While researching my second book, For the Defense of Themselves and the State, I found myself confronting an interesting coincidence: antebellum laws regulating the carrying of concealed weapons were found almost entirely in the slave states. Except for Indiana, no free state regulated the carrying of concealed weapons until after the end of slavery. In contrast, nearly every slave state adopted some regulations or prohibitions on the carrying of arms. I considered the possibility that the growth of free black populations in the Southern states motivated the introduction of these laws.
To test that hypothesis, I went looking for percentages of free black population by state. While raw census data were easy to find, it was not so easy to find free black percentages by state. True, I could compute them easily enough, but that was not my primary interest at the time. Even a table of percentages for any particular census was not really what I wanted. When most people look for trends, a table of percentages is much less convenient to read than a graph. This is why I have produced this volume of tables and graphs.
Who will use this book? Writers of history books will find the graphs a useful way to communicate the changing nature of the American black population before the Civil War. Some historians will find this work useful for exactly the same reason that I did--to find quickly statistical evidence that might either support or disprove a hypothesis. It is my hope, however, that historians will
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Publication information: Book title: Black Demographic Data, 1790-1860:A Sourcebook. Contributors: Clayton E. Cramer - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1997. Page number: vii.
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