, I reproduced some of Hippolyte Taine’s observations about tax resistance during the French Revolution. Anarchist Pyotr Kropotkin also wrote a book about this revolution. His research on the tax resistance angle doesn’t add much to what Taine uncovered, but the following brief excerpt shows what conclusions he drew:
…The taxes, the town-dues, the levies and excise were no longer paid. “The collectors of the taille are at their last shift,” said Necker, in his report of . “The price of salt has been compulsorily reduced one-half in two of the revolted localities,” the collection of taxes “is no longer made,” and so forth. “An infinity of places” was in revolt against the treasury clerks. The people would no longer pay the indirect tax; as to the direct taxes, they are not refused, but conditions were laid down for their payment. In Alsace, for instance, “the people generally refused to pay anything until the exempts and privileged persons had been added to the lists of taxpayers.”
In this way the people, long before the Assembly, were making the Revolution on the spot; they gave themselves, by revolutionary means, a new municipal administration, they made a distinction between the taxes that they accepted and those which they refused to pay, and they prescribed the mode of equal division of the taxes that they agreed to pay to the State or to the Commune.
It is chiefly by studying this method of action among the people, and not by devoting oneself to the study of the Assembly’s legislative work, that one grasps the genius of the Great Revolution — the Genius, in the main, of all revolutions, past and to come.