War Tax Resistance Pioneer Margaret E. Dungan

Margaret E. Dungan was one of the founders of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and one of the earliest war tax resisters in the modern era (she started resisting in 1940). While trying to find more information about her and her resistance, I came across this article, from the Chester [Pennsylvania] Times:

Group Protests Military Spending, Won’t Pay Taxes

Because they believe that present military spending in the U.S. is leading toward a new war, 11 persons in the Philadelphia area have refused to pay part of their federal income tax.

Among the 11 taking this stand of protest is Margaret E. Dungan, Providence rd. and Willow la., Wallingford, a school teacher in Philadelphia.

In a letter written to President Truman, the 11 declare that “in a world filled with fear and suffering we want our dollars to fight for the eradication of disease, not to invent new and more devastating bacteriological weapons.”

Calling upon other citizens to “turn back from the suicide of militarism while there is yet time,” the tax refusers protest that the spending of “billions for armaments, conscription, and military alliances is a policy which can lead only to war.”

Oppose Totalitarianism

Continuing, the group writes the president that they are utterly opposed to all forms of totalitarianism. To oppose it, they suggest that the United States spend the billions, now allocated for military purposes, to “feed the hungry, promote economic rehabilitation, and allay the fears of the world by leading the way to disarmament.”

The Delaware County teacher says that “to every annual income tax return beginning with I have attached a statement that, for religious and moral reasons, I cannot voluntarily pay taxes levied for military use, and have always, except once, added that I would gladly pay an equal amount if I were assured that the sum would be used for the constructive works of peace.”

She adds that “the amount of the taxes that I refused to pay for , were seized, about a year later, with interest from my bank account. Since then, although I have received many notices of unpaid taxes, and several statements of the receipt by the deputy director of a warrant for distraint, no seizure has been made.”

In addition to Miss Dungan, those who refuse to pay the taxes and have written to the president are: Lindley and Emma Burton of Bryn Mawr; Caleb and Hope Foote of Arden, Del.; Walter and Emily Longstreth of Philadelphia; Caroline and Lydia Phillips of Wilmington; Grace E. Rhoads jr., Moorestown, N.J.; and William Bacon Evans, also of Moorestown.