1850 Questionnaire
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1850 Questionnaire

In March 1849, Congress enacted a bill establishing a census board whose membership consisted of the secretary of state, the attorney general, and the postmaster general. The law authorized this board to prepare and cause to be printed such forms and schedules as may be necessary for the full enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States; it also authorized the board to prepare forms and schedules for collecting information on mines, agriculture, commerce, manufactures, education, and other topics, as well as "exhibit a full view of the pursuits, industry, education, and resources of the country."

The seventh census was governed by the provisions of an act of May 23, 1850, that directed six schedules be used to collect the information requested by Congress and directed enumerators to return their results to the secretary of the interior by November 1, 1850.