The Civil War Income Tax and the Republican Party, 1861-1872

The Civil War Income Tax and the Republican Party, 1861-1872

The Civil War Income Tax and the Republican Party, 1861-1872

The Civil War Income Tax and the Republican Party, 1861-1872

Excerpt

“Sir, the income tax must go. It must not be continued. It has already lived too long
for the good of the country.”

“I think the principle of taxing a man who is worth twenty thousand dollars more
in proportion to his wealth is an unjust one.”

“In a republican form of government the true theory is to make no distinctions as
to persons in the rates of taxation. Recognizing no class for special favors, we
ought not create a class for special burdens.”

These quotes may sound like something out of a recent right-wing Republican campaign rally. Certainly, numerous members of the Grand Old Party in the last half-century have articulated such scorching rhetoric against the income tax. These words conjure images of anti-income tax Republicans such as Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay or George W. Bush giving firebrand speeches to the core of their party’s base. The Republican Party consistently presents itself as the party of lower taxes, and, in some cases, sponsors the elimination of the income tax in favor of other forms of taxation—for example, a national sales tax. Was it always this way? When did this opposition to taxes begin in the Party? Obviously, this principle of the G.O.P. started somewhere, and surprisingly that

The Congressional Globe: Official Proceedings of Congress, 41 Congress, 2 Session (Washington, D.C.: John C. Rives, 1870), 4709.

The Congressional Globe: Official Proceedings of Congress, 38 Congress, 1 Session (Washington, D.C.: John C. Rives, 1864), 1876.

The Congressional Globe: Official Proceedings of Congress, 39 Congress, 1 Session (Washington, D.C.: John C. Rives, 1866), 2437.

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