19-Pollock v Farmers' Loan - SJField Opinion

19-Pollock v Farmers' Loan - SJField Opinion - POLLOCK v....

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POLLOCK v. FARMERS' LOAN AND TRUST COMPANY. No. 893. SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES 157 U.S. 429; 15 S. Ct. 673; 39 L. Ed. 759; 1895 U.S. LEXIS 2215; 3 A.F.T.R. (P-H) 2557 Argued March 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 1895. April 8, 1895, Decided MR. JUSTICE FIELD. I also desire to place my opinion on record upon some of the important questions discussed in relation to the direct and indirect taxes proposed by the income tax law of 1894. [*587] Several suits have been instituted in state [**692] and Federal courts, both at law and in equity, to test the validity of the provisions of the law, the determination of which will necessitate careful and extended consideration. The subject of taxation in the new government which was to be established created great interest in the convention which framed the Constitution, and was the cause of much difference of opinion among its members and earnest contention between the States. The great source of weakness of the confederation was its inability to levy taxes of any kind for the support of its government. To raise revenue it was obliged to make requisitions upon the States, which were respected or disregarded at their pleasure. Great embarrassments followed the consequent inability to obtain the necessary funds to carry on the government. One of the principal objects of the proposed new government was to obviate this defect of the confederacy by conferring authority upon the new government by which taxes could be directly laid whenever desired. Great difficulty in accomplishing this object was found to exist. The States bordering on the ocean were unwilling to give up their right to lay duties upon imports which were their chief source of revenue. The other States, on the other hand, were unwilling to make any agreement for the levying of taxes directly upon real and personal property, the smaller States fearing that they would be overborne by unequal burdens forced upon them by the action of the larger States. In this condition of things great embarrassment was felt by the members of the convention. It was feared at times that the effort to form a new government would fail. But happily a compromise was effected by an agreement that direct taxes should be laid by Congress by apportioning them among the
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States according to their representation. In return for this concession by some of the States, the other States bordering on navigable waters consented to relinquish to the new government the control of duties, imposts, and excises, and the regulation of commerce, with the condition that the duties, imposts, and excises should be uniform throughout the United States. So that, on the one [*588] hand, anything like oppression or undue advantage of any one State over the others would be prevented by the apportionment of the direct taxes among the States according to their representation, and, on the other hand, anything like oppression or hardship in the levying of duties, imposts, and excises would be avoided by the provision that they should be uniform throughout the United
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This note was uploaded on 08/22/2009 for the course ECON 3306 taught by Professor Grinols during the Spring '09 term at Baylor.

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19-Pollock v Farmers' Loan - SJField Opinion - POLLOCK v....

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