Cornell International Law Journal


Republicanism, Estate tax


As the estate tax comes under increasing pressure from all sides, it is important that we determine just how rooted in American ideals such a measure truly is. On the one hand, it is true that Lockean theories of private property remain a stalwart influence on the nation, one which may be used to argue against the estate tax. On the other hand, however, the equally venerable theory of republicanism— one adopted and developed by the Framers themselves— can justify its continuation. Applying the principles of republicanism to this specific context, one can see how closely its tenets align with the goals of the estate tax, acting as a method of preventing aristocratic wealth accumulation and defending against gross inequalities that can harm a republic.