Tax, war, democracy and rebellion intertwine down the ages. In this paper I introduce readers to the reasons why tax history is important and the concepts underpinning later articles. The four tax history articles that will be published in total over the next four issues (from September 2016 to June 2017) will look at history from the Magna Carta to Australia today through the prism of tax. A key theme is the role ordinary working people (peasants, artisans, workers for example) play in protests against oppressive taxes and how that anger can spark rebellions and revolutions. These rebellions and revolutions often have democracy as their main demand.