Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Although the North Carolina Constitution of 1776 had no specific tax provision, the draftsmen of Tennessee's Constitution of 1796 initiated a standard which reflected the creed of the frontier. These pioneers thought that every free man should contribute something to the support of the government and those with more ability should contribute more. The ability of the citizen was measured by the quantity of land and the number of slaves, which provided roughly a fair differentiation. Everyone had a similar log cabin; one lot in a settlement was worth about the same as another; one cleared acre was the equal of another where land was plentiful and only the best taken. The equality of the frontier made the standard workable and fair.