Most people are so accustomed to doing a census, they never question its constitutional validity. After all, the word census does appear in The Constitution (Article 1, Section 9, Clause 4; and Amendment 16) so it must be "constitutional".... Right?
Get this. It must be authorized because the government has been doing it for so long.
When you do a word search in The Constitution of the United States of America, and for dramatic effect and better comprehension, we start the word search for census from the end of The Constitution and work our way to the start of The Constitution.
You may have your own paper or digitized copy, you may find any number or reliable searchable transcripts of the entire Constitution with all the Amendments, or you may us the searchable content of this website for The Constitution of the United States of America.
The very last mention of the word census appears in Amendment 16, which states: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."
Now, we must deal with two words, census and enumeration. Here, both of them are expressly prohibited.
As we search towards the beginning of The Constitution of the United States of America, the next appearance is: Article 1, Section 9, Clause 4, which states: "No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken."
Once again, the two words, census and enumeration appear together. Here, there is a clue as to whether or not a census and enumeration are the same thing, as apples and apples are the same type of fruit. Or: Are they as different as apples and oranges, but similar in that they both are fruits?
The clue from Article 1, Section 9, Clause 4 resides in these words, "herein before directed to be taken".
So.... Somewhere prior to Article 1, Section 9, Clause 4, one or the other; census or an enumeration; were authorized for government to conduct.
Continuing our search towards the beginning of The Constitution we must now search for each word, as they may appear together or individually.
The word census no longer appears in The Constitution. However, the word enumeration appears twice in Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3, which states: "Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. 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. . . and until such enumeration shall be made. . ." (the italicized portion above is said to have been altered by a later amendment).
No place in the US Constitution does it grant to Congress the power to conduct a census — only an enumeration. It also expressly defines the scope and purpose for that enumeration. The power to count the numbers of the people. Not the power to invade their private lives with a general census as the after-the-fact definitions appear to authorize and support, as seen below.
Yes. Now we know that The Constitution of the United States of America uses both, census and enumeration.
We do two things here: One, define each term (census and enumeration) as to what they meant in 1785. Then: Determine which one, if not both, that the Constitution actually grants to Congress to use.
First, we do a timeline of "Census" from 1710 through 1898.
The word census did not appear in this dictionary. Censor, was the closest. We will recognize the evolution of the word that speaks of the duties of the officer who gathers the stated information. To this point, as we see later, in Webster's definitions (1828 and 1898 editions, after the fact) he is accurate, as to the information gathered. However, Webster begins to unconstitutionally amend The Constitution's definition for enumeration, to be that of a census.
The word evolution continues. Still, no definition for census (at least in these dictionaries). This definition seems to have lost the collection of information; but has become what we call censorship that is most familiar with works of art, movies, literature.
Here, the word census has taken over the word censor and retains nearly the same definition as censor from 1710. However, it does look a lot like The Constitution's definition for Enumeration.
In the 1720 definition of censor, it mentions to value the Estate of every Citizen.
However, this, long after the 1790 ratification date for The Constitution, it combines enumeration into a part of a census; when in fact, by constitutional definition for Enumeration; an enumeration can be part of a census; but a census is far more detailed regarding the types of information collected.
This is where many people unnecessarily confuse themselves. Noah Webster was an influential character during The Declaration and The Constitution. Being present, people assume that he is the best person from whom to get Constitutional definitions. So people use this one and declare that the census and the enumeration are the same thing (apples and apples).
Here, the statement, "A general census of the United States was first taken in 1790, and one has been taken at the end of every ten years since" literally amends The Constitution, by indicating that it was a census that was authorized; when, as we saw earlier, it was not! This is some of the best evidence that we must be cautioned about what definitions we allow to be used to define various works.
As for the definitions for enumeration, we take into account three resources, a 1756 dictionary, a 1785 dictionary, and The Constitution itself, at Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3. Ultimately, we must only use the definition contained within The Constitution itself; for it specifies the exact limitations on the power granted to Congress.
Here, The Constitution details exactly what Congress is allowed to collect. The numbers of people. (period).
Not their estates, etc. Just the numbers of people for the sole purpose of determining how many representatives each State may have in The House of Congress. As well as apportioning the taxes among the states, based on the population of each state. This is not authorizing a direct tax on individual, which would then needs authorize a census, in order to collect estate financials.
The present application of the Income Tax Code, with the information it requires of the individual to provide, is by common-use definition a census, which The Constitution expressly prohibits, by not granting that power to Congress.
NOTE: See more regarding the Wage-Tax and the Income-Tax; and whether they are constitutionally applied or not. This will shock, and I hope even anger you to the point we begin working together to Clean up our government and make it Honest, for the first time in our nation's history.
The page about our Actual Vote-Count should already have you there.
Repeat: Un-Constitutionality of Census
This goes to show that we must be cautious about how our new after-the-fact dictionaries alter the way we look at our world and government powers. Dictionaries are not supposed to change the meaning of The Declaration, The Constitution, laws or other contracts.
All government services must be equally available to all citizens. This makes the census unnecessary with Clean Honest Government.
The only use government has for a census is to figure how to generate votes to get re-elected, so as to successfully promise opposing groups different things to get their votes, as well as manipulate the voting district lines (Also SEE Constitutional Executive Orders the census section).