Chapter

Unlimited Taxation, Public Credit, and the Strength of Government

Max. M Edling

in A Revolution in Favor of Government

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780195148701
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835096 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195148703.003.0012
Unlimited Taxation, Public Credit, and the Strength of Government

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Provides the layout of the Federalist argument that Congress had to possess an unlimited power to raise men and money from American society without any intervention from the states. While the following chapter looks in greater depth at Antifederalist objections to the federal fiscal powers of the US Constitution, here the concern is solely with the restrictions to this power that they suggested in the form of amendments. The reasons are discussed as to why the Federalists refused to accept these Antifederalist amendments (and indeed any restrictions on the fiscal power of Congress other than those already written into the Constitution), repeatedly and forcefully making it clear why it was crucial that no restrictions be placed on the right of Congress to extract money from society by means of taxation. The different sections of the chapter argue that the need for an unbridled federal right to raise tax revenue arose from the conviction that Congress had to have full command over all the resources of the nation in times of crisis. Primarily, this was needed so that the government could borrow money abroad and at home, which suggests that the Federalists designed the Constitution as much for future challenges as for present problems, and that for this reason, they refused to let the powers of the national government be defined by the demands on the union existing in the late 1780s, but instead strove to create a government with powers sufficiently extensive to safeguard the union's future existence, in peace as well as in war.

Keywords: Antifederalism; Federalism; fiscal powers; national government; public credit; taxation; US Congress; US Constitution; USA; unlimited taxation

Chapter.  6128 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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