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Chapter 2. The Constitution Rights and Race Intertwined. Chapter 2: Measuring Equality Whom Did the Framers Represent? p. 40. Characteristics of the Fifty-Five Framers[1] White 100% (55) Male 100% (55) Education University educated 56.4% (31) Institutions attended:

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chapter 2
Chapter 2
  • The Constitution

Rights and Race Intertwined

chapter 2 measuring equality whom did the framers represent p 40
Chapter 2: Measuring EqualityWhom Did the Framers Represent?p. 40

Characteristics of the Fifty-Five Framers[1]

  • White 100% (55)
  • Male 100% (55)
  • Education
  • University educated 56.4% (31)
    • Institutions attended:
    • Princeton (10)
    • Univ. of Pennsylvania (2)
    • Columbia College (2)
    • William & Mary (3)
    • Harvard (3)
    • Scottish universities (3)
    • Yale (4)
    • Middle & Inner Temple, London (6)
  • Occupation
  • Lawyer (only) 47.3% (26)
  • Lawyer & another profession 16.3% (9)
  • Government experience
  • Colonial/Military Official 94.5% (52)
  • Member of Continental Congress 74.5% (41)
  • Property ownership
  • Owned their residences 100% (55)
  • Owned lands used for farming 56.4% (31)
  • Owned slaves 31 % (17)
chapter 2 measuring equality whom did the framers represent cont
Chapter 2: Measuring EqualityWhom Did the Framers Represent? Cont.

Economic level[2]

Wealthy 10.9% (6)

Middle class/comfortable 76.3% (42)

Poverty-level 12.7% (7)

Characteristics of the General Population according to the 1790 Census[3]

Race

White 80.40% (3,140,531)

Slave Blacks 17.83% (694,207)

Free Blacks 1.52% (59,196)

Gender (White Population Only)

Males 50.92% (1,599,213)

Females 49.08% (1,541,318)

Education level[4]

“Most” White male children in the North attended school for 4-6 months a year from age 4 to 14.

“Substantial amount” of White male children in the South attended school for 4-6 months a year from age 4-14.

“Few” White male children in the West attended school or were literate.

“Very few” White male children attended college or university. [5]

“Very few” White female children received any formal classroom instruction

chapter 2 measuring equality whom did the framers represent cont1
Chapter 2: Measuring EqualityWhom Did the Framers Represent? Cont.

Significant Colonial Occupations[6]

  • Farmer
  • Lumbering
  • Fishing
  • Iron-mining
  • Trading in furs and skins
  • Production of naval stores

Property Ownership

White slave-owning families 11.6% (47,664)

Land owners: 13% of (1774 population)

People associated with slave owning: 7.2% (of White population in 1790);

6.13% (in 1774)

Economic level (in 1774)(category classifications were determined from the distribution of wealth)[7]

High wealth: Top 2% held 24.6% of the wealth

Middle wealth: Top 20% held 73.2% of the wealth

Low wealth: 70% held only 28.6% of the wealth

Very low wealth: Botton 10% owned 1.7% of the wealth (in other words they were in debt)

No Wealth: 81.53% of the population had no measurable wealth

chapter 2 measuring equality whom did the framers represent cont2
Chapter 2: Measuring EqualityWhom Did the Framers Represent? Cont.
  • [1]The U.S. Constitution: The Delegates. National Archives and Records Administration, http://www.gov/exhall/charters/constitution/confath.html; Forrest McDonald, We the People: The Economic Origins of the Constitution (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1958), Chapters 1-3.
  • [2]Information on economic levels were drawn from the Biographical Index of Our Founding Fathers, The National Archives and Record Administration, Washington, D.C. The category classifications were determined from language in the biographies. Actual dollar figures of wealth and income are not readily available.
  • [3]Unless otherwise indicated data are taken from the 1790 Census that surveyed population characteristics mainly.
  • [4]Carl F. Kaestle, Pillars of the Republic (New York: Hill and Wang, 1983); Genealogical Publishing Company, A Century of Population Growth (Baltimore: GPC, 1989).
  • [5]The 1790 Census indicated that there were 807,312 white males over the age of 16 in the country. A listing of the most prominent colleges and universities at the same time show a combined enrollment of 1,122 students (white males).
  • [6]Stella H. Sutherland, Population Distribution in Colonial America (New York: Columbia University Press, 1936), pg. xi.
  • [7]Jones, Alice Hanson, Wealth of a Nation to Be (New York: Columbia University Press, 1980); Jones, Alice Hanson, American Colonial Wealth (New York: Arno Press, 1977.)
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