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As a result, Whigs almost never held a majority in either chamber of the Legislature.There were a handful of other taxes, such as taxes on merchants’ gross receipts, but for the most part, they made little impact on white Alabamians.“They have no sense of being taxed, and they feel taxes are borne by slaveholders, particularly large slaveholders,” Thornton said.Legislators rushed to introduce tax restrictions after Reconstruction without making serious efforts to find other sources of revenue.That set in place decades-long policies that, to this day, make it difficult and sometimes impossible for Alabama to generate enough revenue to pay for its state services.

Mills Thornton, a retired University of Michigan professor and historian of the South.A shameful stabilizer.”Taxes on slaves weren't limited to Alabama.In a 2003 article, Boston University School of Law professor Kevin Outterson wrote that the slave tax brought in anywhere from 30 percent of public revenues to (in South Carolina) 60 percent.But slavery required force, and the records of the legislative acts in the antebellum list ever-more paranoid and oppressive laws in Alabama.Where slave taxes generated revenue for the government, taxes on free blacks -- aimed at punishment.

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The slaveholder could sell that same person for up to $1,600 (equal to about $43,000 today).

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