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versy that had erupted over New York's withdrawal and its effect on the the validity of the Amendment.
The ratification dates for the Fifteenth Amendment are listed below:
The first 28 ratifications were:
Texas (with 13th and 15th Amendments). New Jersey (after rejection Mar. 17/18, 1870).
Mar. 1, 1869
Mar. 3, 1869
Mar. 5, 1869
Mar. 5, 1869
Mar. 5, 1869
Mar. 8, 1869
Mar. 12, 1869
May 14, 1869
Feb. 17, 1870
Feb. 15, 1871
Mar. 11/12, 1869
rejection Apr. 1/
Five other ratifications were given, the first two in the following list being included in the certificate of adoption:
The following rejections occurred:
rejection Oct. 26,
Jan. 13, 1870
Jan. 18, 1870
Jan. 19, 1870
Jan. 27, 1870
Feb. 2, 1870
Feb. 12, 1901
Feb. 24, 1959
April 3, 1962
House, Nov. 16, 1869
As noted earlier, Virginia, Mississippi, and Texas were required to ratify the Fifteenth Amendment in order to regain statehood and representation in Congress. 18
On March 30, 1870, Secretary of State Hamilton Fish certified that the Fifteenth Amendment had become part of the Constitution.19 It appears officially as 16 Stat. 1131.
FOOTNOTES TO AMENDMENT XV
1. Congressional Globe, 39th Congress, 1st Session, 1866, 36.1: 362. 2. Ibid., 1287.
3. Ibid., 535, 538, 1289.
4. William Gilette, The Right to Vote: Politics and the Passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1965), 31-33.
5. Congressional Globe, 36.3: 2766.
6. Ibid., 2nd Session, 109, 138, 303-306. 318, 344.
7. Ibid., 781-782, 485, 487, 851-852, 1096, 1121.
8. Ibid., 40th Congress, 1st Session, 1868, 38: 13.
9. Ibid., 3rd Session, 40.1: 378, 542.
10. Ibid., 285-286.
11. Ibid., 726-729, 742–745.
12. Ibid., 726.
13. Ibid., 827-828, 854-864, 899-901, 909-913, 938-940, 978-1015, 1029-1041.
14. Ibid., 828, 1035, 1040-1044, 1224.
15. Ibid., 1226.
16. Ibid., 1425-1428.
17. Ibid., 1466, 1470, 1563-1564, 1623-1633, 1638-1641.
18. John M. Mathews, Legislative and Judicial History of the Fifteenth Amendment. (New York: De Capo Press, De Capo Press reprints in American Constitution and Legal History, 1971), 78-88.
19. Documentary History of the Constitution, 863.
TEXT OF AMENDMENT
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 to the Constitution was the third constitutional amendment after the Eleventh and Fourteenth Amendments, which directly overruled a Supreme Court decision. In the case of Pollock v. Farmers' Loan and Trust Company (U.S., 429, (1895) and (158 U.S., 601 (1895)), the Supreme Court ruled that an income tax was unconstitutional on the grounds that it violated Article 1, Section 9, Clause 4 of the Constitution:
No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.
The Sixteenth Amendment amended Article 1, thereby granting Congress the power to lay and collect taxes on income without apportionment and "without regard to to any census or enumeration."
Before the Civil War, tariffs, duties, and excises normally supplied adequate revenue for the operation of the Federal Government. However, with an increasing public debt during the 1850's, and the added expense of the Civil War during the 1860's, Congress found it necessary to levy an income tax to help alleviate the Federal financial burden.2 This Civil War income tax continued until 1872, when Congress allowed the system to expire.3
It is interesting to note that, according to figures released by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue for 1867, 76.5% of the Nation's tax revenues came from the seven Northeastern States: New York (30.9%), Massachusetts (13.6%), Pennsylvania (12.7%), Ohio (7.5%), Illinois (4.6%), New Jersey (3.8%), and Connecticut (3.4%). This disproportionate revenue base would, in later years, clearly influence the nationwide debates over the Sixteenth Amendment. Citing their share of the tax burden as unfair, the Northeastern States actively opposed the Amendment, while nearly every State from the South and West lent its support to the measure.
The final years of the nineteenth century brought with them financial depression and economic hardship. The national debt once more began a dramatic rise, and tariffs and duties failed to ease the burden. Consequently, support for an income tax program began to be heard in Congress and many parts of the Nation. During the early 1890's, the Populist party adopted a graduated income tax as part of its platform. Even President Grover Cleveland, noted for his conservatism, supported a limited income tax.5
On January 29, 1894, Representative Benton McMillian of Tennessee proposed an income tax amendment to the Wilson Tariff Act (H.R. 4864, 53rd Cong.). The prospect of a renewed income tax immediately spurred heated debate in Congress. Proponents of the McMillian Amendment argued that it would provided a rich source of revenue, while equally distributing the tax burden according to an individual's income. On the other hand, several opponents of the tax labeled it as "socialistic" and directly hostile to free enterprise. Representative of Northern opposition to the measure was the denunciation of Congressman Bourke Cochran of New York:
Any form of income tax is objectionable in a commercial community because it is necessarily inquisitorial in character . . . an income tax is an assault on Democratic institutions. I oppose it because it is a tax on industry and thrift and is therefore a manifestation of hostility to that desire for success which is the main spring of human activity. This tax is not imposed to raise revenue, but to gratify vengeance. It is not designed for the welfare of the whole people, but would be the most dangerous feature of the proceedings and operations of the Government since its establishment. Its enactment will be the entering wedge in a system of oppressive measures and which, by excluding the majority of our citizens from participation in the burdens of government, will ultimately result in limiting their participation in the control of government. By this legislation, you place the Government in an attitude of hostility to the true patriots of this country, to the men by whose industry this land is made invaluable, by whose intelligence capital is made fruitful; and it is a woeful condition of society when... the creators of wealth, the architects of prosperity have reason to fear that the success of their industry will provoke the hostility of their Government.8
In response to Cochran's statement, Rep. William Jennings Bryan of Nebraska and one of the chief advocates of the income tax, stated:
I only hope that we may in the future have more farmers in the agricultural districts whose incomes are large enough to tax. .. They weep more because fifteen millions are to be collected from the incomes of the rich than they do at the collection of three hundred millions upon the goods which the poor consume. . . If taxation is a badge of freedom, let me assure my friend that the poor people of this country are covered all over with the insignia of freedom. Oh sirs, it is not enough to betray the cause of the poor-must it be done with a kiss? 9
On February 1, 1894, the Wilson Tariff Act passed in the House with the McMillian Amendment intact. 10 The Act also passed unamended in the Senate on July 3 of the same year and was authorized to go into effect on January 1, 1895. However, the income tax provision of the bill was short-lived. In March of 1895, the Supreme Court, in Pollock v. The Farmers' Loan and Trust Company, declared that the income tax provision was in conflict with Article I, Section 9, Clause 4 of the Constitution and was, therefore, unconstitutional.
Further attempts to introduce statutory income tax legislation were curtailed for several years as a result of the Pollock decision. Nevertheless, support for the tax continued to grow throughout the Nation. During the early 1900's, the Democratic party, led by President Theodore Roosevelt, became the chief proponent of an income tax.
On April 15, 1909, Senator Joseph Bailey of Texas offered an amendment to the Payne-Aldrich Tariff Bill (H.R. 1438, 61st Cong.), calling for a 3 percent tax on all incomes over $5,000. Senator