The revenues of the several states, and of minor governmental areas within them, are mainly derived from a general property tax, laid directly upon realty and personalty.
The census estimate of the true value of property constituting the national wealth was limited in an enumeration of 1850 to taxable realty and privately held personalty; in 1900 it covered also exempt realty, government land, and corporation and ptiblic personalty.
Finally, the strain upon municipal finances incident to a realization of civic improvements has called attention to intangible wealth: street railways are no longer taxed as scrap iron but as working systems, with due attention to their franchises; and there is a beginning of the doctrine that the increase in value of unimproved realty constitutes income that should be taxed.
The whole body of freemen composed the General Court until other towns than Plymouth had been organized, the first of which were Scituate in 1636 and Duxbury in 1637, and then the representative form of government was adopted and there was a gradual differentiation between Plymouth the town and Plymouth the 1882 the assessment of realty increased nearly twelve times as much as personalty.
In the case of corporations realty and machinery are taxed generally by the local authorities, and stock values by the commonwealth.
In1855-1856a disastrous commercial panic crippled the city; and in 1858, when at the height of the Fraser river gold-mine excitement it seemed as though Victoria, B.C., was to supplant San Francisco as the metropolis of the Pacific, realty values in the latter city dropped for a time fully a half in value.