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Taxation in British political and economic thought, 1733-1816

Horwell, Shane William; (2019) Taxation in British political and economic thought, 1733-1816. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis explores ideas of, and debates about, taxation by central government in Britain between the Excise Crisis of 1733 and the repeal of the income tax in 1816. It is about how the dramatic expansion of taxation in this era was understood to have happened and the effect that this was perceived to have had on politics and society. In short, it is a study of those thinkers and politicians who considered, wrote about, and debated the historical development of the modern system of taxation, its relationship with the emergence and nature of commercial society, and how a system of taxation could be made just, legitimate, and fair. Through a close examination of debates about public finance in print, in parliament, and in government, this thesis details the intellectual framework within which taxation in general, and specific taxes in particular, were discussed. This provides a new context, and a richer understanding, of the period in which taxation increased seven-fold in real terms and where taxes as a proportion of gross domestic product nearly trebled. Furthermore, this thesis contributes to the historiography of eighteenth-century ideas about the nature and emergence of commercial society, the right to private property, and social and economic inequality. The transition from feudal to commercial society, and the effect that this had on politics and socio-economic relations, was a major feature of eighteenth-century political and economic thought; however, the extent of the role played by society’s fiscal organization in this has been underappreciated. This thesis addresses this by detailing how the necessity of raising revenue through taxation impacted views of the relationship between governors and governed, the power of the state to infringe on the right to property, and socio-economic relations.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Taxation in British political and economic thought, 1733-1816
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10067177
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