Bounded by War
The budgetary reforms derived between the War of 1812 and the Civil War were, for the most part, born out of necessity or symbolism. External demands led to innovative ways to raise money to fund the federal government. However, the sinking fund continued to develop as one of the most important mechanisms for debt management. Congress also tried new methods in an attempt to distance the federal government’s finances from that of the economy following banking crises. Tariff policy extended beyond simply the need to raise revenue for the government and into protectionism, causing revenues to become much less predictable and creating a constituency for a growing government. This dynamic foreshadows the inevitability of the income tax.
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