History shows us that Jefferson was fond of the ‘republican’ form of government with a ‘republican’ people: no big cities, lots of small farms and towns, and a people clamoring for liberty. Given that economic thought was severely underdeveloped during this period (Adam Smith had only just published On the Wealth of Nations [about]), it is no surprise that Jefferson saw progressive taxation as a way to free up the landed system. In America, progressive taxation did not occur in most places until the twentieth century. This allows us to see what happens in a country with progressive taxation: Corporations can still buy the government, a huge portion of the tax burden is placed on the middle class (not the rich alone), and many rich people can escape paying taxes altogether through loopholes in the tax system. All the while, the poor benefit from economic “equality” by receiving benefits and producing nothing.
Sources for the letter
My Own Commentary