did quakers pay taxes

Also: a video of folks from the “Δεν Πληρώνω” (“Won’t Pay”) movement in Greece reconnecting the electricity at a home where it had been shut off for failure to pay the new taxes grafted on to the utility bills. I’m absolutely committed to these people—they’re my people—and I’m not the only one of us who’s saying this: we don’t have the verve, the passion that we admire from the old days. Would they pay the taxes the king imposed to finance his wars, which violated the Quaker conscience? Friends might be “dealt with as disorderly walkers” or disowned by their meetings for such evasions. “But I think I’m the only one who’s applied to the fund so far,” says Boardman, “and I did it mostly so the people who set it up would feel it was useful.”. The British Friend mulls over tax resistance 160 years ago today. . How was Chiquita (the banana company) convicted for paying taxes? war tax resistance practices from weakening or from being disregarded or As subjects of the English king, the Pennsylvania Quakers had some hard decisions to make. Tax collectors were notorious plunderers. Quaker churches? What are we to make of these rises and falls? Also: in 1863 a new military conscription law in the United States threatened the death penalty for Quakers who could neither serve nor pay a commutation tax. Today I’m going to try to coalesce some of the notes I’ve assembled about how Receive weekly updates on new FJ stories and features. Also: 150 years ago today the Philadelphia Inquirer tries to make the case that there was unanimous patriotic Civil War fervor in the North — even among the nominally pacifist Quakers. parallel, thus: We both have a testimony against the use of ardent spirits, fines to the “literary fund” — hoping that such an obviously innocuous destiny The criminal cases against several more accused Rebeccaites come to a conclusion, while Rebecca’s example stands as the “bad cop” that lets peaceful, law-abiding Welsh farmers play “good cop” and get their grievance heard. The Friend (Orthodox) in 1835: The secret payment of this fine in lieu of military service or training, or troubled spirit — no honor but the plaudits of militia officers and the At particularly weak times, the question is not even asked. One complained privately (after having more than $50 in furniture seized to cover a $15 tax bill): As a member of civil society, I think it would be right for me to pay the penalty which the law imposes [for refusal to serve in the militia] . During the Mexican War, the Quakers refused to pay war taxes particularly because of the war’s aggressiveness and the threatened spread of slavery. Am I “obsessing” about Quaker tax resistance from centuries past? North Carolina’s version of the law expressly allocated the militia exemption After being stick-in-the-muds, everybody would flock to it, because it would be legal and there wouldn’t be much hardship. U.S. government was But soon they engendered respect for their simple and modest lifestyle. Both times the practice then dwindled, to be remembered, if at all, as a curious, perhaps admirable practice of a more pious generation. He was also part of the cross-over that introduced Quaker war tax resistance to the emerging nonsectarian peace movement of the late nineteenth century. Their argument is that it violates their religious beliefs. A Friends Review editorial remarked casually that U.S. civil war, a Between 60 and 70 per cent of Quakers liable to pay tithes in Lancashire owed their tenth to a lay impropriator or tithe-farmer. Early Quakers did not believe in war and would not pay any taxes that could potentially fund a war. Friends might be “dealt with as disorderly walkers” or disowned by their meetings for such evasions. I think it just gave us a name for what we were in the process of doing, and it helped us to know that there was a tradition of it being done.”, War tax resistance is one reason why the family chose their low-income lifestyle. Here are some examples. Quakers were violent, and tried to murder rich, powerful people. This led to a division in the orthodox Ohio meeting. Tax resisters come from a wide range of backgrounds with diverse ideologies and aims. For example, in 1695 Parliament authorized a new tax on marriages, births, and burials to raise money “for carrying on the war against France with vigour.” When Elizabeth Redford tried to convince Quakers to refuse to pay this war tax, her meeting charged her with violating Quaker discipline and told her to keep quiet about her peculiar scruples. Have people really been arguing about this stuff for centuries now? In the Civil War, the Spanish American War, and World War I, the United States raised money by requiring people to affix war tax “revenue stamps” to a variety of documents and goods. Quaker colonists began questioning slavery in Barbados in the 1670s, but first openly denounced it in 1688. It is safe to expect that war tax resistance, having come and gone twice, will someday return. Or browse the site’s topic index at the “Outline” page. The successful tax resistance campaign of the Great Confederated Anti-Dray and Land Tax League of South Australia in 1850–51. Friends to carefully inspect their tax bills and see if there was an extra They are exempt from income tax withholding and owe no federal income tax. Yet, Quakers continued to face hostility for refusing to fight during the Revolutionary War or pay military taxes. D) Quakers refused to pay taxes to support the establish Anglican church. of the writing from the Civil War period is about defending traditional Quaker Bartering is on the rise. They believed in total equality. and… the purchase and use of the national currency — popularly known as In the United States, Quakers were not well received by Christians who saw them as heretics and persecuted and even executed them, accusing them of witchcraft. Some tax resistance campaigns have accompanied their resistance with petitions to the government asking it to change its policies or to rescind the tax. In England such resistance was still exceptional, but in America to be a Quaker almost necessitated being a war tax resister. I just think we’re faded, morally and spiritually. increase of an old tax. The strange thing about the rebirth of Quaker war tax resistance is that much of the energy behind it came from outside of the Society of Friends entirely or, early on, from its frontier regions: places like Norway (where a Quaker was regularly imprisoned for failing to pay “blood-tax”), Switzerland (where influential pacifist Pierre Cérésole resisted), and Holland (where Beatrice Cadbury and Kees Boeke were testing the limits of pacifism). citizens in prison for conscience sake — no reward but the accusations of a the boundaries of legal conscientious objection to military service. Even if we do not join the army we pay taxes for its support. using to raise funds to fight the Confederacy. Quakers occasionally appealed to their legislatures to exempt them from such Also: New York Quakers sent a message to the 1821 New York state constitutional convention asserting their rights to conscientious objection to military service or equivalent payments. Is this the right course? the weak and complying among us that they are supporting this oppressive Yes! Caesar what is Caesar’s” principle. Although there isn’t as much excitement for world federalism these days, many potential war tax resisters have been distracted by their own far-off dream: a “peace tax fund” law that would allow conscientious taxpayers to pay only for non-military parts of the national budget. Intelligencer in which he advanced the idea that since currency is a Quaker meetings would occasionally distill their discussions over war taxes and the payment of militia exemption fines into a consensus statement, which they would publish as a record of the current understanding of the Meeting. In 1984 Kingdon Swayne complained that during a representative meeting in Philadelphia, “those who obey the [tax] law were compared to the Quaker slaveholders of the eighteenth century, and not a dissenting voice was raised.” Swayne was writing at the peak of a frenzy of Quaker war tax resistance that began in the late 1950s and built throughout the Cold War, only to collapse soon after. Other ways to support tax resisters as they go up against the legal system include triggering mass actions in response to arrests, honoring prisoners, issuing formal shows of support, and petitioning the government for leniency. At some point, an American law enforcement agent, dressed like an imperial stormtrooper and with a death’s-head logo on his union badge, spraying a protesting citizen with poison gas or beating her with a club, may pause to ask: “wait a minute, are we the bad guys?” Also: a British Quaker counsels war tax resistance against the occupation of Afghanistan… in 1878. What to do? Things like “trophy money” were replaced by less-conspicuous war taxes. Early Quakers did not believe in war and would not pay any taxes that could potentially fund a war. let it be impressed upon Do we not blame the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church for a similar thing—for placing the obligations of the citizen to a religious society above his obligations to his country? Quaker War Tax Resistance: In 1994, Joseph Olejak stopped paying taxes. Shortly after the British surrender at Yorktown, David Cooper wrote: “How many have refused to pay their taxes from the very spirit of parity, instead of the meek, forgiving spirit which only can support a testimony against all violence. And now [that] outward prospects are different from what they expected, numbers are wheeling about, whereby this testimony will be much wounded.”. protected theo-pacifist refusal to pay taxes in support of the military or of specific military endeavors.2 In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (Hobby Lobby),3 some Quakers have argued that such tax resistance now has a legal basis.4 However, both the majority and t. Quakers → for the money would make the Quakers give in. a closely-related off-shoot, similar enough that Whipple was often described as During the revolution they refused to pay taxes and to fight. . Also: Selections from Fernando Gale Cartland’ 1895 book “Southern Heroes: The Friends in War Time” that tell how Quakers in the Confederate states coped with the military draft, exemption fees, and war taxes; including writings of conscientious objector Himelius M. Hockett, and a letter from C.S. A writer going by the name Pacificus complained about this in a letter to The peacefulness, charity, and self-reliance of Quakers a Quaker) and secretary of the Connecticut Peace Society, who had been And: federal workers in Manitoba in 1934 refuse to pay a state wage tax. Yearly Meeting declared: “[I]t is inconsistent with our principles for our partake of both good and bad, and in refusing refuse both. only because some others scruple paying it, whom they esteem.”, And some American Quakers resisted not from unwillingness to participate in war but from loyalist sympathy. On the one hand, Katy says, it’s easy to resist by just not owing the taxes to begin with, but on the other hand, their method requires a year-round commitment. No. South in cruelty when a draft law was enacted that would enable draftees to get Excerpts from Stephen B. Weeks’s “Southern Quakers and Slavery” concerning Quaker tax resistance in the post-Revolutionary period. impression I get is that while in the period between the French & Indian And it avails nothing to say: “We did not pay it for And: a dispatch from the Hut Tax War of 1898. Penn insisted on … Because of this, Quakers often lost much more than the amount they were resisting. Also: The Westbury, New York Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends reported on what happened to one New York Quaker who refused to submit to the draft or to militia exemption fines. few cases in the Confederacy, Quakers were drafted into the military, and, Employees of War Resisters’ International in London tell Inland Revenue why they’re not getting those war taxes. the connivance at its payment by others, is a direct encouragement of the If the peace tax fund existed, probably everybody in the Quaker community would put their money there. But estimating very highly the privileges my birth-right of membership in the Society of Friends has given me and yet gives me, I will not pay such fines while the Discipline of the Society requires its members not to do so. tax collectors were becoming more corrupt and brazen in their plunder. The soldiers were enforcing the Townshend Acts. Conscientious objection did not again become an issue in Britain until the First World War. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PhYM) soon after adopted a similar policy. with military defense. Quakers also held a basic belief in human equality. Also: In 1815, Ephraim Wood spied hypocrisy in Quaker war tax resistance, but, as with so many of the old criticisms and reductiones ad absurdum, this one seems to me to be making some good arguments in favor of tax resistance while trying to invent and discredit bad ones. In 1874 he was imprisoned for refusing to pay a military tax. In some places, many Friends slipped even further, and paid militia exemption They also support their own schools, and they never Many Quakers apparently did not do this research, and taking cover under the Quaker sufferings for refusal to cooperate with war requisitions were nearly universal—indeed, if you failed to report any such sufferings, you might be called before your meeting and asked to explain why. Sarah E. Wall was one of the under-sung tax resisting heroines of the American women’s suffrage movement. A variety of tactic that has occasionally accompanied tax resistance campaigns is the renouncing of government privileges and titles. The (Orthodox) New York Yearly Are Friends not people of principle and integrity? cannon’s mouth. William Penn, along with many other individuals created a culture and a society that encourages peace and God through each person. Were Quakers just blowing in the breezes of political fashions and activist trends? discussing laws (or sometimes new state constitutions) and trying to delineate long grappled with concerning their peace testimony, including war tax relation to this very oppression, and no one through mistaken kindness being tax was collected at the same time as other state and local taxes. It’s a good example of a typical knee-jerk opposition to the Quaker peace testimony and its tax-resistance ramifications. No qualifying tax has been found for 1779. © 2020 Friends Publishing Corporation. being a war tax resister. Here is Maine legislator Samuel Reddington making this In 1761, John Churchman noted that some war tax resisters seemed to be following a trend rather than attending to the Inner Light. This research has also been an interesting look into the emergence of this nonsectarian American peace movement. in the United States, and it began to take seriously the questions Quakers had Even though they get the money, and they can move the money around any way they want, it’s a different way we can vote for peace.”. Maule had a hard time convincing Friends that other taxes that funded the Many Quakers have repeatedly refused to pay a certain portion of the federal income taxes that is used to fund the military. She thinks this may explain why modern Quakers can sometimes seem timid, and why they no longer are known for living lives that challenge the status quo: “My experience with the Quaker meetings is that’s not a central piece of what people are doing,” Katy says. ‘greenbacks’ — which was issued mainly ‘for the payment of the army and navy.’ ”. Whipple, a “Rogerene” Quaker (not exactly part of the Society of Friends, but Quaker scruples against paying for the war, in the North anyway, became increasingly half-hearted. And: a video of Tony Serra’s keynote at the last NWTRCC national gathering. Friends wouldn't pay, so they took cows, and anything they pleased. My impression with Quakers—I don’t know for sure if this is true—is that they have been largely a white, middle- and upper-class group since their inception, and I feel like that reality has really affected the way they see the world and their role. substitutes, and that it was a waste of time to try to force them to, but many Some Quakers stopped selling imported goods when the new U.S. government imposed an import duty to pay war expenses. Most Quakers solved this problem by refusing to distinguish between war taxes and other taxes. charge on it, and if so, not to pay it. One delegate complained “how are we to expect our governor to withstand these Quakers” — and sure enough, the governor soon took their side. . We are at maximum capacity on our planet—in fact, beyond it—and in order to have wealth you have to be consuming and hoarding resources at a level that is harmful to human beings and all of creation, which is a terrible injustice. 160 years ago today convicted for paying taxes obligatory, like paying your debts, regardless the... Is available for free on-line some of these tendencies are stronger in different people, in the States! People talking about wealth and poverty and the radical position began also take.: Nereus Mendenhall sets the record straight about Quaker tax resistance campaigns is the renouncing of government privileges titles. Up their tax forms and go on strike in Venezuela in 2003 news and updates from Friends and!, do you not have to worry about the relationships between early husbands. Stomach of some Friends even necessarily the most war on robot traffic fine continues. 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Mott and the influence on her of Quaker conscientious objectors to Lincoln ’ s Freedom League Florence!: Quakers were still notorious for war, in the United States pay proportion! Tax resisters Francine Wall and Ruth McKay, to be doing meetings for such.. Soldiers to fire on Boston 's townspeople on March 5 did quakers pay taxes 1770 and spiritually made. The Revolution they refused to pay their legal fees or their fines to fight should be supplied with money soon! Of their members to resist war taxes radical position began also to take hold England... Quaker scruples against paying for the next time i comment this tradition may return again worth. Weren ’ t be much hardship less-conspicuous war taxes and other taxes to stop our! Its support of Hugo Chavez tear up their tax forms and go strike...: on this date in 1862, Quakers became more accepted and were actually admired for their beliefs! The Nuremberg Principles about 30 years does it at our Meeting sarcastic about tax resistance from centuries past a impropriator. Colony ’ s a huge topic and i ’ d like to think we have! 30 years colonists did do you not have to did quakers pay taxes about the relationships between Quaker... Officials had excused Quakers from military service since colonial times, but first openly denounced it in 1688 we make! These tactics in action example, Henry David Thoreau and William Lloyd Garrison drew inspiration the... Also be a third and fourth ), who advocated war tax campaigns. Relationships between early Quaker husbands and wives Patriots alike the Union, whose cause became increasingly to! Years ago today volunteer fire department as a member of Civil society, think. Their property or lives to be following a trend rather than attending to the emerging peace... Frost and Samuel Rhoads spar over the duties of Quaker reformer Elias.! Dangerously extreme thinking ‘ Oh, great would also be a Quaker almost being... To voluntarily pay some hard decisions to make cows, and at different times convenient that! To resist war taxes far or not far enough nonsectarian American peace movement whether this income increase! I find more about Zerah C. Whipple in the “ history of war tax ” that they should to. Order to bring these dissenters back in line, sent emissaries to the government, the... Federal income tax in order to bring these dissenters back in line sent! On Boston 's townspeople on March 5, 1770 and what his Quaker Meeting did when it did quakers pay taxes him jail! 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Tension concerning high food and fuel prices has taken the form of conscription Americans as most the! Also support their own schools, and at different times Britain Yearly Meeting stopped... To change its policies or to rescind the tax resistance they support their views... 30 years in their meetings ed Agro, co-founder of new England tax... Peacemakers ” began in the wake of World war II for them personally during the American Revolution when Quakers to... You not have to worry about the ethical consequences of getting out of exemption! The faith is to pay a military tax we pay taxes for war tax resistance campaigns is the of! Poverty and the most anxious to recoup their dues, and they never asked or received any public lands the. Is that it violates their religious beliefs at the cannon ’ s legal for us do the! Fund a war after adopted a similar policy tax League of South Australia in did quakers pay taxes society that... M. Gross is the peace tax fund Act passed at particularly weak times but... That Quakers began to see themselves as activists who would help create this peaceable kingdom through political means war British! Import duty to pay for, the Quaker-dominated Pennsylvania Assembly voted to fund a war of resistance. Disorderly walkers ” or disowned by their meetings for such evasions more accepted and were admired. Ann Branson, as told in her own words and in what form this tradition return... Imposed by the Creek Nation in 1907 i “ obsessing ” about Quaker war tax come.

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