Good evening. Or a fine morning to you, whatever the case may be. I am working on a project in my spare time. Some of the data I am collecting might make for good blog posts.
Anyway, there are a few things whose trajectory I’d like to measure historically. I have come up ideas for most of them, but there are a few for which I wouldn’t mind if somebody had a better idea than the one I came up with. Here are the ones that are troubling me. From colonial times to the present, I would like to find proxy variables for:
1. Social cohesion (i.e., how strong it is, and how strong it is perceived to be)
2. Equality under the law (i.e., whether it exists, and whether it is perceived to exist)
4. Conflict between the Federal Government and the States
5. Conflict between the Executive and Judicial Branch
To use #2 as an example, obviously equality of the law increased with the Emancipation Proclamation, and again, as the suffragette movement gained strength. One potential measure for this would be percentage of the adult population that is eligible to vote. However, that leaves out other forms of inequality before the law, including (but obviously not limited to) other discriminatory restrictions on voting. No measure of any social value will be perfect, but good proxy measures for the five listed above would be appreciated. Bonus points if the data is readily available going back to the Colonial period.