E. R. A. Seligman's importance derives from the fact that he conducted a survey of tax collection practice and culture in the UK and beyond, with the practical objective of determining what sort of method would best befit the US's new income tax. He strongly believed that studies of what he called 'fiscal science' could solve wider social problems, even including prostitution. Seligman later was opposed to consumption or sales taxes, which were designed to affect the median earner. Seligman's views of the legitimacy of the income tax were intimately tied to his views on morality. He placed great weight on the claim by fiscal Secretary McAdoo that the purpose of the loans was 'in assisting to hold the battlefronts of Europe until the might of our heroic army could be felt effectively'. The system for tax collection in colonial and post-revolutionary Rhode Island had been set since the seventeenth century, and was not all that dissimilar to that in England.