Article I Section 2
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Article I Section 2

[Music] Hello, I’m Robert Groves, Director of the U.S.
Census Bureau. I’m coming to you today from the
library of James Madison’s home- one of the Fathers of
the U.S. Constitution. Together with Thomas Jefferson,
Madison made sure that enshrined in our constitution
was the requirement that every 10 years the new
nation would conduct a census of the entire population
of America. In fact, the library floor
over here is stained with ink from when Madison
wrote the first drafts of the Virginia Plan that
later became our Constitution. I’ve devoted my professional
career to the science of statistics-not
history-yet being in this room profoundly
reminds me of my own personal civic
obligation to participate in the census, and
ensure we get it right. Article 1, section 2 of
the constitution requires that we conduct a
census every 10 years to ensure the fair allocation
of representatives in Congress. Thus, when we had the smallest
of all Federal governments, just four cabinet departments,
War, Justice, Treasury and State, even then
there was a census. That uniquely American idea was
huge in world political history. For more than two
centuries it has been part of the fabric of this country. The American constitution
was the first to use a census to empower the people
over their government, instead of the other way around. As Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson supervised
the first U.S. Census in 1790. Then local federal marshals
and their assistants went door to door asking six questions. Later Jefferson reported to President George Washington
a final count of fewer than 4 million people. Today, we’ve grown
into a country of more than 300 million, but the
2010 census form is very much like the original
one that Madison and Jefferson helped
design for 1790. All of us at the Census
Bureau are passionate about our role in
this civic moment. Each of us is sworn for life to protect the confidentiality
of your answers. The data we collect
are used only to produce statistics
for the common good. To learn more about the
census and the constitution, please visit

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