Today, some bits from the archives about American suffragette tax resister Anna Howard Shaw. First, from the San Francisco Chronicle, :
Dr. Shaw Calls Upon Women to Resist Tax
Suggests Concerted Action in Protesting to Forward Propaganda of the Suffragists.
Special Dispatch to the “Chronicle.”
New York, . — In a letter which she issued to unfranchised American women, Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, national president of the woman suffragists, calls upon all suffragists in America to follow her lead and refuse to give to the assessors of the voting precincts in which they live an account of the personal property they own. By refusing such a statement, Dr. Shaw says, the women of the country can voice their protest against a Government which taxes women without giving them the privilege of voting.
, the Vancouver Daily World also covered this story:
Advises Women to Resist Tax
New York, . — Militancy is not involved in the appeal issued by Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, president of the National Women’s Suffrage Association to suffragists who refuse to pay income taxes until they are given the right to vote. Dr. Shaw asserted that she advocated only a passive resistance to the government’s agents.
Dr. Shaw said she would refuse to make returns to her tax assessor and if fined by a court would refuse to pay the fine. If sent to jail, she will not start a hunger strike, she said, adding, “I should not thus destroy my health. I’m of more worth to the suffrage cause while I’m in good health than I would be if I was starved.”
In explanation of her letter to the suffragists, Dr. Shaw said:
“I hold it is unfair to the women of this country to have taxation without representation, and I have urged them to adopt a course of passive resistance like the Quakers, instead of aggressive resistance.”
Washington, . — Resistance on the part of the women of the country to the federal income tax law, despite the government’s announced intention of imposing a fine of $1000 for each failure to report income, will receive the encouragement of the Suffragists’ Congressional Union, it is announced in a statement issued by the organization headquarters here.
The Charlotte, North Carolina Evening Chronicle picked up the torch with this somewhat contradictory article:
Dr. Anna Shaw Declares That She Does Not Refuse To Pay Tax
Philadelphia, . — Declaring that many statements published in connection with her refusal to aid tax assessors in fixing the value of her property were erroneous, Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, issued a statement today in which she explained her attitude toward taxation and “militancy of which I have been charged without any foundation whatever.”
“There was nothing in my statement that could have been construed as a refusal to pay my taxes,” said Dr. Shaw. “Neither was there any thought of militancy in my refusal to fill out a bill of particulars of my personal property for purposes of taxation.
“I have always paid my taxes, but never without protesting against the tyranny and injustice of it. I will do so again but I refuse to aid the government to impose a personal tax by making out a specific bill of my possessions in order to assist in imposing this tax upon me.
“The law upon this subject is clear, even though unjust. It states that if a person refuses to fill out the bill the assessor will do so. In declining I violated no law but I stated a principle. If there is any militancy involved it is the militancy of the government, not mine.
“I am and always have been unalterably opposed to militancy.”
, the Logan [Utah] Republican carried this story, which seems to indicate that Shaw refused to pay her tax after all:
Dr. Anna Shaw to Lose Auto
Noted Suffragist Refuses to Pay Tax on Ground of Non-Representation
New York, . — Dr. Anna Howard Shaw president of the National American Woman Suffrage association probably will not attempt to save her little yellow automobile from sale at auction at Media, Pa., to satisfy a tax assessment according to a statement she issued here .
The car was presented to Dr. Shaw by her followers here. It was seized at Moylan, Pa., Dr. Shaw’s residence, on and is to be sold at auction to pay a tax assessment of $120 levied upon Dr. Shaw in .
The suffrage leader declined to make out a list of her property subject to taxes on the ground to tax her without giving her the right to vote “would be heaping injustice upon tyranny.” “In the spirit of ,” her statement read, “she declined to become a party to any act which violated the national constitution.”