A World History of Tax Rebellions: An Encyclopedia of Tax Rebels, Revolts, and Riots from Antiquity to the Present

A World History of Tax Rebellions: An Encyclopedia of Tax Rebels, Revolts, and Riots from Antiquity to the Present

A World History of Tax Rebellions: An Encyclopedia of Tax Rebels, Revolts, and Riots from Antiquity to the Present

A World History of Tax Rebellions: An Encyclopedia of Tax Rebels, Revolts, and Riots from Antiquity to the Present

Synopsis

A World History of Tax Rebellions is an exhaustive reference source for over 4,300 years of riots, rebellions, protests, and war triggered by abusive taxation and tax collecting systems around the world. Each of the chronologically arranged entries focuses on a specific historical event, analyzing its roots, and socio-economic context.

Excerpt

A World History of Tax Rebellions: An Encyclopedia of Tax Rebels, Revolts, and Riots from Antiquity to the Present provides a historical context to the long struggle against the payment of taxes through examples of tax rebellions throughout world history. Because taxation has often been onerous, and in many cases excessive and cruel, reaction to its enforcement has been consistent, heated, and even violent. Tax revolts or protests date at least to the Later Han dynasty (AD 25-AD 220) in Asia, to the era of Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC) in Babylon, and to the Roman Empire (27 BC-AD 337) in Europe. They persist to the present, as evidenced by Proposition 13 in California and similar subsequent tax reversal initiatives. Many major historic events, such as the Magna Carta, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution of 1789 originated largely as tax revolts. This circumstance alone suggests that tax revolts and tax protests are far more complex than the terms themselves imply-their motivations and ramifications most often go well beyond issues of taxation or even still broader economic considerations.

Thus tax revolts and protests frequently subsume larger economic, political, social, and even religious issues. Taxation often simply provides the ostensible cause for protest and insurrection, especially since taxes afford a ubiquitous, detested, and identifiable target of opposition. The underlying issues motivating the tax protesters may be too diverse, complex, or subtle to evoke the clear focus needed for effective protest; but nearly everyone understands taxes at the most personal and visceral level. Most people also apparently chafe under the perception of taxes as an inescapable burden, irritant, or inequity. As Benjamin Franklin's dictum states, "in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes," and many citizens at certain times may have felt that the possibility of escaping the former actually seemed greater than that for the latter. Taxes, however, are at least corporate and tangible-almost everyone pays them, usually in hard currency or goods-so that disgruntlement and objection come easily.

Franklin's dictum is, of course, based on historic reality. Taxes appear to have coincided with the beginnings of advanced civilization. The ancient states of Persia, Greece, Egypt, and Rome all had sources of revenue based on forms of taxation, ultimately including taxes on real property, sales, and inheritances and customs duties. Unfortunately, official or other documents for many ancient nations or regions have been long since lost to time and decay, so that there is no way of knowing about either their systems of taxation or any possible protests. Furthermore, the extant historic records for many of these ancient states are skimpy, providing incomplete information at best. Consequently, events from the Middle Ages to the present compose the bulk of this book.

A World History of Tax Rebellions: An Encyclopedia of Tax Rebels, Revolts, and Riots from Antiquity to the Present contains entries categorized into different time periods and arranged in chronological order; entries on individuals involved in those revolts; an appendix that lists entries by country or region; a general bibliography; and an analytical index. The entries are global in scope and range in time from antiquity to the present. Included are entries depicting not only openly rebellious events but also orderly protests and forms of avoidance. Avoidance, although perhaps not overtly insurrectionist, has been a significant act of resistance to taxation, especially if it results in changes to laws or policies governing tax systems. Each entry concisely traces the origins of a particular tax revolt

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