Birth of the Nation: The First Federal Congress 1789-1791
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    Establishing a Revenue System
View of New York Harbor from Brooklyn,
New York: St. Memin C.B.J., Fevret de
(Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

" "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States. . . ."

Article I, Section 8

The lack of a stable source of revenue had plagued the Confederation Congress, which was forced to rely on requisitions on the states to meet the government's needs. The new Constitution granted Congress the authority to lay and collect several forms of revenue and to appropriate this revenue for the operation of the government. Most members agreed that the Congress must act quickly to start the flow of revenue into the federal coffers.

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