Civil War Taxes: A Documentary History, 1861–1900
John Martin Davis, Jr.
During the Civil War, both the North and South were challenged by fiscal and monetary needs, but physical differences such as gold reserves, industrialization and the blockade largely predicted the war’s outcome from the onset. To raise revenue for the war effort, every possible person, business, activity and property was assessed, but projections and collections were seldom up to expectations, and waste, fraud and ineffectiveness in the administration of the tax systems plagued both sides. This economic history uses forensic examination of actual documents to discover the various taxes that developed from the Civil War, including the direct and poll taxes, which were dropped; the income tax, which stands today; and the war tax, which was effective for only a short time.