Taxes have been a part of American history since the colonial days. Colonists saw taxes as a symbol of dependence to England before the Revolutionary War. After the war, taxes were symbolic of independence. The creation of taxes has been difficult. Taxes in U.S. history have been used to increase revenue and influence behavior. Regardless of the reason behind the taxes, legislators work for fairness in taxation.
Read the following statements about taxes made by individuals from the past. Choose the reason for the tax by clicking on the correct answer. To assess your answers, click the Check My Answers button at the bottom of the page.
1) An advocate of tax reform in the 1890s: "Excise taxes and tariffs on imported goods fall heavily on the poor. They spend more of their income on taxed goods than the rich do. We need an income tax that will tax the rich and leave the poor alone."
2) Tax advisor to President Washington: "One way to meet our bills is to tax whiskey. We must repay our war debt to other nations to show the world that our government can survive."
3) A farmer in 1910: "If we don't pass a federal income tax, the government might put a property tax on my farmland. You have to pay a property tax even if times are bad and you don't make any money."
4) A congressman in 1822: "We should put a high tax on imported rum to discourage its consumption. Drunkenness threatens our social order."
5) A Senator during the Civil War: "Our national debt is now increasing at a rate of $2 million per day. Only an income tax will give us the revenue we need."