The United State Census: Centerpiece of Representative Democracy


…As the accuracy of the census to be obtained by the Congress will necessarily depend, in a considerable degree in the disposition, if not the cooperation of the States, it is of great importance that the States should feel as little bias as possible to swell or to reduce the amount of their numbers. Were their share of the representation alone to be governed by this rule, they would have an interest in exaggerating their inhabitants. Were the rule to decide their share of taxation alone, a contrary temptation would prevail. By extending the rule to both objects, the States will have opposite interests, which will control and balance each other, and produce the requisite impartiality.


From: The Federalist Papers No. 54, “The Apportionment of Members Among the States” from the New York Packet, Tuesday, February 12, 1788, author: Hamilton or Madison.

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Title page from published copy of The Federalist Papers, 1799. Source: Library of Congress  

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