The federal income tax was adopted by the passage of the 16th amendment on Feb. 3, 1913. In honor of the impending 100th anniversary, here is a list of noteworthy accomplishments made without reliance on a personal income tax.
The list includes everything from inventions, to wars, to acquiring the land that now is the United States of America. Significant achievements that show that big, bloated government isn’t always the solution.
1. Steamship Travel
In 1807, Robert Fulton launched the first commercially successful steamboat, revolutionizing the transportation of passengers and cargo. Powered by steam, without the help of government tax revenue taken from paychecks.
2. Transcontinental Railroad
Steam power was soon put to use on land and railroads began to spring up across the U.S. To span the entire nation from coast to coast, the idea of the Transcontinental Railroad was born. Through the Pacific Railroad Act, the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroad companies were encouraged to compete to see who could get railroads that connected the east to the west fastest. This took only seven years, and completely transformed America into a unified nation.
3. Westward Expansion
Though the left hates the term “Manifest Destiny,” westward expansion helped firmly establish the United States as it is today. It took place as settlers in America decided to pursue the opportunities of owning large amounts of land, farming and settling new towns. It was the ultimate American Dream, and by 1840, nearly 40 percent of the American population had ventured out to explore new territories.
4. Louisiana Purchase
In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson purchased around 828,000 square miles of territory from the French in the Louisiana Purchase. This is the largest amount of land America ever acquired, and nearly doubled the size of the young country. And it happened without taking tax dollars directly from people’s paychecks. Amazing.
5. World’s First Skyscraper in Chicago
In 1885, The Home Insurance Building was completed in Chicago, Ill., becoming the world’s first modern skyscraper. It was 138 feet tall, with 10 stories, an impressive feat in the 19th century. Through American ingenuity, and without government subsidies, engineer William LeBaron Jenney was hired to build a tall office building that would be able to house more people while taking up less room in an urban area.
6. Edison Invents Light Bulb
In a key invention that was able to completely change the way people lived and worked, the light bulb was one of the most important developments of the 19th century. Thomas Edison was able to perfect the incandescent light bulb, and on Dec. 31, 1879, he demonstrated the first ever light bulb to a crowd. Today, however, the government has decided to can this important invention for a riskier, more expensive compact fluorescent bulb that has been highly subsidized through the government with money from, yes, the income tax.
7. Wright Brother’s First Flight
On Dec. 7, 1903, near Kitty Hawk, N.C., the Wright Brothers completed the first airplane flight in human history. They wanted to create transportation that would enable people to travel anywhere within the country in a single day, as opposed to the days it could take on a train. Good old American ingenuity … through private industry.
8. First Mass Production
After Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, he wanted to come up with a better way of assembling machinery. Whitney came up with a way for lower-skilled workmen made only a specific part to precision, each part identical to the last. Those parts were then assembled to make muskets. It was a huge break with the craftsman-like way products had been produced, and mass-production was born.
9. Alaska Purchase
The nation’s second largest land acquisition occurred in 1867, when U.S. Secretary of State William Seward purchased Alaska from Russia. What was first known as “Seward’s Folly,” eventually became a boon of natural resources. The United States acquired another 586,412 square miles of land, again, without the government started taking money directly from our paychecks.
10. Spanish-American War
Not only were ingenuity and land purchases accomplished, but America went to war without an income tax. During the Spanish-American War in 1898, America helped end the Spanish colonial rule in the Americas, and we also acquired new territories in the Western Pacific.