MORTON ROTHSTEIN SAMUEL T. McSEVENEY PHILIP J. JR. GREVEN ROBERT ZEMSKY and JOEL SILBEY
A little more than ten years ago Lee Benson first pleaded for more precision in the study of American political history through the systematic use of electoral statistics. The next year Alfred Conrad and John Meyer published the first of their pathbreaking quantitative analyses of the profitability of slavery. Within a few years Benson himself published a far-reaching quantitative examination of the politics of Jacksonian America, and the pioneering population and mobility studies of Sam B. Warner and Stephan Thernstrom dramatized the way extensive quantitative commitment could deepen and revise social history.1 Of course, others had already been advocating similar approaches, and in other disciplines scholars had used statistics in a variety of ways for some time. But these publications were important points of departure for the current interest in and use of quantification in American history.
Although the work of Benson, Conrad, Meyer, Thernstrom, et al. has appeared to some as the opening wedge for a new type of the ongoing treason of the intellectuals, and although, perhaps, there has