A major work of history, The Great Tax Wars is the gripping, epic story of six decades of often violent conflict over wealth, power, and fairness that gave America the income tax. It’s the story of a tumultuous period of radical change, from Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War through the progressive era under Theodore Roosevelt and ending with Woodrow Wilson and World War I. During these years of upheaval, America was transformed from an agrarian society into a mighty industrial nation, great fortunes were amassed, farmers and workers rebelled, class war was narrowly averted, and America emerged as a global power.
The Great Tax Wars features an extraordinary cast of characters, including the men who built the nation’s industries and the politicians and reformers who battled them — from J. P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie to Lincoln, T.R., Wilson, William Jennings Bryan, and Eugene Debs. From their ferocious battles emerged a more flexible definition of democracy, economic justice, and free enterprise largely framed by a more progressive tax system. In this groundbreaking book, Weisman shows how the ever controversial income tax transformed America and how today’s debates about the tax echo those of the past.

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September 20th, 2017

Posted In: Income Strategies

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  • Jack Lechelt says:

    Interesting and well written A really helpful book on the history of the income tax in America (and in learning about tariffs and estate taxes too – it’s all related).Weisman leans to the left, so it’s more of a “how the income tax is good for America,” but I think at it’s most basic level, the income tax is good for America and most Americans of most ideologies recognize that. Of course, that’s not to say we like paying it. If we voluntarily paid our taxes, well, then we would have to call it something else…

  • Grover Hartt, III says:

    Useful history of the income tax The author has done a nice job of collecting and distilling what will be to some familiar history in order to provide a highly readable account of the adoption and implementation of the graduated income tax. I thought he struck a good balance between general information and illuminating vignettes. The history of the battle in the Supreme Court that preceded that the Sixteenth Amendment was a little diffuse, and young Congressman Cordell Hull would have been quoting Chancellor of the Exchequer…

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