International Trade

Important Dates In Post-Revolution American Tax History

The Revolutionary War was sparked in part by the British imposing taxes on the American colonists without their permission or consent.

Once the colonists had freed themselves from British rule, it was time to establish a government that could pay the debts it had incurred during the conflict.

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

1777 – Articles of Confederation

This was the first constitution of the newly formed United State. It favored decentralization of power, which means that Congress was not given the power to tax.

1781  – Report on Public Credit

Robert Morris, Superintendent of finance, wanted the federal government to own the debt it incurred then issue interest-bearing debt certificates while imposing tariffs and internal taxes.

His proposal was shut down by numerous states over the next few years.

1787 – Ratification of the Constitution

The ratification of the Constitution shifted the focus of power to the federal government and away from individual states.

This gave the federal legislature the power to impose tariffs and coin money, along with the flexibility to collect excises and levy taxes directly on individual citizens.

1789 – Tariff of 1789

This tax bill included the original 5% duty on imports, as well as a list of special items that would be taxed at specific amounts.

1790 – Report on Public Credit

This new tax plan worked on two basic principles:

  • Redemption – Congress would redeem at face value all the securities issued by the Confederation government. These old notes would be exchanged for new government securities with interest of about 4%. This plan aimed to intertwine the wealthy Americans who had financed the initial government with the new government.

  • Assumption – The national government would take on outstanding war debts of the states. This would concentrate the nation wealth into the hands of the wealthy merchant class so they would be able to invest in the nation’s economy and other critical innovations.

1791 – Whiskey Excise Tax

This was a tax specifically for spirit distillers and imposed a 7 cents to 18 cent per gallon tax. This was not a popular tax, as spirits were often used as a form of currency out west.

1794 – Uprising Quelled

North Carolina and Western Pennsylvania were in a state of civil unrest after being cited by the federal government for dodging taxes.

The federal government forced the states to send militia to occupy these territories and take down any organized resistance.

President Madison appealed to Congress for a Declaration of War against Britain as the tension between the two countries reached a head.

There was a lot of conflict over fundraising for the war, but Congress eventually settled on doubling the tariff schedule.


As Talks Start, NAFTA Border States Urge Compromise


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From:, Washington

Mayors from the border towns between the United States and Mexico, and the United States and Canada have called for a modernized North American Free Trade Agreement to remain in place.

On August 16, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum met with other border leaders to voice support for improvements to NAFTA, on the first day of talks towards its renegotiation.

“There has never been a more important time for San Diego to champion international trade,” Faulconer said. “Trade, open dialogue, and collaboration create jobs, and economic prosperity for Americans, Canadians, and Mexicans alike. That’s why we are calling on federal leaders to preserve and modernize NAFTA for the benefit of future generations.”

“The North American Free Trade Agreement’s track record is one of economic growth and middle-class job creation. Nine million American jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada, and over one million of those are in California,” added Canadian Consul General James Villeneuve. “Negotiations have begun today in Washington, and Canada welcomes the opportunity to modernize the NAFTA. This is an opportunity to better align NAFTA to new realities in trade and investment and keep North America competitive.”

The leaders called for negotiators to embrace free trade and modernize the rules, ensuring that there are clear and straight-forward rules that small- and medium-sized businesses can thrive under.

Earlier this month, Faulconer, Gastélum and fifteen binational border mayors signed a formal resolution calling for continued efforts to engage and inform federal leaders about the benefits and importance of modernizing NAFTA.

NAFTA was negotiated in 1994 to remove barriers to the exchange of goods and services, spur economic growth, create jobs and enhance North American competitiveness.

Trilateral negotiations between the United States, Mexico, and Canada began on August 16 and are expected to take months. US President Donald Trump earlier said he would pull the US out of NAFTA if a substantial trade imbalance in favor of Canada and Mexico is not addressed.

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