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James Madison

A just security to property is not afforded by that government, under which unequal taxes oppress one species of property and reward another species: where arbitrary taxes invade the domestic sanctuaries of the rich, and excessive taxes grind the faces of the poor...

National Gazette,
March 29, 1792



James Wilson

I will venture to predict, that the great revenue of the United States must, and always will be raised by impost, for, being at once less obnoxious, and more productive, the interest of the government will be best promoted by the accommodation of the people.

Speech in Philadelphia
October 6, 1787



Noah Webster

But the idea that the Congress can levy taxes at pleasure is false, and the suggestion wholly unsupported. The preamble to the constitution is declaratory of the purposes of our union; and the assumption of any powers not necessary to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, will be unconstitutional, and endanger the existence of Congress.

“A Citizen of America”
Philadelphia,
October 17, 1787



I admit that it is not probable that any prudent congress will attempt to lay and collect internal taxes, especially direct taxes: but this only proves, that the power would be improperly lodged in congress, and that it might be abused by imprudent and designing men.

“The Federal Farmer” III
New York,
October 10, 1787



Alexander Hamilton

Ingenious men may declaim with plausibility on any subject; but no human ingenuity can point out any other expedient to rescue us from the inconveniencies and embarrassments, naturally resulting from defective supplies of the public treasury.

“Publius”
“The Federalist” XXX
New York Packet,
December 28, 1787



My own opinion is, that the objects from which the general government should have authority to raise a revenue, should be of such a nature, that the tax should be raised by simple laws, with few officers, with certainty and expedition, and with the least interference with the internal police of the states.—Of this nature is the impost on imported goods—and it appears to me that a duty on exports, would also be of this nature—and therefore, for ought I can discover, this would be the best source of revenue to grant the general government.

“Brutus” VII
New York Journal,
January 3, 1788



Tench Coxe

...taxation and representation are inseparable.

“An American Citizen” I
Independent Gazetteer,
Philadelphia,
September 26, 1787



Samuel Bryan

The Congress may construe every purpose for which the state legislatures now lay taxes, to be for the general welfare, and thereby seize upon every object of revenue.

“Centinel” I
Independent Gazetteer,
Philadelphia,
October 5, 1787



Alexander Hamilton

Who can pretend that commercial imposts are or would be alone equal to the present and future exigencies of the Union?...we could not reasonably flatter ourselves, that this resource alone, upon the most improved scale, would even suffice for its present necessities.

“Publius”
“The Federalist” XXX
New York Packet,
December 28, 1787



The powers of Congress under the new constitution, are complete and unlimited over the purse and the sword...By virtue of their powers of taxation, Congress may command the whole, or any part of the property of the people. They may impose what imposts upon commerce; they may impose what land taxes, poll taxes, excise, duties on all written instruments, and duties on every other article that they may judge proper; in short, every species of taxation, whether of an internal or external nature...

Dissent of the Minority of the
Pennsylvania Convention,
Pennsylvania Packet,
Philadelphia,
December 18, 1787



It appears to me evident, that a tax on articles exported, would be as nearly equal as any that we can expect to lay, and it certainly would be collected with more ease and less expence than any direct tax.

“Brutus” VII
New York Journal,
January 3, 1788



Alexander Hamilton

The power of creating new funds upon new objects of taxation by its own authority, would enable the national government to borrow, as far as its necessities might require.

“Publius”
“The Federalist” XXX
New York Packet,
December 28, 1787



Luther Martin

This government proposed...will by the imposition of the variety of taxes, imposts, stamps, excises and other duties, squeeze from them the little money they may acquire...till not a drop more can be extracted, and then let loose upon them, their private creditors, to whose mercy it consigns them, by whom their property is to be seized upon and sold in this scarcity of specie at a sheriffs sale, where nothing but ready cash can be received for a tenth part of its value, and themselves and their families to be consigned to indigence and distress...

“The Genuine Information” VIII
Maryland Gazette,
Baltimore,
January 22, 1788



Oliver Ellsworth

The right of taxation or of assessing and collecting money out of the people, is one of those powers which may prove dangerous in the exercise...

“A Landholder” III
Connecticut Courant,
Hartford,
November 19, 1787



Samuel Bryan

...legislation necessarily follows the power of taxation.

“Centinel” I
Independent Gazetteer,
Philadelphia,
October 5, 1787



...the authority to lay and collect taxes is the most important of any power that can be granted; it connects with it almost all other powers, or at least will in process of time draw all other after it; it is the great mean of protection, security, and defence, in a good government, and the great engine of oppression and tyranny in a bad one.

“Brutus” I
New York Journal,
October 18, 1787