Posted in American History, essay, history, Politics

The Amendments: Sixteen

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.


The Sixteenth Amendment takes a different turn from the previous couple as it has nothing to do with voting rights, or adding to or editing other amendments.  Its simply about taxes.  Its also the first Amendment passed in the 1900s.  It was passed by Congress in 1909 (almost 40 years after the 15th), but took till 1913 to be ratified by the States.  That’s not surprising considering even today we aren’t too fond of taxes.

Previously, federal taxes were done by making the states pay in proportion to how much of the total US population was in their state.  So heavily crowded states would pay more then states less crowded.  For example, California currently is 12% of the US population. If this amendment hadn’t passed, it would be responsible for 12% of the Federal taxes.Wyoming on the other hand would only have to pay .18%

However, once this amendment was passed, federal income tax was done on a person-to-person basis rather than as a population. Each person was taxed on their income.  Which should be familar as that is how they still do it today.  It should be noted that the IRS wasn’t formed till July 1953, 40 years after this amendment went into effect.


A thirty-something Graphic Designer and writer who likes to blog about books, movies and History.

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