Taxation without representation is tyranny.
— James Otis
James Otis, a Massachusetts political activist, gets credit for arguably the first great American tax, or more accurately anti-tax, quote.
America’s fight for independence was largely tax-driven. Colonists rebelled against paying taxes, most famously on tea, to a king an ocean away. Otis’ quote sums up the mood of defiance in 1776.
Sadly, the tax sloganeer did not enjoy America’s freedom for long. The final revolutionary battle in the American colonies took place at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781. Otis died in 1783 after being struck by lightning.
To honor Otis and the original 13 colonies on Independence Day, here are 12 more tax quotes from notable Americans.