War Taxes

On one level, war tax strategies are about raising money to pay for the costs associated with the conflict. On another, war taxes play an important role in reconfiguring or maintaining existing class structures. These strategies are greatly shaped by politicians and other policy makers and reflect the depth of their commitments to redistribution and equality. This entry discusses how two nations—the United Kingdom and the United States—have used taxes to fund wars and briefly addresses citizen resistance to such taxes.

United Kingdom

In 1783, William Pitt, the British prime minister, was influenced by political economist Adam Smith and convinced Parliament to tax the rich and introduce “assessed taxes” on male and female servants, on horses, on carriages, and on houses. Pitt was successful in increasing ...

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