8th Albany Militia Visual Draft

My first visualization looks at the relationship between the Albany 8th County Militia, their place of birth, their age and the “complexion” that each man is marked as. The use of complexion in this graph is not to examine any person in the militia based off of looks or bias, but rather to understand better the racial identity of the men of the militia. The graph itself is a stacked bar graph that a mix of textual and visual data. In order to fit all these categories into one graph, it not only had to use both of these types of data, but also required the graph to be broken down into sections. Initially the graph separates the men from each place of origin. Origins other than the United States are specifically labelled by their country. In comparison births in the United States are broken down into states in which they were born. This is further broken down if the birth was in New York, due to the majority of births in the United states being in New York. The New York births are divided into county or area of of birth, since the counties of Western and Northern New York have changed considerably since the American Revolution. From within the category of the location of birth, the graph is further broken down by complexion. These categories divide by the broad skin based or racial complexions. Indians, blacks and mulattos are generally labelled by race while the rest merely state generally skin tone, or in the case of dark and brown, hair color. Its from this category that bars on the graph are representative of, visually showing the number of each complexion. These bars break down into the last category of age. The bars are broken into color coded sections, each representative of an age range. These ranges are each roughly ten years, except for teens, as one had to be 16 to join a militia. A filter to the right edge of the graph allows the viewer of the graph to see specifically whatever specific category they want in terms of age and complexion.

The story or point of this graph was to show the general story of the men of the 8th Albany Militia. Specifically to answer who were the these people who decided to answer the patriot call to arms for their ideas of freedom and rule. From what Ive read on the Revolution I know it was not the grand, united, nationalist, patriotic fight against tyranny that we are generally lead to believe. Generally it was about normal people, many with little to no opinion on the matter, caught in the ideas and fights of who could run this land better. This visualization I believe goes a long way in showing a story of the men who fought in the Revolution. In the country of origin section I think we see the most interesting piece of the story. That being that a majority of the men fighting were not born in America, but rather Ireland, Germany and England. Three countries, that in one way or another, the patriots fought in the revolution. The Germans fighting on the British side were mostly from Hanover and the Irish were more utilized by the British rather than willingly fought us. Still its fascinating to see that the men fighting for the patriots were from the same places that they fought against. These men were generally not blue blooded American born patriots but recent immigrants. I cant vouch for there motives in fighting but I cant say its for freedom from tyranny. The complexion section tells a different but equally interesting story. While many men were from these North-Western European countries, those men were generally same in the complexion. Essentially they were mostly fair and pale, brown and dark(in this case meaning hair color, not skin tone). This is fairly standard for Western European countries. What I find interesting is that when we look at American locations of birth, we now see the diversity. Indians, blacks and mulattos pepper the categories. While not high numbers, the presence of minorities shows two things. One the willingness of minorities to fight and die for the patriot cause, and two the beginnings of the boiling pot culture America is known for. Even so early in America’s history, the country shows its blending of peoples together for a single vision. Finally the age category shows a trend that while not too shocking is interesting. A majority of the men who are in the militia are young, with twenties being the highest age range. Also surprising is that teenagers are the third highest age range, surpassing forties and fifties. These two points of information may say something about the willingness of young people to fight for a cause they believe, but probably just points to the greater numbers of young people that are able to actually fight.

I chose these three major categories of age, complexion and place of birth because as I said earlier I wanted to show a broad picture of the men who were fighting for the patriot cause. While one cities data cant speak for a whole nation, I think it can show at least some interesting views of Albany’s Revolutionary history. I felt that based on the information given on the muster role, that these three categories not only best showed that picture of Albany’s fighting men, but could also all work together on one graph. My original plan was to use a map to show visually the locations of the company’s births, but ran into some problems. Mainly that the geodimensions made you pick either county/region, state/province or country. With my data including all three of those and feeling that none of them could or should be compromised for the sake of a map, I scraped that idea I tested the other visualizations. None of the other visualizations I felt could fit all this information I wanted to put in very clearly, so I chose the stacked bar graph. For tall three categories I had to group together certain similar divisions to make the graph actually readable. For location of birth I had to group specific cities together, for complexion I had to group similar tones or hair colors and for age I decided to divide it into ten year intervals. From there I decided that since the locations were the most numerous category that it should be the first to be divided. This allowed the less dividing complexion and age to both share the bars on the bar graph. With age having the fewest possibilities I decided to divide each bar by age to make it easily readable. Choosing the colors for the age divisions I decided to make each division one color interval different. That way it would be easy to know what age range your looking at. The older you were going, the closer to green (and then yellow) you were going.

One thought on “8th Albany Militia Visual Draft

  • May 2, 2016 at 6:52 PM

    Remember that for the final submission you’ll need to embed the visualization in your post–the embed code is available in the three dots share icon of each visualization on your tableau profile. You’ve also got frequent typos and dropped apostrophes (I’ve, it’s, can’t), so make sure to leave yourself time to proofread carefully.

    You’ve got good general organization, but your second section has a couple of competing subtopics–you talk about the big picture, places of birth, and race. Obviously these are related, but break up the subtopics into their own paragraphs so that your reader can more easily follow the connections you see.

    Make sure you cite the other scholars you’re drawing background information from–even for something as broad as the Revolution not being entirely unified. There are as many different opinions on the Revolution as there are books, so it matters to be specific who you’re referencing–Gordon Wood’s messy Revolution is very different than Woody Holton’s, for example. This will be especially true once you get to the history capstone.

    Your last section is a very good narrative of the hows and whys of your presentation–but what about the whys of the patterns you see? What’s it mean that you’ve got men characterized as black born in Germany? (And related, what happened to the Negro category in your data? Did you filter it out for some reason?) What are the important patterns that you see and what do they tell us about the big picture of the Albany Militia?

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