“States in Insurrection”

When first reading the Revenue Act of 1864, I couldn’t help but wonder if the taxes were intended to be levied on just the northern states, or if the authors preferred to ignore the existence of the confederacy and apply the law to everyone in what had become a very fragmented Union. The answer came in Section 46 of the Revenue Act, dealing with those southern states where any tax collector for the federal government who attempted to carry out his duties would likely be shot. The act was intended to govern all citizens of the United States, whether their states seceded or not. But it did acknowledge the current situation to the extent that if the laws of the United States could not be executed in any part of the country, the President was authorized to carry out the provisions of the act “as soon as the authority of the United States . . . shall be re-established.” Awkward, and a little disturbing to imagine the tax collector following rapidly on the heels of the Union Army.