In the years following the American Revolution, the states and Congress struggled to pay down the domestic debt, which had consolidated in the hands of wealthy speculators. With a serious money shortage in the countryside, small farmers found they could not pay their taxes – and many were angry that they faced foreclosure while the revenue from their taxes was paying interest to America’s wealthiest citizens. The tax resistance that followed pushed American elites to conclude that the state governments were too democratic, and that the unwieldy and ineffective Articles of Confederation needed to be replaced with a stronger central government insulated from the economic demands of the general public. However, though the Constitution reduced the scope of state-level economic policymaking, it did not empower the federal government as some Federalists had hoped. To protect against abolition-by-taxation, Southern leaders sought and received special protections for slavery, in the form of over-representation of the slave states and strong limits on the capacity of the federal government to tax wealth. The Constitution should be understood as a framework designed to prevent the passage of populist fiscal and monetary policies that continues to shape the range of economic choices available to policymakers today.