This lecture examines taxes as a view of the modern state and the modern citizen. It proposes that tax assessment became more calculated and predictable, and in this manner rid the new regimes of the arbitrariness of the old. No country was behind: tax reform was a transnational conversation and process that stretched from Washington to St. Petersburg and culminated in the tax revolutions of the early twentieth century -- the income tax. In the process of reforming tax codes, Europeans and Americans also reformed their economies and notions of personhood and citizenship; and in place of the overwhelming state power, a new space of inescapability made taxation anxiety-ridden sooner that outright coercive.
Yanni Kotsonis is Professor of History and the founding director of the Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia at NYU. His recent book is States of Obligation: Taxes and Citizenship in the Russian Empire and early Soviet Republic (Toronto, 2014).