U.S. Taxation, Public Tax Worker Circa 1936-1938


U.S. Taxation, Public Tax Worker Circa 1936-1938


Throughout history, every organized society had some form of government. In free societies, the goals of government have been to protect individual freedoms and to promote the well-being of society as a whole.

To meet their expenses, government needs income, called "revenue," which it raises through taxes. In our country, governments levy several different types of taxes on individuals and businesses. The Federal Government relies mainly on income taxes for its revenue. State governments depend on both income and sales taxes. Most county and city governments use property taxes to raise their revenue.

The origin of income tax on individuals is generally cited as the passage of the 16th Amendment, passed by Congress on July 2, 1909, and ratified February 3, 1913; however, its history actually goes back even further. During the Civil War Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1861 which included a tax on personal incomes to help pay war expenses. The tax was repealed ten years later. However, in 1894 Congress enacted a flat rate Federal income tax, which was ruled unconstitutional the following year by the U.S. Supreme Court because it was a direct tax not apportioned according to the population of each state. The 16th amendment, ratified in 1913, removed this objection by allowing the Federal government to tax the income of individuals without regard to the population of each State. For additional information on taxation in the United States, see the section on taxes on the web site of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The Rich Must be Regulated - 1894. First photo: Print shows a democratic approach to the mingling of social classes with vignettes showing the rich buying their clothes from "honest merchants" regardless how poorly they will fit, eating at "plain oyster-houses, like the masses", riding in crude horse-drawn wagons, rather than fine carriages and coaches, spending time at local "social organizations of the humble", participating in barn dances, and attending "simple variety shows" where their diamonds will provide as much entertainment for the lower classes as the vaudeville show.

Second photo: A Publix Tax Worker EMplyed in Washington D.C.


First photo: Taylor, Charles Jay, 1855-1929.

Second photo: Carl Mydans.


First photo: 1894.

Second photo: 1936


https://cdn.loc.gov/service/pnp/ppmsca/28700/28782v.jpg, http://cdn.loc.gov/service/pnp/fsa/8a00000/8a00900/8a00909r.jpg


Second photo - Medium: Photograph. Link: Library of Congress.


Sources: U.S. Department of the Treasury, Resource Center – Economics of Taxation

Library of Congress, Business Reference Services - History of the US Income Tax Compiled by Ellen Terrell


Library of Congress


Library of Congress


First photo - Medium: Chromolithograph.






United States, Income Tax, Revenue, Civil War, 16th Amendment, Public Tax Worker


United States




First photo: Taylor, Charles Jay, 1855-1929. Second photo: Carl Mydans., U.S. Taxation, Public Tax Worker Circa 1936-1938, Library of Congress, First photo: 1894. Second photo: 1936

Cite As

First photo: Taylor, Charles Jay, 1855-1929. Second photo: Carl Mydans., “U.S. Taxation, Public Tax Worker Circa 1936-1938,” Virtual Museum of Public Service, accessed August 20, 2022, https://vmps.omeka.net/items/show/406.