Lincoln’s Death, New Nation: April 1865 to 1877

Lincoln Compared to Other Great Presidents

Speaking of old age and sickness, what did the Census of 1870 reveal about the population?

First, and most striking, is the fact that the total United States population increased from 31,443,000 in 1860 to 38,558,000 in 1870, an increase of seventeen percent. This happened despite the fact that 750,000 men—by our best estimate—died in the four years of war. Even when one accounts for the level of foreign migration, this represents a surprising, even staggering, achievement.

Second, and to few people’s surprise, the ratio of men to women in the total population fell significantly between 1860 and 1870. This was especially the case in the Southern states, where the image of the well-bred “Southern widow” remained for decades. A woman of the working class could, and usually did, marry, regardless of the man’s prospects, but a proper Southern lady had to find her equal. He was increasingly difficult to find because so many of that class and station had perished during the war.


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