Extending from the ratification of the Constitution to the present day, W. Elliot Brownlee describes the five principal stages of federal taxation in relation to the crises that led to their adoption—the formation of the republic, the Civil War, World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II. Now in a new edition, Brownlee expands his coverage to the present, with a new chapter focusing on the tax policies of the current Bush administration. This discussion is set within a larger analysis of contemporary tax and fiscal issues, including war finance, Social Security, and Medicare.

W. Elliot Brownlee is Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is author and editor of numerous books, including Funding the Modern American State: The Rise and Fall of the Era of Easy Finance, 1941–1995.



Part I. The History Regimes
1. The Formative Tax Regimes, 1789–1916
2. The Democratic-Statist Tax Regimes, 1916–1941
3. The Era of Easy Finance, 1941–1980

Part II. The Conservative Challenge
4. The “Reagan Revolution,” 1980–1986
5. Reviving the Old Regime, 1986–2000
6. Threatening the Old Regime, 2000–present

Historiography and Bibliography


“Just as its title suggests, this book is a historical review of Federal taxation in America, updating the 1996 first edition by expanding coverage to 2004. It does an excellent job of tracing the key features of Federal taxation since the Federal government took shape with the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. As such, it is a worthwhile read for faculty serious about learning and using the deep structure of taxation in their teaching, research, or public lives.”—John E. Karayan, The Journal of American Taxation Association