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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

The Terrific Engine

Income Taxation and the Modernization of the Canadian Political Imaginary

Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

The Terrific Engine

Income Taxation and the Modernization of the Canadian Political Imaginary

What do we mean by left wing or right wing? People started using the language of a political spectrum when early twentieth-century political parties began to distinguish their platforms by offering different approaches to income distribution. The Terrific Engine examines how income taxation modernized political language over the period from the 1911 election through the Second World War. David Tough controversially argues that income taxation was established by popular demand, first to replace existing taxes and then to address income inequality through equalizing social programs. And, in establishing a clear basis for party differences, income taxation made elections significantly more democratic.

200 pages


Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: A Political History of Possibility

Part 1: The People’s Enlightenment and the Destruction of the Two-Party System

1 A Clear Line? The Great Deception and the Farmers’ Critique of the Tariff , 1910–11

2 The Brink of the Abyss: The “Conscription of Wealth” and the Party System, 1917–19

Part 2: The Citizenship of Contribution and the Construction of the Modern Political Imaginary

3 The Curve of Progressivity: “Fiscal Need” and the Constitution, 1921–39

4 A Modern Measure? The Income Tax Sublime and the Left–Right Spectrum, 1940–45

Conclusion: Income Taxation, Democracy, and the Modern Political Imaginary

Notes; Bibliography; Index

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