Catalog of Holdings

Study Report

Study Number: QB-009-001-1-1-United States-ICPSR-1828

Subject Area: Community Structure

Bibliographic Citation: Political power in Boston, Massachusetts and Charleston, South Carolina, 1828-1843.  [machine-readable data file] / Pease, Jane H.  [principal investigator(s)] / Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research  [distributor].

Originating Archive Number: 8653

Access Status: Access limited to UW-Madison campus

Documentation: 1 volume hard copy.

Abstract: This study examined public records from two major port cities on the east coast of the United States in order to understand how urban centers functioned in antebellum America. The history, culture, and inhabitants of both cities were examined to compare the mechanisms of urban decision-making as they related to national economic and political circumstances. Demographic information was collected on a broad spectrum of individuals from both cities to gather as complete a picture as possible of those who wielded influence or power in the decisions undertaken in Boston and Charleston in response to the economic conditions of the period from 1828 to 1843. Variables in the dataset include the names of individuals, their gender, marital status, occupation, residence, location of business, birth and death dates, place of birth and nationality, political affiliation, church membership, fire and militia company association, professional, religious and/or philanthropic interests, business and corporate affiliations, property holdings, educational experiences, and political offices served.

SOURCE: City directories, tax rolls, probate records, and land deeds from Boston and Charleston (1828-1843), federal manuscript censuses of 1830 and 1840, various daily newspapers and municipal, church, club, philanthropic, and corporate records-both manuscript and published

UNIVERSE: Adult population of the cities of Boston and Charleston from 1828 to 1843.

SAMPLE: All members of the elite in Boston (4,403) and in Charleston (2,308) who because of their occupation, political or social position, or wealth were likely to exercise influence and power in their communities, and a random sample of those who did not qualify as members of the elite. In Boston these included pro-Bank of the United States petitioners, anti-Bank of the United States petitioners, jurors, and firemen. In Charleston, jurors, voters, and firemen were sampled as members of the non-elite community.

NOTE: Although this collection has only two parts, one for Boston and one for Charleston, it includes nine separate groups of individuals representing the universe of elite members and a sample of non-elite members in both cities. The principal investigators emphasize that the arrangement and nature of the variables differ between the two cities.


DATA TYPE: individual-level public record data


TIME PERIOD: 1828-1843


FUNDING AGENCY: University of Maine Faculty Research Grants, American Philosophical Society Grant-in-aid, National Endowment for the Humanities, and National Science Foundation.

GRANT NUMBER: RS 20093 (NEH), and SES-8023796 (NSF)

SUBJECT TERMS: antebellum South. charity. churches. communities. community decision-making. community elites. community participation. community power. decision-making. demographic characteristics. economic conditions. education. financial assets. landowners. occupations. philanthropy. political activities. political attitudes and behavior. political culture. political history. political participation. political party preference. political system characteristics. real estate values. religion. socioeconomic indicators. urban affairs. vital statistics. work. Massachusetts-Boston. South Carolina-Charleston. United States.


Pease, William H. and Jane H. Pease. THE WEB OF PROGRESS: PRIVATE VALUES AND PUBLIC STYLES IN BOSTON AND CHARLESTON, 1828-1843. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.

Media/File Reports:

ICPSR Direct