In Essay #31, Concerning the General Power of Taxation, Hamilton defends the authority of the federal government to impose taxes “in the ordinary modes,” as opposed to taxing the states in their collective capacities, with reference to three principles.
- First, a government ought to have enough power to fulfill its responsibilities.
- Second, since it is impossible to predict what problems the US government will face in the future, its ability to confront these challenges must not be unduly limited.
- Third, since all governments require money to fulfill their responsibilities, it must be granted the ability to generate revenue.
Hamilton asserts that certain principles in the natural science are plainly evident as in ethics and politics, they are “simply common sense,” and rudely dismisses critics’ arguments to be rooted in fear and serve only to prolong and confuse the debate.
Credit for the summary and analysis for Essay #31 is given to Brittany Nelson and Christopher Higgins (second revision 09/15/2011). Weinbloom, Elizabeth ed. “The Federalist Papers Essay 31 Summary and Analysis”. GradeSaver, 30 December 2011 Web. 29 January 2019.