Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3

Document 4

A Federal Republican, Review of the Constitution Proposed by the Late Convention

28 Oct. 1787Storing 3.6.43--45

The next thing that we come to speak of, is the mode of laying taxes. All direct taxes are to be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers.

This is a great and a fundamental error. Direct taxes should always be apportioned according to extent of territory. In framing the present confederation in 1778, this was held to be an essential point. Article 8th says, "all charges of war and other expences which shall be incurred for the common defence and general welfare, and allowed for by the United States in Congress assembled, shall be defrayed out of the common treasury, which shall be supplied by the several states in proportion to the value of land in each state, etc." The value of land in a country increases with its riches, and therefore forms a just criterion. There are many reasons which might be offered to show that the number of inhabitants in any state is an improper measure of apportioning taxes. The inhabitants of some states may be numerous and poor, and those of another, few and wealthy.

The truth is, the ratios both of inhabitants and wealth, conspire to shew that the extent of territory is the only proper measure in apportioning taxes among the several states. Commerce creates wealth, but at the same time luxury and high life, and these again a decrease of inhabitants.

The luxury that is derived from commercial wealth always tends to stop population. From this it clearly appears that the apportioning of taxes according to numbers is not just. On the contrary, the state of agriculture is more favourable to population, but not to wealth. Indeed land must, in the nature of things, afford a just measure. It is true that the value of land is dependent on circumstances. But the richer the country grows, the more valuable the land. The extent of land in Massachusetts is small in proportion to its inhabitants, but yet it is more valuable--in Virginia it is very great in proportion to the inhabitants, but yet it is not so valuable.

Let direct taxes be apportioned according to the value of land in each state, and it must be just for this reason, that the value of land always increases in an exact proportion to the riches of the country.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 2, Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3, Document 4
The University of Chicago Press

Storing, Herbert J., ed. The Complete Anti-Federalist. 7 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.

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