What proportion of US government (federal,state,local) revenue came from profits or debt issuance of government-linked enterprises between 1790 and 1846?

I chose 1846 as the breakpoint because of the Walker Tariff; feel free to critique that choice.

Related questions: What were the sources of US government revenue from 1790 to 1846?


I have found sources sufficient to establish that government-linked enterprises were significant; these are listed below. However, I have not found enough to give me an idea of the magnitude.

  1. (h/t to Brian Z) This paper ("CRS Report") attempts to break down overall federal revenue; since it purports to be comprehensive, it can potentially rule out a lot of things. For the period prior to 1863, it says that excise (up to ~1816) and customs (after ~1816), along with public land sales, contributed most of the federal revenue. This paper, in turn (table 1 on p6), helps estimate the percentage of US revenue that went to the federal government versus state versus local. However, I have not done the necessary work to determine whether I can reasonably "glue together" these sources. I'm also not certain that "CRS Report" intends to include things like tolls in its accounting.
  2. This survey ("Wallis 1") motivates the question (p3 of the pdf) by identifying infrastructure investment as an important source of government income for the period 1790 and 1842. It also gives a partial indirect answer by estimating the relative share of property taxes for state governments from 1835 through the end of my period (p8 of the pdf).
  3. This paper ("GWS") goes into more detail for individual states toward the end of my period and takes a close look at financing. I have not assimilated it yet.
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  • @Pieter Geerkens Thanks! it's related but not quite the same. But depending on the answers, one might work to answer the other. I originally had a long multi-part question but split it up based on a suggestion in the comments. This question and the linked question are some of the resulting questions. – capet Sep 27 '20 at 2:13
  • @Carey Gregory Thanks, good question! It might. I would consider profits of government-linked enterprises to be a subset of non-tax-seeming sources, and I expect most people to agree. Any comprehensive answer to your linked question would probably also end up answering this question. However, I don't necessarily expect a comprehensive answer to the linked question and I want to direct particular attention to government-linked enterprises. The obvious alternative would be for me to call out government-linked enterprises in the linked question. Should I do that? – capet Sep 27 '20 at 5:44
  • @Carey Gregory The reason why I have not already done so is this: I fear that calling out government-linked enterprises in the question you linked above will result in a question that is too unfocused or broad. – capet Sep 27 '20 at 5:45

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