Ajay K. MehrotraMaking the Modern American Fiscal State: Law Politics, and the Rise of Progressive Taxation, 1877-1929

Cambridge University Press, 2013

by Raymond Haberski and Jr. on October 7, 2014

Ajay K. Mehrotra

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Prior to the passage of the Sixteenth Amendment, the United States did not have a national system of taxation—it had a regional system, a system linked to political parties, and a system that, in many instances, preserved and protected trade.  In his superbly written and thoughtful book Making the Modern American Fiscal State (Cambridge University Press, 2013), Ajay K. Mehrotra argues that “the rise of direct and graduated taxation in the early twentieth century signaled the start of a more complex and sophisticated system of fiscal governance.” Indeed, the introduction of a federal income did not merely create a completely new and soon dominate stream of revenue for the federal government, but created new institutions for the collection, accounting and distribution of revenue, and, most importantly, changed the way Americans viewed and related to each other. Drawing fascinating portraits of economists and legal scholars and pulling together intellectual threads from economics, institutional and political histories, Mehrotra has produced a work at the leading edge of new U.S. intellectual history.

Ajay K. Mehrotra is Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Law, and Louis F. Niezer Faculty Fellow Adjunct Professor of History at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. He is the co-editor (with Isaac William Martin and Monica Prasad) of The New Fiscal Sociology: Taxation in Comparative and Historical Perspective (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009). His writings have also appeared in student-edited law reviews and interdisciplinary journals including Law & Social Inquiry, Law & History Review, and Law & Society Review. His scholarship and teaching have been supported by grants and fellowships from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council.

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[Cross-posted from New Books in Islamic Studies]  The towering Indian Muslim poet and intellectual Muhammad Iqbal (d. 1938) is among the most contested figures in the intellectual and political history of modern Islam. Heralded by some as the father of Pakistan and by others as a champion of pan-Islam, Iqbal’s legacy is as keenly debated [...]

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