Article 1, Section 9, Clause 4

Document 14

St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries 1:App. 292--94


4. To check any possible disposition in congress towards partiality in the imposition of burthens, it is further provided, that no capitation or other direct tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the census, or enumeration, by the constitution directed to be taken. And the fifth article of the constitution declares, that no amendment made prior to the year 1808, shall in any manner affect this, and the first clause of the ninth section, above noticed.

The acts of 3 Cong. c. 45, and 4 Cong. c. 37, laying duties upon carriages for the conveyance of persons, were thought to be infringements of this article, it being supposed, that such a tax was a direct tax, and ought to have been apportioned among the states. The question was tried in this state, in the case of the United States, against Hylton, and the court being divided in opinion, was carried to the supreme court of the United States, by consent. It was there argued by the proposer of it, (the first secretary of the treasury,) on behalf of the United States, and by the present chief justice of the United States, on behalf of the defendant. Each of those gentlemen was supposed to have defended his own private opinion. That of the secretary of the treasury prevailed, and the tax was afterwards submitted to, universally, in Virginia.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 3, Article 1, Section 9, Clause 4, Document 14
The University of Chicago Press

Tucker, St. George. Blackstone's Commentaries: With Notes of Reference to the Constitution and Laws of the Federal Government of the United States and of the Commonwealth of Virginia. 5 vols. Philadelphia, 1803. Reprint. South Hackensack, N.J.: Rothman Reprints, 1969.

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