How does Thomas Paine in Rights of Man contribute to the fact that the taxpayer should be exempt from being taxed on the necessitites of life?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Thomas Paine's fundamental belief is that taxation is a method of control that an external body exerts on an individual or a nation.  His basis and operational understanding of this comes from the treatment of Colonists at the hands of Britain.  He has seen the British government tax the Colonists for the very "necessities of life."  The Sugar Act and Tea Act were examples of this, in that the Colonists were forced to pay excess tax on sugar and tea, basic staples of living.  Additionally, the Stamp Act ensured that the Colonists were to pay a tax on documents such as wills and political documents such as newspapers.  This tax forced the Colonists to pay extra for personal expression, another "necessity of life."  In Rights of Man, Paine asserts that there are basic and foundational rights, such as the right to have basic necessities of life, that should not be subject to taxation and further control.  Paine's experience with Taxation was that it was used as a method to control and exert more pressure on people and nations.  It is in this light where Paine makes his strongest argument, that taxation is another measure of control that can be easily abused.  In such an association where such mistreatment is present, his argument, as stated in Common Sense, is the idea that "'tis time to part."

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Rights of Man

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