Heather Cox Richardson: How Republicans Once Championed the Federal Income TaxRoundup: Historians' Take
tags: Republican Party, Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, income tax, Heather Cox Richardson
Heather Cox Richardson is a professor of history at Boston College and the president of the Historical Society. The opinions expressed are her own
The government has the right to “demand” 99 percent of a man’s property when the nation needs it.
That was the argument made by a Republican congressman in 1862 to introduce a novel idea: the federal income tax.
The Civil War was then costing the Treasury $2 million a day. To pay for uniforms, guns, food, mules, wagons, bounties and burials, Congress had issued hundreds of millions of dollars of bonds and paper money. But Republicans had a horror of debt and the runaway inflation that paper currency usually caused.
Taxes were the obvious answer. A conservative Republican newspaper declared: “There is not the slightest objection raised in any loyal quarter to as much taxation as may be necessary.”...
comments powered by Disqus
- Smithsonian launches campaign to raise $10 million for women’s history initiative
- Trump Was Not Always So Linguistically Challenged
- 75th anniversary of the World War 2 black uprising that the American public never heard about
- Longest serving governor in U.S. history to resign after confirmation as Trump's ambassador to China
- Did the First Human Ancestor Emerge in Europe, Not Africa?
- Jill Lepore: Americans Aren't Just Divided Politically, They're Divided Over History Too
- AHA joins protest of Trump’s plan for drastic cuts to the NEH
- Diane Ravitch says the Democrats paved the way for the education secretary's efforts to privatize our public schools
- Mark Moyar explains why he came to believe the Vietnam War was winnable
- How should Texas high schoolers learn history?