparaging but erroneous results of the census of 1870 were published. Inasmuch as twenty-year periods have, from the beginning, shown a steady successive decline in the rate of increase among the coloured population (see Table XI.), it would seem that some positive reason should be shown for anticipating any higher rate for the future than that of 54.57 for 1840-60. Such a rate of increase among the coloured people would steadily reduce the share of that element in the population of the country, bringing its numbers up to about ten millions in 1900 out of a not improbable population of eighty millions. Whether there is really room, economically, speaking, for so large a coloured population, considering the limited area of the lands, already fairly well occupied, within which alone that race has any marked advantage over the whites by reason of their physiological adaptation to the climate, and considering the industrial advantages which the white race enjoy wherever the climate conditions are equally favourable, may be gravely doubted.

Cities.The growth of city populations during the ninety years embraced by the ten successive censuses of the United States has been little less remarkable than the increase of population throughout the country as a whole. The following table (XII.) gives the aggregate for cities of 8000 inhabitants and upwards from 1790 to 1880:—

 Population of 
 United States. 
 Population of 
Urban Population in
 each 100 of the Total. 

 1790   3,929,214  131,472 3.3
1800  5,308,483  210,873 3.9
1810  7,239,881  356,920 4.9
1820  9,633,822  475,135 4.9
1830 12,866,020  864,509 6.7
1840 17,069,453 1,453,994 8.5
1850 23,191,876 2,897,586 12.5 
1860 31,443,321 5,072,256 16.1 
1870 38,558,371 8,071,875 20.9 
1880 50,155,783 11,318,547  22.5 

In 1880 there were 286 cities with over 8000 inhabitants, and the following twenty exceeded 100,000:—New York, N.Y., 1,206,299; Philadelphia, Pa., 847,170; Brooklyn, N.Y., 566,663; Chicago, Ill., 503,185; Boston, Mass., 362,839; St Louis, Mo., 350,518; Baltimore, Md., 332,313; Cincinnati, O., 255,139; San Francisco, Cal., 233,959; New Orleans, La., 216,090; Cleveland, O., 160,146; Pittsburgh, Pa., 156,389; Buffalo, N.Y., 155,134; Washington, D.C., 147,293; Newark, N.J., 136,508; Louisville, Ky., 123,758; Jersey City, N.J., 120,722; Detroit, Mich., 116,340; Milwaukee, Wis., 115,587; Providence, R.I., 104,857.

The urban population of the United States is predominantly sustained by manufactures and mechanical industry rather than by commerce. Taking for the purposes of this analysis the fifty largest cities, we have an aggregate of 3,083,172 workers, of whom 32 per cent. are engaged in personal and professional services, 24 per cent. in trade and transportation, 43 per cent. in manufactures and mechanical industry, the remaining 1 per cent. being employed in agriculture, as nurserymen, florists, market gardeners, &c. Of the total body of workers reported 77 per cent. are males, 23 females. Again, 3½ per cent. are under 16 years of age, 3 per cent. are over 60, 93½ per cent are between 16 and 60.

The proportion of workers to population varies greatly in American cities, according to the industries pursued, according to the constituents of the population, according to age and sex, and according to certain social causes affecting the employment of women and young children.

Occupations of the people.The American census took no account of the occupations of the people till 1850, when the occupations of the free male inhabitants over 15 years of age were ascertained. In 1860 the statistics were made to include the gainful occupations of free women as well, but the exclusion of the entire slave population from the account, together with defects of classification due to the inherent difficulties of the work, make it impossible to institute satisfactory comparisons with statistics subsequently obtained. At the ninth and tenth censuses (1870 and 1880) special efforts directed to this end, aided by the great progress made of recent years in industrial organization and by the abolition of slavery, resulted in statistical accounts which afford a fair view of the occupations of the people at those dates.

The census of 1870 gave the number of people pursuing gainful occupations as 12,505,923, being 32.43 per cent. of the total population, 44.3 per cent. of the total population above ten years of age. In 1880 the corresponding number was 17,392,099, being 34.68 per cent. of the entire population, 47.31 per cent. of the population above ten years of age. This increase means a larger engagement of women and children in labour outside the family. The division of the grand total of 1880 among the four principal groups of occupations, with the further distinction of sex, appears in the following table (XIII.):—

Classes. Persons
Males. Females.

 Agriculture 7,670,493 7,075,983 594,510 
 Personal and professional services 4,074,238 2,712,943 1,361,295 
 Trade and transportation 1,810,256 1,750,892 59,364 
 Manufacturing, mechanical, and mining  3,837,112 3,205,124 631,988 

All occupations  17,392,099    14,744 942    2,647,157 

Of these, 825,187 males and 293,169 females were from 10 to 15 years of age, 12,986,111 males and 2,283,115 females from 16 to 59, and 933,644 males and 70,873 females 60 and upwards.

It appears that 7,670,493 persons were in 1880 employed in agriculture, constituting 44.1 per cent. of the whole number, against 47.3 in 1870,—a slight relative decline in this class during the decade. 4,225,945 persons reported themselves as farmers or planters. This agrees well with the number of farms and plantations returned on the agricultural schedule, i.e., 4,008,907. 3,323,876 persons report themselves as farm labourers, while about 120,000 are returned as apiarists, dairymen, florists, gardeners, nurserymen, stock-drovers, turpentine farmers, &c. Agriculture still remains the predominant industry of the United States, employing nearly half the working population, and, since a greater number of persons are dependent upon the average farmer or farm labourer than upon the average factory operative or domestic servant, furnishing subsistence to considerably more than half the people.

The number of persons engaged in mechanical labour and in, manufacturing and mining pursuits in 1880 was 3,837,112,—22 per cent. of the total, against 21.6 per cent. in 1870.

The number of persons engaged in trade and transportation was in 1880 1,810,256, being 10.4 per cent. of the total. Between 1860 and 1870, with an increase in population of 22.8 per cent., the class engaged in trade and transportation gained 44 per cent., a result fairly attributable to the profits of middle-men, and the multiplication of stores, shops, and stands of every description, consequent upon the circulation of an irredeemable and fluctuating currency.

The last grand group of occupations to be mentioned is that characterized by the rendering of personal or professional services. This group in 1880 embraced 4,074,238 men, women, and children, or 23.4 of all connected with gainful avocations, against 21.4 per cent, in 1870. The occupations within this group exhibit a wide range of character. We have at the one end the teacher, the Government official, the artist, the clergyman, the physician; at the other, the barber, the boot-black, the household drudge. The most important class of this group is that known as labourers, without further designation. This class, in the successive census reports, has always been large, doubtless too large for the facts of the case, since it seems probable that no inconsiderable share of these labourers are connected with agriculture or trade or some branch of manufacturing industry with sufficient definiteness to justify their being returned under one or other of those groups. The number reported under this title in 1850 was 909,786; in 1860, 969,301; in 1870, 1,031,666; in 1880, 1,859,223.

The number of domestic servants in 1880 was 1,075,655, against 975,734 in 1870. It might have been expected that the general increase of luxury and refinement during the preceding decade must have caused a large proportional increase in domestic service. Yet we find the number of domestic servants to have increased but 10 per cent., while population has grown 30 per cent. The only fact indicated by the table of occupations which serves at all to account for this failure of domestic service to keep pace with population is that the number of bakers has increased more than 50 per cent. during the decade, while the number of laundrymen and laundresses has grown from 60,906 to 121,942, showing that some part at least of the work formerly done in private houses is now done in shops. Yet we cannot fail to be struck with the fact that, while there was in 1870 1 servant to 7.76 families, 1880 found no more than 1 servant to 9.24 families.

The geographical distribution of domestic service throughout the United States is very irregular, the proportion between families and servants ranging from 2.5 families to 1 servant in the District of Columbia up to 24.8 families to 1 servant in Arkansas. The largest proportion of domestic servants is found in a group in the central Atlantic region,—Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, where slavery formerly prevailed more as a social and political than as an industrial institution. Thus Maryland has 1 servant to 4.9 families, Delaware 1 to 5.3, Virginia 1 to 5.7.

Families and dwellings.In 1870 the number of families returned was 7,579,363, the number of persons to a family being 5.09; the number of dwellings was 7,042,833, with 5.47 persons to a dwelling. In 1880 the total number of families returned was 9,945,916, the number of persons to a family being 5.04; the number of dwellings was 8,955,812, with 5.6 persons to a dwelling. In 1880 the number of persons to a family ranged from 3.94 in Montana to 5.54 in West Virginia; the number of persons to a dwelling ranged from 4.24 in Idaho to 6.68 in Rhode Island. Examination of the tables relating to the 100 largest cities in 1880 shows that the number of persons to a family ranges from 4.23 in Memphis to 5.99 in Denver. In general, the Southern cities rule low in this respect. The range as to the number of persons to a dwelling, among the cities of the United States, is much greater than in the case of persons to a family. Memphis has but 4.68 persons to a dwelling; New York has as many as 16.37. The other instances of a low proportion are Lancaster, Pa., 5.02; Davenport, Iowa, 5.04; Camden, N.J., 5.05; Sacramento, 5.07. The other instances of a high proportion are Hoboken, 11.50; Holyoke, Mass., 10.52; Brooklyn and Cincinnati, 9.11; Manchester, N.H., 9.09; Worcester, 8.79; Fall River, 8.75; Jersey City, 8.59; Lawrence, 8.5; Boston, 8.26; Chicago, 8.24; Troy, 8.16; St Louis, 8.15. The other large cities show the following proportions:—Philadelphia, 5.79; New Orleans, 5.95; Baltimore, 6.54; San Francisco, 6.86. The remarkably low proportion, considering the population, which obtains in Philadelphia is due to the admirable manner in which that city has been built up, largely under the system of ground rents, little known in other cities.


Agriculture has been the chief and most characteristic work of the American people, that in which they have achieved the greatest results in proportion to the resources at command, that in which Rapid extension of settlements. their economic superiority has been most strikingly manifest. In ten years from 1790, the mean population of the period being 4,500,000, 65,000 square miles were for the first time brought within the limits of settlement, crossed with roads and bridges, covered with dwellings, both public and private, much of it also cleared of primeval forest; and this in addition to keeping up and improving the whole extent of previous settlements, and building towns and cities at a score of favoured points. In the next decade, the mean number of inhabitants being about 6,500,000, population extended itself over 98,000 square miles of absolutely new territory,—an area eight times as large as Holland. Between 1810 and 1820, besides increasing the density of population on almost every league of the older territory, besides increasing their manufacturing capital twofold, in spite of a three years war, the people of the United States advanced their frontier to occupy 101,000 square miles, the mean population being 8,250,000. Between 1820 and 1830 124,000 square miles were brought within the frontiers and made the seat of habitation and cultivation; between 1830 and 1840, 175,000 square miles; between 1840 and 1850, 215,000 square miles. The war of secession, indeed, checked the westward flow of population, though it caused no refluence; but between 1870 and 1880 territory embracing 297,000 square miles was reclaimed from the wilderness and the desert, was divided into farms, crossed everywhere by roads and here and there by railroads, and dotted over with dwellings.

Character of the agricultural class.That which has allowed this great work to be done so rapidly and fortunately has been, first, the popular tenure of the soil, and, secondly, the character of the agricultural class. At no time have the cultivators of the soil north of the Potomac and Ohio constituted a peasantry in the ordinary sense of that term. They have been the same kind of men, precisely out of the same homes, generally with the same early training, as those who filled the learned professions or who were engaged in manufacturing or commercial pursuits. Switzerland and Scotland have, in a degree, approached the United States in this particular; but there is no other considerable country where as much mental activity and alertness has been applied to the cultivation of the soil as to trade and manufactures.

Pioneering ingenuity.But even the causes which have been adduced would have failed to produce such effects but for the exceptional inventive ingenuity of the American. The mechanical genius which has entered into manufactures in the United States, the engineering skill which has guided the construction of the greatest works of the continent, have been far exceeded in the hurried “improvements” of the pioneer farm; in the housing of women, children, and live stock and gathered crops against the storms of the first few winters; in the rough and ready reconnaissances which determined the “lay of the land” and the capabilities of the soil; in the preparation for the thousand exigencies of primitive agriculture. It is no exaggeration to say that the chief manufacture of the United States, thus far, has been the manufacture of four million farms, comprising 540,000,000 acres.

System of cultivation.The people of the United States, finding themselves on a continent containing an almost limitless extent of land of fair average fertility, having at the start but little accumulated capital and urgent occasions for the economy of labour, have elected to regard the land in the earliest stages of occupation as practically of no value, and to regard labour as of high value. In pursuance of this view they have freely sacrificed the land, so far as was necessary, in order to save labour, systematically cropping the fields on the principle of obtaining the largest results with the least expenditure, limiting improvements to what was demanded for immediate uses, and caring little about returning to the soil an equivalent for the properties taken from it in the harvests of successive years. But, so far as the Northern States are concerned, the enormous profits of this alleged wasteful cultivation have in the main been applied, not to personal consumption, but to permanent improvements, not indeed to improvements of the land, but to what were still more needed in the situation, namely, improvements upon the land. The first-fruits of a virgin soil have been expended in forms which have vastly enhanced the productive power of the country. The land, doubtless, as one factor of that productive power, became temporarily less efficient than it would have been under a conservative European treatment; but the joint product of the three factors—land, labour, and capital—was for the time enormously increased. Under this regimen the fertility of the land of course in time necessarily declined, sooner or later according to the nature of the crops grown and to the degree of original strength in the soil. Resort was then had to new fields farther west. The granary of the continent moved first to western New York, thence into the Ohio valley, and then, again, to the banks of the Mississippi. The north and south line dividing the wheat product of the United States into two equal parts was in 1850 drawn along the 82d meridian. In 1860 that line was drawn along the 85th, in 1870 along the 88th, in 1880 along the 89th. Meanwhile one portion of the inhabitants of the earlier settlements joined in the movement across the face of the continent. As the grain centre passed on to the west they followed it, too restless by character and habit to find pleasure in the work of stable communities. A second portion of the inhabitants became engaged in raising, upon limited areas, small crops, garden vegetables, and orchard fruits, and in producing butter, milk, poultry, and eggs, for the supply of the cities and manufacturing towns which had been built up out of the abundant profits of the primitive agriculture. Still another portion of the agricultural population gradually became occupied in the more careful and intense culture of the cereal crops upon the better lands, the less eligible fields being allowed to spring up in brush and wood. Deep ploughing and thorough drainage were resorted to; fertilizers were employed to bring up and to keep up the soil; and thus began the serious systematic agriculture of the older States. Something continued to be done in wheat, but not much. New York raised 13 million bushels in 1850; thirty years later she raised the same amount. Pennsylvania raised 15½ million bushels in 1850; in 1880 she raised 19½ million bushels. More is done in Indian corn (maize), that most prolific cereal, the backbone of American agriculture; still more is done relatively in buckwheat, barley, and rye. Pennsylvania, though the tenth State in wheat production, stands first in rye, second in buckwheat, third in oats. New York is only thirteenth in wheat, but first in buckwheat, second in barley, third in rye. We do not, however, reach the full significance of the situation until we account for the fourth portion of the former agricultural population, in noting how naturally and fortunately commercial and manufacturing cities spring up on the sites which have been prepared for them by the lavish expenditure of the enormous profits of a primitive agriculture upon permanently useful improvements of a constructive character. These towns are the gifts of agriculture.

Statistics of farms.The agricultural returns for 1880 showed a total of 4,008,907 farms, comprising 536,081,835 acres, of which 284,771,042 were improved and 251,310,793 unimproved. The improved lands were made up of 223,067,144 acres of tilled lands, including fallow or grasses in rotation, and 61,703,898 acres of permanent meadows, pastures, and orchards. The unimproved land comprises 190,255,744 acres of woodland and forest. The unimproved land in farms was, in 1860, 59.9 per cent. of the total land in farms; in 1870, 53.7; in 1880, 46.9. It will be seen that the farms of 1880 comprise little more than one-third the total area of the country. The remainder consists of large fertile tracts, which will, in the near future, be embraced in farms; of extensive districts, along the frontier, occupied by the grazing interest; of water surfaces, rivers, lakes, ponds, and swamps; of barren tracts along the shore, and of the area of innumerable rugged hills and vast mountain chains; and, lastly and chiefly, of the great arid plains beyond the 100th meridian.

The value of farms, including farm buildings, returned in 1880 was $10,197,096,776; the value of farming implements and machinery, $406,520,055; of live stock on farms, $1,500,384,707. The live stock on farms comprised horses, 10,357,488; mules and asses, 1,812,808; working oxen, 993,841; milch cows, 12,443,120; other cattle, 22,488,550; sheep, exclusive of spring lambs, 35,192,074; swine, 47,681,700. The foregoing numbers relate only to live stock upon farms. The report of the special agent appointed in 1880 to canvass the grazing interest, outside the limits of defined farms, estimated the number of ranch and range animals as follows:—cattle, 3,750,000; sheep, 7,000,000; swine, 2,091,000.

Cereals.The acreage and yield of the cereal grains reported in 1880 (crop of 1879) were as follows:—wheat, 35,430,333 acres, 459,483,137 bushels; Indian corn, 62,368,504 acres, 1,754,591,676 bushels; oats, 16,144,593 acres, 407,858,999 bushels; barley, 1,997,727 acres, 43,997,495 bushels; rye, 1,842,233 acres, 19,831,595 bushels; buckwheat, 848,389 acres, 11,817,327 bushels.

Of wheat fourteen States produced over 10,000,000 bushels each, six States over 30,000,000. The chief producing States, with their respective crops in round millions of bushels, were Illinois, 51; Indiana, 47; Ohio, 46; Michigan, 35; Minnesota, 34; Iowa, 31; California, 29. 303 million bushels were produced in regions having a mean annual temperature of between 45° and 50° F., 51 millions between 40° and 45°, 59 millions between 55° and 60°. The general average yield per acre was 13 bushels.

Of Indian corn twenty States produced over 20 million bushels each, six over 100 millions. The chief producing States, with their respective crops in round millions of bushels, were Illinois, 326; Iowa, 275; Missouri, 202; Indiana, 115; Ohio, 112; Kansas, 106. 1300 million bushels were produced in regions having a mean annual temperature between 45° and 55°, 229 millions between 55° and 60°, 113 millions between 60° and 65°. The average yield per acre was 28 bushels.

Of oats ten States produced over 10 million bushels each; five produced over 30 millions. The chief producing States, with their respective crops in round millions of bushels, were Illinois, 63; Iowa, 51; New York, 38; Pennsylvania, 34; Wisconsin, 33. The average yield per acre was 25 bushels. Of barley five States produced over 2 million bushels, as follows:—California, 12½; New York, 8; Wisconsin, 5; Iowa, 4; Minnesota, 3. The average yield per acre was 22 bushels. Of rye four States, namely, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York, Wisconsin, produced between 3½ and 2 million bushels each. The average yield per acre was 11 bushels. Of buckwheat 70 per cent. of the crop was produced by the two States of New York (4½ millions) and Pennsylvania (3½ millions). The average per acre was 14 bushels.

Hay.The harvested hay crop, as reported in 1880, amounted to 35,150,711 tons from 30,631,054 acres. Thirteen States show more than one million acres mown, with a yield ranging from 0.835 ton per acre in Missouri to 1.554 tons in Minnesota. As we pass southward, the importance of the grass crop diminishes until we reach large and populous States in which but ten or twenty thousand acres or less are mown.

Dairy produce.The statistics of dairy products, taking those both of the home dairy and of the butter or cheese factory, as returned in 1880, show 806,672,071 ℔ of butter made, 243,157,850 ℔ of cheese, 217,922,090 gallons of milk sold otherwise than to cheese and butter factories.

Hops.The production of hops is mainly in two States,—New York, which in 1880 cultivated 39,072 acres in this crop, nearly all in four counties, and Wisconsin, which cultivated 4439 acres. The total area in hops was 46,800 acres, with a yield of 26,546,378 ℔.

Potatoes.The potato crop comprised 169,458,539 bushels of Irish, grown mainly in Northern States, and 33,388,693 bushels of sweet, grown mainly in the South, although the profitable cultivation of this crop extends as far north as New Jersey.

Wool.The statistics of the wool crop in a census of the United States are necessarily defective, requiring to be supplemented by information from the outside. This is due to the great amount of wool obtained from the pelts of slaughtered sheep, to the large number of animals upon ranches and ranges along the frontier, beyond the limits of defined farms, and, thirdly, to the fact that in some regions, notably California and Texas, two clips are made each year. The gross figures for 1880, after making allowance on these accounts, were 240,681,751 ℔.

Hemp and flax.The production of hemp in the census year was but 5025 tons; the products of the flax culture were stated at 7,170,951 bushels of seed, 421,098 tons of straw, 1,565,546 ℔ of the fibre. It is in Cotton. cotton, however, that the United States make their chief contribution to the fibres of the commercial world. In 1879 5,755,359 bales were raised on 14,480,019 acres. The following table (XIV.) shows the distribution, geographically, of this most important crop:—

States. Acres. Bales.

 Alabama  2,330,086  699,654
 Arkansas  1,042,976  608,256
 Florida 245,595  54,997 
 Georgia  2,617,138  814,441
 Indian Territory  35,000  17,000 
 Kentucky 2,667  1,367 
 Louisiana 864,787   508,569
 Mississippi  2,106,215  963,111
 Missouri 32,116  20,318 
 North Carolina  893,153   389,598
 South Carolina  1,364,249  522,548
 Tennessee 722,562   330,621
 Texas  2,178,435   805,284 
 Virginia 45,040  19,595 

Rice.The other characteristic crops of the Southern States are rice, tobacco, and sugar. Of rice there was raised in 1879 110,131,373 ℔, of which South Carolina produced upwards of 52 millions, Louisiana and Georgia producing, in about equal proportion, nearly all Sugar. the remainder. The area cultivated for the sugar-cane was 227,776 acres, from which the crop was 178,872 hhds. of sugar and 16,573,273 gallons of molasses. Of the sugar Louisiana produced 171,706 hhds.; Texas, 4951; Florida, 1273; Georgia, 601; South Carolina, 229; Alabama, 94; Mississippi, 18. In addition to the cane sugar of the far South, there were produced in the Middle and Northern States 12,792 ℔ of sorghum sugar and 28,444,202 gallons of sorghum molasses; while in the far North were produced 36,576,061 ℔ of maple sugar and 1,796,048 gallons of maple molasses. The chief sorghum-producing States are Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and Iowa. The chief maple-sugar States are Vermont, New York, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire. Tobacco. The area sown in tobacco was 638,841 acres, the crop 472,661,157 ℔. Fifteen States raised over 2 million pounds each; ten raised above 10 million each. The chief tobacco States were Kentucky, 171,120,784 ℔; Virginia, 79,988,868; Pennsylvania, 36,943,272; Ohio, 34,735,235; Tennessee, 29,365,052; North Carolina, 26,986,213; Maryland, 26,082,147. The States next in order are Connecticut, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

Other agricultural produce.In addition to the crops which have been mentioned, there were reported 102,272,135 barnyard fowls and 23,235,187 other fowls, producing 456,910,916 dozens of eggs; 25,743,208 ℔ of honey and 1,105,685 ℔ of wax; $50,876,154 of orchard products, $21,761,250 of market-garden products, 95,774,735 of forest products; 29,480,106 ℔ of broom corn; 6,514,977 bushels of pease; and 3,075,050 bushels of beans.

Since the census of 1880 the United States department of agriculture has published annually estimates of the successive crops down to 1886. These estimates take the latest census figures for their basis, the percentages of increase or decrease being carefully computed with reference to the statements of several thousands of local reporters. The following table (XV.) represents the estimated annual production of the cereal crops for the six or seven years quoted:—

Grain.  Area Planted, 
in Acres.
in Bushels.
Average Yield,
 Bush. per Acre. 

 Indian corn (1880-86)  68,435,634   1,639,655,363  24 
 Wheat (1880-86) 37,098,548  447,742,370  12.1
 Oats (1880-86) 19,940,322  633,012,913  26.7
 Rye (1880-85) 2,095,438  25,610,067  12.2
 Barley (1880-85) 2,300,021  50,829,950  21.1
 Buckwheat (1880-85) 858,313  11,089,007  12.9

Tenure of farm lands.No statistics are available regarding the tenure of non-agricultural land; but, of the 4,008,907 farms reported, 2,984,306 were cultivated by their owners, 322,357 by tenants for a fixed money rental, 702,244 by tenants paying a share of the produce as rent. It thus appears that, of each 10,000 farms, 7444 were cultivated by owners, 804 were rented for fixed money payments, and 1752 were rented for a share of the produce.

Size of farms.The following table (XVI.) exhibits the distribution of the farms of 1880 according to size, with the further distinction of the kind of tenure under which they were cultivated:—

 Cultivated by 
Rented for
 Fixed Money 
 Rented for 
Shares of

 Under 3 acres 2,601  875  876 
 3 and under 10 acres 85,456  22,904  26,529 
 10 and under 20 acres 122,411  41,522  90,816 
 20 and under 50 acres 460,486  97,399  223,689 
 50 and under 100 acres 804,522  69,663  158,625 
 100 and under 500 acres 1,416,618  84,645  194,720 
 500 and under 1000 acres  66,447  3,956  5,569 
 1000 acres and over 25,765  1,393  1,420 


Down to the revolution, the very beginnings of manufactures were prohibited in the American colonies by the policy of the mother country. The history of American manufactures begins with the history of the United States. The natural resources of the country for the purposes of manufacture, whether in field, forest, or mine, were various and abundant in a high degree. The supply of coal was the marvel of the world, while the whole Atlantic coast was dotted over with immense water powers. Iron ores of the greatest variety, and often of high purity, were widely spread. The native woods were remarkable for their beauty, strength, and elasticity. A wealth of building stones, slates, and marbles underlay the surface, from New England to Tennessee and Alabama. Among fibres the soil had a high degree of adaptation to the production of those two which are the chief staples of textile manufacture. Indeed, in the cultivation of cotton this country has from the first been practically beyond the competition of any other.

Yet during the first years after 1790, although nearly every branch of mill and factory industry had been undertaken, the United States at the best attained only respectable standing among the manufacturing nations of the second rank. As yet the American people, as has been explained in a previous section, were employing their thoughts and energies, their resources, their capital, in reaping the first-fruits of a virgin soil. While capital applied to the soil in England was yielding 3 per cent., interest upon purely agricultural loans ranged from 8 to 15 per cent. in Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa. While the English agricultural labourer was receiving from 9 to 13 shillings a week, the American farm hand was receiving from a dollar and a quarter to two dollars a day, according to the season of the year. At the same time hundreds of thousands of persons taking up farms in the new States, and paying such interest for capital and such wages for labour, saw their lands rise continuously in value through the growth of population and the intensification of settlement. In a word, it has been the competition of the farm with the shop that from 1790 down to the present time has hindered the development of manufactures.

No attempt was made, either at the first or second census, to obtain the statistics of manufactures. In 1810 Congress provided for a report of all manufacturing establishments; but it was found that this work had been so imperfectly done that no summary for the United States, or for any State, was possible. It is interesting to note that cotton cloth was set down at 80 cents a yard, pig iron at $66 a ton, bar iron at $151 a ton, while the average product of the grist mills was valued at 75 cents a bushel, and the average product of the saw mill at $7.80 per 1000 feet. In 1820 and again in 1840 renewed attempts were made to obtain the statistics of manufactures, but the results were worthy of little consideration.

In 1850, among extensive changes introduced into the census system, provision was made on an ample scale for statistics of manufactures; and it is accordingly from that date that official information on this subject may be said to begin. The results then obtained were as follows (Table XVII.):—

Number of establishments  123,023
Capital employed $533,245,351
Hands employed—
 Males 731,137
 Females 225,922
Wages paid $236,755,464
Cost of materials $555,123,822
Value of products $1,019,106,616

These statistics were intended to include the production, not of factories merely, but of mechanic shops of every kind. It was found, however, that the returns did not generally embrace the products of artisans working singly at their trades. The mining industries were included in the returns of manufactures.

Between 1850 and 1860 the capital employed had increased to $1,009,855,715; the number of establishments was 140,433; the hands employed were—males 1,040,349, females 270,897, total 1,311,246; the wages paid were 378,878,966; the cost of materials 1,031,605,092; the value of products 1,885,861,676.

The decade 1860-70 was marked by a stupendous advance in mechanical enterprises. The totals are (Table XVIII.):—

Number of establishments  252,148
Capital $2,118,208,769
Hands employed—
 Males above 16 1,615,598
 Females above 16 323,770
 Children and youths 114,628
Wages paid $775,584,343
Cost of materials $2,488,427,242
Value of products $4,232,325,442

In addition to the foregoing statistics, it was ascertained that there were employed in manufactures 40,191 steam engines, of 1,215,711 aggregate horse-power, and 51,018 water wheels, of 1,130,431 aggregate horse-power.

In preparation of the tenth census (1880) the provisions for the collection of statistics of manufactures were greatly extended and improved. The totals are as follows (Table XIX.):—

Number of establishments  253,852
Capital $2,790,272,606
Hands employed—
 Males above 16 2,025,335
 Females above 16 531,639
 Children and youths 181,921
Wages paid $947,953,795
Cost of materials $3,396,823,549
Value of products $5,369,579,191

The geographical distribution of the manufactures of 1880 is shown in the following table (XX.), the amounts being reduced to percentages:—

 Area.   Establishments.  Capital

 North Atlantic  5.6 44.87  61.94  62.23  64.33  59.64 
 South Atlantic  9.4 10.16  5.89 7.59 4.99 5.26
 Northern Central 25.3 34.33  25.78  24.39  24.86  28.94 
 Southern Central 20.3 7.55 3.75 3.85 3.11 3.47
 Western (Cordilleran)  39.4 3.09 2.64 1.94 2.71 2.69

The first ten cities, in order of the number of persons employed in manufactures, were New York, 227,352; Philadelphia, 185,527; Chicago, 79,414; Boston, 59,213; Baltimore, 56,338; Cincinnati, 54,517; Brooklyn, 47,587; St Louis, 41,823; Pittsburgh, 36,930; San Francisco, 28,442.


The following figures show the construction of railroads in the United States, by decades:—1830-40, 2265 miles; 1840-50, 5046; 1850-60, 20,110; 1860-70, 16,090; 1870-80, 41,454; 1880-85, 44,002,—giving a total of 128,967 miles.

Poor's Railroad Manual gives the cost of the railroads constructed down to 1885 as $7,037,627,350, including equipment; capital stock, $3,817,697,832; bonded debt, $3,765,727,066; earnings for 1885 from passengers, $200,883,911; from freight, $519,690,992; from all sources, $765,310,419; net earning, $266,488,993; interest paid on bonds, $179,681,323; dividends paid on stock, $77,672,105.


The aggregate extent of telegraphic lines in the United States open for public business in 1887 exceeded 170,000 miles, besides railway, Government, private, and telephone lines, of which the extent is not known. By far the greater part of this business in the United States is in the hands of the Western Union Telegraph Company, the main features of whose operations, at certain successive dates, are shown in the following table (XXI.):—

 Miles of 
 Miles of 
No. of
No. of
 Messages Sent. 

 1867   46,270  85,291  2,565  5,879,282  $6,568,925 
1870  54,109 112,191  3,972  9,157,646   7,138,738
1875  72,833 179,496  6,565 17,153,710   9,564,575
1880  85,645 233,524  9,077 29,216,509  12,782,895
1885 147,500 462,283 14,184 42,096,583  17,706,834
1886 151,832 489,607 15,142 43,289,807  16,298,638
1887  156,814   524,641  15,658 47,394,530  17,191,910

The average toll per message was 36.3 cents in 1887. Since the construction of this table, the purchase of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad telegraph lines has brought the mileage of the Western Union to about 162,000, with over 580,000 miles of wire.

Postal Service.

The following table (XXII.), from the latest annual report of the postmaster-general, exhibits the growth of the postal services:—

No. of
Miles of
 Post Routes. 
Revenue of
 during the Year. 

1790 75    1,875 $37,935  $32,140 
1805 903   20,817 280,804  213,994 
1810 2,300   36,406 551,684  495,969 
1820 4,500   72,492 1,111,927  1,160,926 
1830 8,450  115,176 1,850,583  1,932,708 
1840 13,468  155,739 4,543,522  4,718,236 
1850 18,417  178,672 5,499,985  5,212,953 
1860 28,498  240,594 8,518,067  19,170,610 
1870 28,492  231,232 19,772,221  23,998,838 
1880 42,989  343,888 33,315,479  36,542,804 
1885 51,252  365,251 42,560,843  50,046,235 
1886 53,614  378,586 43,948,423  51,004,744 

Foreign Commerce.

The full official statistics of the foreign commerce of the United States only begin with 1820. Prior to that date considerable statistical material relating to trade and navigation was collected by Dr Seybert. Table XXIII. exhibits the value of exports of domestic merchandise to foreign countries during each tenth year from 1820 to 1880, together with the part borne therein by the products of domestic agriculture. The table shows strikingly the constancy with which the exports of agricultural produce have maintained their share in the total exports during 60 years.

Table XXIII.

Products of
Per cent.
of Agr.

 1820   $51,683,640   $41,657,673  80.60
 1830   58,524,878   48,095,184 82.18
 1840  111,660,561   92,548,067 82.88
 1850  134,900,233  108,605,713 80.50
 1860  316,242,423  256,560,972 81.12
 1870  455,208,341  361,188,483 79.34
 1880  823,946,353  685,961,091 83.25

The following table (XXIV.) shows the value of all imports into the United States at intervals of five years from 1835 to 1880:—

 Value of Imports. 

 1835   $149,895,742 
1840   107,141,519
1845   117,254,564
1850   178,138,318
1855   261,468,520
1860  $362,160,254
1865   248,555,652
1870   462,377,587
1875   595,861,248
1880   760,989,046

In 1884, 1885, and 1886 respectively the total exports of merchandise amounted to $740,513,609, $742,189,755, and $679,524,830, and the imports to $667,697,693, $577,527,329, and $635,436,136. The same years the exports of gold and silver amounted to $67,133,383, $42,231,525, and $72,463,410, and the imports to $37,426,262, $43,242,323, and $38,593,656.

The following table (XXV.) gives the value, in round millions of dollars, of leading exports of domestic agriculture during each fifth year since 1860:—

Meats and

 1860  192  24 16 17 1
 1865   7  54 42 54 0
 1870 227  72 21 31 1
 1875 191 111 25 83 2
 1880 212 288 16 132  15 
 1885 202 160 22 107  14 

Table XXVI., p. 826, exhibits the value, in dollars, of the imports from, and exports to, each of the principal foreign countries in 1886.

The following are the eleven principal exporting cities, with the value of the goods going out through them in 1886, and percentage of total United States exports:—New York, 314 millions of dollars (49.26 per cent.); New Orleans, 83 (12.15); Boston, 54 (7.96); Baltimore, 36 (5.27); Philadelphia, 34 (4.97); San Francisco, 30 (4.45); Savannah, 20 (2.99); Charleston, 18 (2.6); Galveston, 17 (2.5); Norfolk, 12 (1.71); Huron, Mich., 8 (1.22 per cent). It thus appears that, of the aggregate exports from the United States, all but 7.92 per cent. (about 54 millions of dollars) go out from these eleven ports. By far the greater part of the exports of New Orleans, Savannah, Charleston, Galveston, and Norfolk consists of cotton. It is the shipment of this staple from Southern ports which increases the number of important exporting cities.

Table XXVI.—Exports and Imports.

 from U.S. 
to each
 Per cent. 
of Total
Foreign Country.  Per cent. 
of Total
 into U.S. 
 from each 

 344,927,973  51.79   Great Britain and Ireland 24.28   154,254,054 
60,923,857  9.15   Germany 10.88  69,154,997 
40,006,096  6.01   France 9.98  63,417,430 
31,953,124  4.80   British North America 5.91  37,496,338 
25,376,353  3.81   West Indies 11.18  71,053,146 
22,613,399  3.40   Belgium 1.44  9,178,513 
14,536,664  2.18   Netherlands 1.34  8,523,846 
13,048,846  1.96   Italy 2.65  16,870,636 
13,047,762  1.96   Spain .93  5,930,202 
10,981,915  1.65   British Possessions in Australasia  .61  3,859,360 
9,705,335  1.47   Russia in Europe .50  3,183,153 
7,518,277  1.13   China 2.99  18,972,963 
6,856,077  1.03   Mexico 1.68  10,687,972 
6,480,738  .97   Brazil 6.59  41,907,532 
5,294,798  .79   United States of Colombia .47  3,008,921 
4,350,141  .65   British East Indies 2.71  17,247,825 
4,331,770  .65   Argentine Republic .79  5,022,346 
4,306,205  .65   Portugal .22  1,344,167 
4,044,384  .61   Hong Kong .17  1,072,459 
3,125,130  .47   Japan 2.34  14,885,573 
3,115,899  .47   Hawaiian Islands 1.54  9,805,707 
... ...  Switzerland 2.26  14,353,981 
341,982  .05   Spanish Possessions
 (mainly Philippine Islands)
1.51  9,566,912 
1,950,267  .29   Austria 1.05  6,603,058 
2,442,171  .37   Central American States .93  5,915,413 
2,695,488  .40   Venezuela .91  5,791,621 
1,110,545  .17   Uruguay .78  4,925,948 

On the other hand, all but 8.48 per cent. of the imports, amounting to 54 millions, were in 1886 received at seven ports as follows:—New York, 419 millions of dollars (65.9 per cent. of imports into United States); Boston, 58 (9.2); San Francisco, 37 (5.8); Philadelphia, 37 (5.76); Baltimore, 12 (1.84); Chicago, 10 (1.6); New Orleans, 8 (1.28 per cent.).

The following table (XXVII.) exhibits the division of the imports of 1886 into two classes as free or dutiable, with the amount of duty collected on each of five principal groups of articles:—

Classes. Value. Duty.  Ad valorem 
rate on
 Per cent. 
of total

Free of duty. Dutiable.

Per cent.
(A) Articles of food and live animals $83,752,303   $112,433,925  $61,064,744  54.26 32.42
(B) Articles in a crude condition which enter into the various processes of domestic industry 102,438,364  41,613,658  12,863,115  30.91 6.83
(C) Articles wholly or partially manufactured for use as materials in the manufacturing and mechanical arts 10,689,156  67,855,317  20,115,152  29.64 10.68
(D) Articles manufactured ready for consumption 12,446,211  113,824,644  55,653,853  48.90 29.54
(E) Articles of voluntary use, luxuries, &c. 2,204,725  78,030,511  38,682,533  49.58 20.53

  Total  $211,530,759  $413,778,055   $188,379,397  45.55 100.00 


Shipbuilding was one of the earliest arts developed in the American colonies, and was prosecuted in the United States with the highest success until iron steamers began to drive out wooden sailing vessels. The following table (XXVIII.) exhibits the tonnage of the merchant marine of the country at ten-year intervals from 1790 to 1880:—

Date.  Sailing Vessels.   Steamers.  Total.

 1790   478,377 ...  478,377
 1800  972,492 ...  972,492
 1810 1,424,783 ... 1,424,783
 1820 1,280,167 ... 1,280,167
 1830 1,127,304  64,472 1,191,776
 1840 1,978,425 202,339 2,180,764
 1850 3,009,507 525,947 3,535,454
 1860 4,485,931 867,937 5,353,808
 1870 3,171,412 1,075,095  4,246,507
 1880 2,856,476 1,211,558   4,068,034 

The decline in the American shipping interest since its maximum in 1860 is greater than would appear from the foregoing table, since the aggregate is kept up by the large lake, river, and coast fleets engaged in the coasting trade, which is by law confined to American vessels. The decline in registered tonnage, i.e., that engaged in ocean traffic, since 1860 is shown by the following figures:—1860, 2,546,237 tons; 1865, 1,602,583; 1870, 1,516,800; 1875, 1,553,827; 1880, 1,352,810.

The decline above noted was due in the first instance to the war of 1861-65. About that time occurred the world-wide substitution of iron steamers for wooden sailing vessels or wooden steamers. In the new industry the American people have never achieved any marked success, while the law precludes the registering as American of vessels built abroad. Hence it is that the American merchant marine never recovered from the losses sustained between 1861 and 1865, and that the commerce of the country is carried on in an increasing proportion by foreign vessels. The latter fact is shown strikingly in the accompanying table (XXIX.) of exports and imports, in millions of dollars, carried in American and foreign vessels respectively.


 1860  507 255
 1865 167 437
 1870 353 639
 1875 314 885
 1880 280 1309 
 1885 223 1108 

In addition to the goods carried in vessels, about 57 million dollars' worth were in 1885 carried in cars and other land vehicles.

Banking and Currency.

Mention has already been made (see above p. 775, § 272) of the issue of legal tender paper money, by the national Government, in 1862, and (p. 776, § 280) of the establishment of the national banking system of 1863. Specie payments were resumed on January 1, 1879. The following statement (Table XXX.), prepared at the office of the United States treasurer, exhibits the classification of the circulating medium of the United States on June 30, 1887, stating separately the amount of each class which is in the United States treasury, in the national banks, and in circulation:

 In Treasury.   In National 
 In Circulation.  Total.

$ $ $ $
 Gold coin and bullion
 Gold certificates
 Silver certificates
 Silver dollars and bullion
 Subsidiary silver.
 National bank notes
 Legal tender notes
 Certificates of deposit, currency 
 Fractional currency, estimated
 Compound interest notes
 One and two year notes of 1863 
 Old demand notes
 State bank circulation
277,979,653 .61 
221,897,045 .77
26,963,934 .20
28,783,796 .79

98,137,439 .47
2,813,138 .80 

278,403,241 .92 
49,205,508 .23
243,414,877 .21



It needs to be stated that, in order to obtain the net circulating medium, the amounts given in the foregoing table should be reduced by the total amount of gold, silver, or currency certificates, inasmuch as the funds which these certificates represent are included in the aggregate. These deductions would leave the net amount $1,640,770,933. To obtain the amount actually in the hands of the people, it would also be necessary to deduct the quantities of the other elements held by the treasury and by the national banks. The following table (XXXI.) exhibits the coinage of the United States by successive periods from 1793 to 1887:—

Fiscal Years. Gold. Silver. Minor. Total.

 Average, 1793-1800  $101,429  $144,045  $7,939  $253,413 
 Average, 1801-1810 325,074  356,917  15,125  697,116 
 Average, 1811-1820 316,651  597,081  19,116  932,848 
 Average, 1821-1830 190,309  1,678,105  15,141  1,883,555 
 Average, 1831-1840 1,875,649  2,730,996  34,232  4,640,877 
 Average, 1841-1850 8,923,982  2,236,813  38,068  11,198,863 
 Average, 1851-1860 33,023,709  4,658,218  124,961  37,806,888 
 Average, 1861-1870 29,240,955  1,318,860  847,324  31,407,139 
 Average, 1871-1880 39,927,730  15,459,036  238,553  55,625,319 
 Actual,1881 78,733,864  27,649,967  405,110   106,788,941 
 Actual,1882 89,413,448  27,783,389  644,758  117,841,595 
 Actual,1883 35,936,928  28,835,470   1,428,307  66,200,705 
 Actual,1884 27,932,824  28,773,388  1,174,710  57,880,922 
 Actual,1885 24,861,124  28,848,960  527,557  54,237,641 
 Actual,1886 34,077,380  30,022,348  17,378  64,117,106 
 Actual,1887  22,393,279   34,366,484  943,651  57,703,414 

The following table (XXXII.) exhibits the resources and liabilities of the national banks, expressed in millions of dollars, on dates near the 1st of October of the years 1878, 1882, and 1886:—

Resources and Liabilities.  Oct. 1, 
 Oct. 3, 
 Oct. 7, 

 Loans 834.1 1243.2  1451.0 
 Bonds for Circulation 347.6 357.6 258.5
 Other United States Bonds  94.7  37.4  32.4
 Other Stocks, Bonds, &c.  36.9  66.2  81.8
 Due from other Banks 138.9 198.9 241.4
 Real Estate  46.7  46.5  54.1
 Specie  30.7 102.9 156.4
 Legal Tender Notes  64.4  63.2  62.8
 National Bank Notes  16.9  20.7  22.7
 Clearing House Exchanges  82.4 208.4  95.5
 United States Certificates of Deposit   32.7   8.7   5.9
 Due from the United States Treasury   16.5  17.2  14.0
 Other Resources  24.9  28.9  37.4

Totals 1767.3  2399.8  2513.9 

 Capital Stock 466.2 483.1 548.2
 Surplus Fund 116.9 132.0 157.2
 Undivided Profits  40.9  61.2  66.5
 Circulation 301.9 315.0 228.7
 Due to Depositors 668.4 1134.9  1189.8 
 Due to other Banks 165.1 259.9 308.6
 Other Liabilities   7.9  13.7  14.9

Totals 2165.8  2399.8  2513.9 

In this connexion is subjoined a statement of the resources and liabilities of the savings banks of the United States, 638 in number, expressed in millions of dollars, according to their annual reports for 1886 (Table XXXIII.).

Loans on Real Estate 418.4 
Loans on other Securities 127.7
United States Bonds 197.2
State and other Stock in Bonds  241.4
Railroad Bonds and Stocks  63.5
Bank Stock  39.0
Real Estate  31.0
Other Investments  79.0
Expenses    .1
Due from Banks  43.7
Cash  19.8
 Deposits 1141.5
 Other Liabilities  119.3

Total 1260.8

Total 1260.8

Interior Political Organization.

The United States is, as has been seen, divided into thirty-eight States, eight Territories, and the District of Columbia. Each State and Territory is in turn divided into more or fewer counties, except only in the case of Louisiana, where primary divisions of the State are called parishes, the functions and relations of the parish being, however, substantially the same as those of the counties of the surrounding States. The number of organized counties in 1880 was 2444. The number of unorganized counties upon the frontier, laid out upon the map but not yet sufficiently filled by population to justify the completion of their political organization, was 161. The number of organized counties in the several States has a wide range,—from 3 in Delaware, 5 in Rhode Island, 8 in Connecticut, 10 in New Hampshire, to 114 in Missouri, 117 in Kentucky, 137 in Georgia, 160 in Texas.

Counties and townships.The political function of the county differs widely among the several States. In general, it may be said that in the north-east, where the counties are few, the county bears but a slight relation to the affairs of the people. It is the unit of real estate record. Courts are, indeed, held at the county seat, but judges who have equal jurisdiction in other counties there administer laws which run equally over the entire State. The commissioners of the county have authority over certain main roads. This said, all is said. The county means almost nothing to the citizen. It is the so-called “town” (i.e., township) which in this region has the power to deal directly with schools, which administers poor relief, which builds and keeps in repair most of the roads and bridges, which has the charge of the public peace, which holds nearly all the authority which, by the laws of the State, is vested anywhere for promoting the general welfare. These “small elemental republics,” as President Jefferson called them, absorb a large part of the political interest of the people; their names are the objects of much affection and pride to their inhabitants; their boundaries can only be changed by the legislature of the State, and this is only done from important considerations of public convenience, and that too, generally, with their own consent.

On the other hand, in the South and extreme West, where the number of counties is very large, the county exercises or controls the exercise of nearly all the powers, excepting in the case of cities and incorporated towns, which by the laws of the State are conceded to any political agency. The geographical subdivisions of the county become here of comparatively little, sometimes of very little, importance. In some States their boundaries may be changed by county judges or county commissioners, for trivial, perhaps for purely temporary reasons. In some States these subdivisions of the county are little more than voting districts. In other States they are convenient units of political administration.

Midway, both geographically and politically, between the two groups which have been indicated, are many States, originally settled largely by emigrants from New England and New York, in which the political powers conceded by the constitution and laws of the several States are divided, not very unequally, between the county and the township. The county, as a whole, here takes charge of a very much larger range of public interest than in the north-east. On the other hand, the township has much of the political power and dignity which belongs to the New England town. The aggregate number of such subdivisions of counties in all the States and Territories, so far as ascertained, is 26,682.

Incorporated towns and cities.Law and usage differ very widely among the American States regarding the incorporation of cities, towns, and villages. In Massachusetts no town is incorporated of less than 10,000 inhabitants. In the West and South, villages of two and three hundred inhabitants are sometimes incorporated. In some cases, when a township acquires sufficient population it is made a city, embracing the entire area, including perhaps a large rural region. In other cases, only the closely occupied district is embraced within the municipal limits, and the township continues to maintain its political existence. In the latter class of cases it sometimes happens that the inhabitants of the borough or village are members of the township for certain purposes, though not for others; at other times the township and the borough, or incorporated village, become as distinct as if they were two townships or two boroughs. The number of incorporated cities in the United States is 969, of incorporated towns and villages 4,613, of boroughs 582. In two cases, New York and Philadelphia, a city makes up an entire county. In two cases, St Louis and Baltimore, a large city forms no part of a county. The District of Columbia has no county organization, while the city of Washington, contained therein, has no municipal charter.


The taxing powers within the United States are as follows:—

A. The national Government, whose revenue powers are only limited by—(a) the provision of the constitution which prohibits all duties on exports, and (b) the provision that all direct taxes must be levied in proportion to population,—a provision which deprives direct taxes of nearly all their efficiency for revenue purposes;

B. The several States, whose revenue powers are only limited by—(a) restrictions in their respective constitutions, and (b) the general principle that those powers must not be exercised in such a way as to contravene laws of the United States, or to destroy sources of the national revenue, although a State may prohibit within its borders the sale of liquors, from which the United States treasury derives a considerable part of its receipts.

C. Within each State, powers of taxation, to a determinate or to an indeterminate extent, as the case may be, are by the constitution and laws of the State conferred, almost always for strictly defined purposes, (1) upon counties, (2) upon cities, boroughs, and incorporated villages, and (3) in nearly all the States, though in widely varying degrees, upon the primary geographical divisions of counties, such as the “town” of New England and the “township” of the Middle and Western States.

The revenues of the several States, and of the counties, cities, townships, &c., are generally derived from direct taxes upon property, real and personal, although in some States licences and fees and taxes on franchises and incomes bear a not inconsiderable part. The revenues of the United States are, and have historically been, mainly derived from two species of indirect taxes, viz., customs duties on imports and excise duties on articles as produced or consumed within the country, notably liquors and tobacco. At three several periods, viz., 1800-02, 1814-17, and 1863-71, direct taxes have contributed considerable amounts to the national revenue. At times the proceeds of the sales of public lands have formed an important element of the receipts of the general Government; but in the main it has been the accepted policy to sell lands to actual settlers at rates so low as to be inconsistent with the object of revenue. Indeed, under the homestead law, large portions of the public domain have been given away to settlers, while even larger amounts have been alienated in aid of schools, public improvements, &c. A detailed table, prepared by Prof. A. B. Hart, shows that up to 1884 192,584,116 acres had been sold, 162,230,099 had been granted to States and corporations for internal improvements, and 325,901,100 had been granted (167,483,506 to individuals and 158,417,594 to States) for other purposes, making a total of 680,715,315 acres.

At the tenth census (1880) an effort was made to obtain statistics covering the amounts raised, in one year, under all the taxing powers authorized and exercised in the United States. The difficulty lay wholly in obtaining the facts relating to revenues collected by counties and by taxing agencies below the county. The aggregate results, as ascertained for 1879, were as follows (Table XXXIV.):

Receipts into the U.S. treasury (ordinary revenue) $272,322,137
Receipts into the State (or Territorial) treasuries   52,019,955
Receipts into the county treasuries   69,606,571

Receipts into the treasuries of cities, boroughs, or incorporated villages, and of townships and other subdivisions of counties


Total $584,980,614

Receipts and expenditure from 1791;The aggregate receipts into the United States treasury, beginning in 1791, have been (in millions of dollars) as follows:—from customs, 5642; from internal revenue, 3449; from direct taxes, 28; from public lands, 241; from bank dividends, 10; miscellaneous, 568; total, 9938. The net ordinary expenditures of the United States Government from 1791 to 1886 have been as follows (in millions of dollars):—war, 4563; navy, 1106; Indians, 230; pensions, 900; miscellaneous, 1938; total, 8737. The foregoing is exclusive of payments on account of the principal or interest of the public debt.

in 1886.The net ordinary receipts into the treasury for 1886 (the fiscal year ends June 30) were as follows: from customs, $192,905,023; from internal revenue, $116,805,937; from direct taxes, $108,240; from public lands, $5,630,999; miscellaneous, $20,989,528; total, $336,439,727. Of the receipts from internal revenue in 1886 $69,000,000 in round numbers were from spirits, $20,000,000 from fermented liquors, 28,000,000 from tobacco. The net ordinary expenditures for 1886 were as follows:—war, $34,324,153; navy, $13,907,888; Indians, $6,099,158; pensions, $63,404,864; miscellaneous, 74,166,929; total, $191,902,992. The foregoing statement is exclusive of payments on account of principal or interest of the public debt.

Public Debt.

The Government set out, in 1790, with a revolutionary debt of about 75 millions of dollars. This debt continued without important change until 1806, when a reduction began, continuing until 1812, when the debt was about 45 millions. The then ensuing war with England carried the debt up to 127 millions in 1816. This was reduced to 96 millions in 1819, to 84 millions in 1825, and to 24 millions in 1832, and in the three years following was extinguished. The crisis of 1837, and the financial difficulties ensuing, created indebtedness, fluctuating in amount, which at the beginning of the war with Mexico was about 16 millions. At the conclusion of peace the debt had risen to 63 millions, near which point it remained until about 1852, from which time successive reductions brought it down to 28 millions in 1857. The financial crisis of that year caused an increase, which continued until the imminence of the civil war, when it rose from 65 millions in 1860 to 91 millions in 1861, to 514 in 1862, to 1120 in 1863, to 1816 in 1864, to 2681 in June and its maximum (2845 millions) in August 1865.

Of the outstanding principal of the debt in 1886, 158 millions bore interest at 3 per cent., 738 millions at 4 per cent., 250 millions at 4½ per cent., making the interest-bearing debt 1146 millions. The debt bearing no interest amounted to 629 millions, making the aggregate 1775 millions. The cash in the treasury on the 1st of July of that year reached 493 millions, leaving the total debt, less cash in the treasury, 1282 millions. The annual interest-charge was at this date 45½ millions.

At the tenth census (1880) an effort was made to ascertain the indebtedness of all States, Territories, counties, cities, towns, townships, &c., with the following result (in millions of dollars): total funded debt, 1118; floating debt, 84; gross debt, 1202; sinking fund, 145; net debt, 1057. The total net debt was made up as follows (in millions of dollars):—debts of States and Territories, 234; debts of counties, 124; debts of townships, 32; debts of school districts, 17; debts of cities and towns, 649.


The number of pensioners on the rolls, June 30, 1887, with the amounts dne the several classes, at existing rates per year, will be found in the following table (XXXV.):—

Number. Amount.

 Army Invalids
Widows, &c. 
 Navy Invalids
Widows, &c.
 War of 1812 Survivors
Widows, &c.
 War with Mexico Survivors
Widows, &c.
 294,445  $36,063,345
  85,010   13,313,455
   3,281 429,288 
   1,973 405,288 
   1,069 103,392 
  11,831    1,703,664
   7,503 720,288 
895  85,920 

 406,007   $52,824,640 

Civil Service.

It is impossible to make even an approximation to the number of persons in the civil service within the United States, including the officers of States, counties, cities, towns, &c. There is no complete and exact statement available even as to those who are in the civil service of the national Government. An attempt has been made, for the present purpose, to reach an approximation to that number. This has been done by counting the names on 1200 pages of the blue-book of 1885, under the several heads there mentioned. Such a process involves a liability to minor errors, in addition to whatever duplications or omissions may occur in the printed lists. The results are offered merely as an approximation to facts. Legislative branch, 427; executive branch, 114,852; judicial branch, 2876; total, 118,155. The executive branch includes executive, 22; state department, 467; war department, 9050; navy department, 1637; interior department, 6115; treasury department, 14,505; post-office department, 79,110; department of agriculture, 203; national museum, 154; Fish Commission, 118; Government printing office, 2238; government of the District of Columbia, 1200; miscellaneous, 33.


The following table (XXXVI.) exhibits the personnel of the army on January 1, 1887:—

 Officers.   Enlisted 
 Professors.   Cadets. 

 General officers  10 ... ... ...
 Adjutant-general's department  17 ... ... ...
 Inspector-general's department   7 ... ... ...
 Judge-advocate-general;s dept.   8 ... ... ...
 Quartermaster's department  61 ... ... ...
 Subsistence department  26 ... ... ...
 Medical department 195 140  ... ...
 Pay department  48 ... ... ...
 Corps of engineers 109 450  ... ...
 Ordnance department  59 400  ... ...
 Signal corps  17 470  ... ...
 Post chaplains  30 ... ... ...
 Ten regiments of cavalry 432 7,970  ... ...
 Five regiments of artillery 230 2,650  ... ...
 Twenty-five regiments of infantry 877 12,625  ... ...
 Military academy ... ... 7 344
 Non-commissioned staff unattached to regiments ... 300  ... ...
 Enlisted men unattached to regiments ... 265  ... ...
 Indian scouts ... 200  ... ...
 General service clerks and messengers ... 170  ... ...

 Total regular army 2176  25,640  ... ...

 Organized and equipped militia, 1885 6535  75,175  ... ...


The following table (XXXVII.) exhibits the personnel of the navy on January 1, 1887:—

Commissioned officers, line  750
Commissioned officers, staff— 
 Medical department  163
 Pay department  111
 Engineers  228
 Other staff officers   64
Cadets  243
Non-commissioned officers  185
Enlisted men and boys 8250
Marine Corps.
Commissioned officers   73
Enlisted men 1500

The following table (XXXVIII.) exhibits the number of vessels constituting the navy of the United States, according to class and condition, on January 1, 1887:—

 Building or 

 First-rate armoured  1 ... 2
 Second-rate unarmoured 10 ... ...
 Third-rate armoured  1 12 5
 Third-rate unarmoured 17 ... 5
 Fourth-rate armoured ...  1 ...
 Fourth-rate unarmoured  4 ... 1
 Tugs 11  1 ...
 Sailing vessels 12 ... ...

Total 56 14 13 

Ten are unserviceable; 3 of these are used as receiving ships, the others condemned and authorized to be sold.


The institution, control, and maintenance of public schools are in the hands of the several States, although the United States Government has made liberal grants of lands, in aid of primary instruction, to the States formed out of the public domain, and also for the endowment of colleges of agriculture and the mechanic arts, to all the States.

The following table (XXXIX.) presents the leading features of the public school statistics at four dates between 1876 and 1886:—

 Enrolment.   Average Daily 
 Number of 
 Public School 

 1876   8,363,738 4,066,848 249,283 $84,005,333
1880  9,781,521 5,805,342 282,644  80,032,838
1885 11,169,923 6,900,625 319,549 110,384.607
1886 11,435,297 7,279,616 323,066 111,304,927

The so-called public schools, although differing widely as to efficiency between new States and old States, between rich States and poor States, all conform closely to a traditional type, except so far as differences arise according as schools are in sparsely or in densely settled districts through the opportunity for grading the pupils which exists in the latter case. As regards, however, schools giving instruction higher than or other than that given in the ordinary public school, the greatest and most confusing differences exist as to designation, organization, and schemes of instruction.

The following table (XL.) presents the results of the compilations of the statistics of schools of the various classes by the United States Bureau of Education:—

 Schools.   Teachers.  Pupils.

 Normal schools 153 1394   40,325
 Commercial and business colleges 239 1040   47,176
 Kindergartens 417 945  21,640
 Institutions for secondary instruction 1440  7566   151,050 
 Preparatory schools 197 1434   21,031
 Institutions for superior instruction of women 204 2123   27,143
 Universities and colleges 345 4720   67,642
 Schools of science  90 974  10,532
 Schools of theology 142 803   6,344
 Schools of law  49 283   3,054
 Schools of medicine, of dentistry, and of pharmacy  175 2829   16,407
 Training schools for nurses  29 139 837 
 Institutions for deaf and dumb  61 596   7,411
 Institutions for the blind  29 623   2,412
 Schools for feeble-minded children  16 636   2,942
 Reform schools  43 877   9,213
 Industrial and manual training schools  63 582  13,300


The census has since 1850 attempted to obtain the number of church edifices, with the aggregate number of sittings, belonging to each principal sect or denomination. The results have not been highly satisfactory, either as to accuracy or as to classification. At the census of 1880 the attempt to collect the statistics of churches proved an almost total failure. It seems best, therefore, to adopt, for the present purpose, the figures (Table XLI.) presented by the representatives of the various denominations, as they have been revised and digested by a competent authority, the Rev. Dr W. H. Dupuy, only adding the remark that no statement of this kind can be made to meet the views of all persons interested. The statement of Dr Dupuy does not include the Roman Catholic Church, whose authorities claim from six and a half to seven millions of adherents.

Table XLI.—Religious Denominations.

Denomination. Ministers. Members.

  Methodist 21,386  3,286,168 
 Independent Methodist
 Primitive Methodist
 Free Methodist
 American Wesleyan
 Congregationalist Methodist
 Protestant Methodist
 Union American M. E.
 Coloured M. E.
 African M. E. Zion
 African M. E.
 Methodist Episcopal South
 Methodist Episcopal
  Baptist 18,716  2,430,105 
 Six Principle
  Presbyterian 7,897  885,468 
 Presbyterian South
 Lutheran 3,025  569,389 
 Christian (Disciples of Christ) 2,658  556,941 
 Congregational 3,574  384,800 
  Episcopal 3,215  336,669 
 Reformed Episcopal
 Protestant Episcopal
 United Brethren 2,178  155,579 
 Reformed, in United States 755  154,003 
 United Evangelical 425  144,666 
 Evangelical Association 1,343  99,710 
  Adventist 746  89,333 
 Seventh Day
 The Brethren (Dunkards) 1,589  88,669 
 Reformed, in America 515  77,269 
 Friends 878  74,313 
 Mormon 3,816  72,684 
 Universalist 691  36,891 
 Church of God (Winebrennarian)  492  20,176 
 Unitarian 382  19,784 
 Moravian 103  16,127 
 Jewish 202  13,683 
 New Jerusalem (Swedenborgian)  92  5,538 
(F. A. W.)


  1. The reader will understand that these sums are not to be added together, as has been done in some statistical publications, yielding an aggregate somewhat larger than the entire population of the United States at the time. No. 1 is included in No. 4, which is itself included in both Nos. 2 and 3, which are in turn included in No. 5, which is the outside statement of that portion of the population whose members were either themselves born abroad, or who had either a father or mother born abroad.