Enmired in a civil war, the federal government of the United States was wanting for funds. The answer the government arrived at was to impose an income tax. Before this happened though, President Lincoln actually met with his cabinet to determine whether or not such a tax was constitutional. Lincoln’s hesitation should speak volumes.taxes scrabb

The first income tax was 3% and was only imposed on those who had incomes over $800, or around $20,000 in today’s money. This actually worked out to the income tax only applying to about 3% of the population in the north.

Things were not to last. The first income tax was repealed and  replaced with another one. All in all, the United States had an income tax for a period of ten years. From our modern-day perspective, we know that this is not the last of the income tax. There was a 2% income tax issued during peacetime in 1894, but it was struck down as being an unapportioned direct tax the following year by the Supreme Court in Pollock v. Farmer’s Loan & Trust Co. However, In 1913, the 16th Amendment was ratified and income tax has been a fixture of America’s tax system ever since.


Emancipation_proclamation cropped153 years ago today, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, one of the most well known documents in American history. The proclamation ended slavery in the Confederate states and made ending slavery an explicit war goal of the North. Though it instantly freed 3 million slaves in the eyes of the federal government, it also gave the North an important  strategic advantage in the war effort against the South. (more…)

No legacy carries more controversy within the liberty movement than that of Abraham Lincoln.  Particularly among anarcho-capitalists, there has emerged a historical analysis that is both novel and arresting when compared to the standard lauding narrative of the 16th American President.  Steven Spielberg’s recent film is the second film about Lincoln this year, celebrating to the dismay of Rothbardians the leader of the Union forces. Though, unlike the first movie, there is a notable lack of vampires, it features vicious creatures called “politicians.” This film should not be written off as simply another period piece. It is in fact a deep story about public policy, fluctuating war aims, promises, and of powerful men vehemently debating over what this conflict was really about – what we are still doing nearly 150 years later!