English Legal History and its Materials
In the reading it's seems to me that there was an ongoing connection between the rise and fall of different ancient jurisdictions and courts, to the enhancement of taxation burden.

Several examples are mentioned in Plucknett "Concise History":

1. The Vill ceased to be of general legal importance since Elisabeth poor law and the use of Parish as a taxation unit (page 86).

2. In regards to the Manor, Plucknett writes that "the weakness of central power, too, undoubtedly promoted the growth of small local jurisdictions which were ready to undertake the task of repressing crime and organizing military defense. This process was very probably hastened by the heavy burden of taxation" (page 95).

It is clear that the burden of taxation was used by power capitalist to take advantage of small landowners that were unable to meet the tax requirement. But was is the primarily reason for tax system to be created?

Can anyone find through England history a more social reason for taxation? From the way I understood it- Elizabeth's poor law can maybe be seen as the foundation for the social welfare system existing today in Britain, if so, it might be interesting to find the connection between the two.

-- InbarAsif - 14 Sep 2014

If by "social" you mean that taxation ought to serve to promote the common good somehow, the text does refer to "heavy obligations in the maintenance of roads and bridges and the cleansing and repairing of river-banks" (page 86). It also discusses the "police powers of the vill" (86) and a bit later discusses the manor as an institution that helped protect against Danish invaders and the like (96). I'm assuming all of this is managed through the tax system, along with conscripted labor.

Whether the system was created more to consolidate power or to promote social order, I'm not sure, since it seems like both effects are usually pretty closely linked. It certainly seems that both were going on, with the Lord's arbitrary power to levy taxes when he feels like it exacerbating things (96).

-- FrancisWhite - 15 Sep 2014

My concern is whether Taxation as an institute, was created primarily for the social benefit of others (for example, as mentioned in the Old Testament about "tithing"), or was it first created in England for the purpose of feudalism, control and power. As I mentioned in the question, we can definitely see those two purposes in the reading, but I'm more interested in finding the main reason. Was the use of taxation to control poor landowners, was a "new way" of using an "old technique" aggressively to gain power? Or was it just an application of what was already familiar?

-- InbarAsif - 15 Sep 2014

Plucknett's account indicates the latter reason, at least in the case of the local lords who emerged during the thirteenth century and heavily taxed local landowners in exchange for providing military protection (95-96). As FrancisWhite? said, while the lords benefitted from the monetary proceeds and secondary transfer of power that occurred due to the heavy tax burdens they imposed on their formerly free tenants, they also provided services that may have benefitted their tenants by providing social order. These included courts that Plucknett describes as more "vigorous and flexible" than the king's courts, which recognized and allowed for the resolution of petty crimes that would not have been prosecuted under the common law of the king, but which upset the order of the feudal agricultural village (96).

-- KatherineKettle - 15 Sep 2014

Thank you both for your answers. Did any of you (or others as well) have any idea of what might be the reason or the connection between the rise and fall of ancient jurisdictions and courts to the enhancement of taxation burden?

-- InbarAsif - 16 Sep 2014

I think the question might need to get more specific if we're going to tie it strictly to tax issues. As a general thing, it seems difficult to separate the exercise of power or jurisdiction from the ability to extract money or property. E.g. forfeiture encouraged more vigorous enforcement of the criminal law.

-- FrancisWhite - 16 Sep 2014



Webs Webs

r6 - 16 Sep 2014 - 13:35:01 - FrancisWhite
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platform.
All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
All material marked as authored by Eben Moglen is available under the license terms CC-BY-SA version 4.
Syndicate this site RSSATOM