James A. Garfield
1869 - James A. Garfield, then a congressman from Ohio, announced a new kind of history, based on statistics, to his colleagues in the House of Representatives.
“The developments of statistics are causing history to be rewritten.
Till recently, the historian studied nations in the aggregate, and gave us only the story of princes, dynasties, sieges, and battles…
Now, statistical inquiry leads him into the hovels, homes, workshops, mines, fields, prisons, hospitals, and all other places where human nature displays its weakness and its strength. In these explorations he discovers the seeds of national growth and decay, and thus becomes the prophet of his generation.”
From a speech about the Ninth Census that James A. Garfield (Representative from Ohio) delivered in the House of Representatives, December 16, 1869.
The First Measured Century: Preface
James A. Garfield. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.