3.7 No Taxation Without Representation (in the USA)

No Taxation Without Representation (in the USA)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton once gave a fiery speech urging all women to refuse to pay taxes until they got the vote. But that didn’t really happen. Listen to hear why “No Taxation Without Representation” really wasn’t the main argument for American suffragettes and why even after the 19th amendment, some American women couldn’t vote because of a tax.

Women mentioned include Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Julia Smith, Abby Smith, Margaret Thatcher, and Evelyn Butts.

This episode is part of Series 3: Women and Money Matters.

Sources and Images

I had two major sources for this episode:

Julia and Abby Smith were two sisters who refused to pay their taxes without representation. You can read more about their story at Connecticut History.

Image in Public Domain

Some Alabama women made the direct connection to the Revolution, but this was not the most common argument in the woman’s suffrage movement.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

This clever poster forgot to mention “Taxpayer” as one of the things a woman could be without gaining the right to vote.

Image by The Suffrage Atelier, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Even after suffrage was granted, some states required payment of a poll tax before voting. This poster reminded Texas women to pay it, but that didn’t help if you couldn’t afford it.

Image from The Story of Texas

Poll taxes were not finally declared to be illegal until the 1966 Supreme Court decision Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections. That case had combined several smaller cases together, but civil rights activits Evelyn Butts was one of the original plaintiffs.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Feature Image from Wikimedia Commons

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