Taxes, as we learned in grade school, kindled the American Revolution. Revolt against collecting revenues without representation caused a tea party, propelling the colonies towards convening the First Continental Congress. Forgotten, though, is the role of taxes in shaping our fledgling nation immediately after the Revolution. Debates over which governmental body could impose taxes inflamed the delegates to the Constitutional Convention. So important was the issue that the decision to originate revenue bills in the lower house of Congress constituted a cornerstone of the Great Compromise, thus birthing the representational structure of our country. This principle became embodied in the Constitution as the Origination Clause,' ensuring that the power to tax would begin with the house that was directly elected and proportionate to the population.
Rebecca M. Kysar,
On the Constitutionality of Tax Treaties,
Yale J. Int'l L.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjil/vol38/iss1/2