The Constitution apportioned the First House of Representatives in the year 1789 before the Constitution was even finalized by the delegates. The delegates haggled excessively in Convention over the average number of residents each delegate should be expected to represent. The number was particularly important to those delegates who believed representatives were not able to execute their responsibilities if they did not maintain frequent and thorough communication among all their residents in the issues before the House of Representative, and what the people’s thoughts were on the issues. On the subject of census was clearly in favor of a large number of Representatives thus creating a small number of persons represented per representative. Madison wrote in Federalist No. 55, that a too-small number of Representatives will be incapable of validly representing a too-large number of persons. Public interest would lag and a proper knowledge of the local circumstances would wane. Notwithstanding, the delegates to the Convention approved the First Congress having sixty-five members in the House of Representatives; a number Madison believed was too small and should have been twice that size.
“Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 states the distribution of representatives to each State of the First Congress as being: “New Hampshire 3, Massachusetts 8, Rhode Island and Providence Plantation 1, Connecticut 5, New York 6, New Jersey 4, Pennsylvania 8, Delaware 1, Maryland 6, Virginia 10, North Carolina 5, South Carolina 5, and Georgia 3. In the future, the number of representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but no state shall have less than one representative, until such enumeration shall be made. Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3, goes on to say: The actual Enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct.”
There is written testimony that Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist No. 36, Thomas Jefferson in a 1791 letter discussing the first census indicated the census is founded on actual returns, as opposed to “being conjectured.” The First Census in 1790 required an actual accounting! Furthermore, the census takers were required to swear an oath to “truly cause to be made, a just and perfect enumeration and description of all persons resident within their districts.” Thus, all persons were counted in the enumeration, but the enumeration also included such data as names, age, white males of adult age and separately white children less than adult, and importantly numbers of slaves. The later were discounted at three-fifths of the white males in the total. The Census also included such data as certain assets that were described on the form that would be subject to taxation on a per capital basis, as required in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.
In 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution removed the requirement that all taxes on income from whatever sources derived were thereafter without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration. Also, when the Supreme Court determined the meaning of the “Spending Clause”, Article One, Section Eight, Clause One of the Constitution, to permit Congress to appropriate spending for “the general welfare” in Helvering v. Davis (1937) the political stakes applicable to the results of the census among the States became tantamount. Thereafter, the census has become a life and death matter among States and their governments officers, from governors, members of Congress, mayors of cities, county executives and application to identity politic and dispensing of power. It is fraught with money and cunning and carried out up to the level of the Supreme Court with respect to the 2020 Census.
Once the Census Enumeration is completed – accurate population by state — the allocation of the number of seats in the House of Representatives for political purposes is a fixed calculation, not subject to being fiddled-with for political gain. When the enumeration is completed, the next step is to apportion the seats of the House of Representatives among the States on the basis of their respective populations. They remain so apportioned until the next decennial census. Since incumbents have advantages in elections, the ten-year period of the census acts favorably for the party in power.
Publioustoo.com August 28, 2022