Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Schwarz, Jordan A., -1995

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of History


Taxation--Law and legislation--United States; United States.--Laws; statutes; etc.--Revenue act of 1942


The Revenue Act of 1942 was a pivotal point in the financing of the American corporate state. Instituting the basic framework for Federal taxation during World War II, the measure also established the modern tax structure that exists up to the present day and funds the Federal government which has assumed a necessarily large role in supplementing and subsidizing the existing corporate capitalist economy. A general consensus existed among most Federal tax policy makers, whether Republicans or Democrats in both Congress and the Roosevelt Administration. They agreed that the broad outlines of the Revenue Act should be consistent with and further facilitate the operation of the business economy, largely dominated by corporate enterprise, and that it should place the burden of new taxes on the heretofore untaxed millions of low and middle-income Americans. This consensus formulated the tax act as such in spite of rhetorical electoral appeal and a determined adherence by some policy makers to the principles of heavy progression, no war profiteering, equality of sacrifice, and taxation according to one's ability to pay. The measure was partially a product of the war emergency and the need to stimulate war production by deferring to corporate desires. It was also partially the result of the power of big business lobbies in Washington, It was, as well, the product of the crucial need to fight inflationary pressures by curbing mass purchasing power in the hands of the bulk of the American population. More fundamentally, however, policy makers in 1942 transcended any such immediate considerations; the Revenue Act of 1942 was a timely policy response to meet the needs of a mature corporate capitalist system. Federal tax policy makers, thinking in terms of how best to facilitate the functioning of the existing socio-economic system, acted as responsible leaders of that system.


Includes bibliographical references.


150 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type