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Rich People's MovementsGrassroots Campaigns to Untax the One Percent$
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Isaac Martin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199928996

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199928996.001.0001

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The Revolution of 1913

The Revolution of 1913

(p.24) Chapter 1 The Revolution of 1913
Rich People's Movements

Isaac William Martin

Oxford University Press

Generations of activists have traced the origins of rich people’s movements to the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment, which permits the federal government to levy a personal income tax without apportionment among the states. The Sixteenth Amendment arose in an era of extreme income and wealth inequality. This chapter illustrates the background of the Sixteenth Amendment by tracing the consequences of economic inequality for the life of Andrew Mellon, a very rich man who would later become Treasury Secretary and an influential figure in the history of rich people’s movements. It also shows how many different social movements of this era came to see a federal income tax as a solution to their grievances. The ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment resulted from a series of political miscalculations, but it had far-reaching implications for the politics of inequality.

Keywords:   income tax, Progressive Era, Sixteenth Amendment, Andrew Mellon, social movements

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