A Common Sense Look at the Most Popular Titanic Conspiracy Theories — Tax Day and the Federal Reserve in the Spotlight

An unbelievable moment in history captured in a newspaper headline.

Today is the eve of the 100th anniversary of the legendary sinking of the Titanic cruise ship back in 1912. As promised, Common Sense Conspiracy is taking a moment to commemorate the occasion by looking at some of the wildest conspiracy theories that circulate to this day about this international tragedy. Many people know that the Titanic sunk on April 15, 2012, but not until this special year of the 100th anniversary are a lot of people noticing a coincidence. Yes, the Titanic sunk on a day that most Americans recognize as something else. That’s right, Tax Day.

While technically United States residents have until Tuesday, April 17 to complete either their physical or online tax return because the 15th fell on the weekend, the traditional tax deadline is April 15. Nowadays, a tax return cannot be accurately filed without the use of a w-4 calculator. A cruise around the conspiracy world will uncover a lot of interesting theories about this and what it means. Let’s start with one that attempts to connect Tax Day and the Titanic sinking together directly. According to the conventional conspiracy theory, three men that died on the Titanic opposed income tax legislation and the Federal Reserve. The men were John Jacob Astor IV, Benjamin Guggenheim, and Isador Strauss. What is accurate is that all three men did embark on the Titanic journey, and all three did indeed lose their lives in the tragedy. As the theory goes, they were supposed to die on the ship because they were the only three people holding up the income tax legislation. The date of April 15 for tax filing deadlines was then chosen as a symbolic commemoration of the sinking of not just the Titanic, but the only opponents of the Federal Reserve.

We have to admit, it’s a fascinating theory with some incredible coincidences. However, after the sheer fact that the three men were on board and did die in the Titanic catastrophe, the facts really break down. For starters, income tax was not introduced in that year as the theorists generally present as fact, hoping no one will check up on them. Federal income tax dates all the way back to 1861 when it was introduced to help fund a little conflict called the Civil War. While it has gone through tons of modifications over the years, including quite recently, income tax has been a part of every American’s life for over 150 years. Where the conspiracy theorists get the magic number of 1913, just after the Titanic tragedy, is actually from the fact that the Constitution was actually ratified and amended to give the government the legal ability to tax its citizens income. However, this was after years of challenges from the people and politicians objecting to the constitutionality of income taxes in general. While it was heavily debated from its inception in 1861 to its final approval in 1913, it continued to be put into practice the entire time. The legal challenges never amounted to enough to actually stop the practice of collecting income tax, but it was eventually decided to amend the Constitution to give the government the right to put aside the debate for good.

But why did they select April 15 as the tax deadline just after the Titanic disaster, as the conspiracy theories claim? Well, they didn’t. Tax Day was actually March 1 in 1913. A few years later it was moved back to March 15. It wasn’t until 1955, 43 years after the sinking of the Titanic, that Tax Day was officially set on April 15, where it has been set ever since. It is occasionally amended when it falls on weekend days, but the official Tax Day of America is April 15 ever since 1955.

So, while it makes an entertaining and fascinating story, there is no factual evidence that the deaths of the three men on the Titanic had anything to do with a massive conspiracy or the choosing of the tax filing date. It is also important to note that not everyone aboard the Titanic died in the incident. If there was some sort of government conspiracy to kill these three men, it was one with a lot of room for error. While it turned out that all three men did die in the sinking, there was a fair chance that one of them could have survived. In our experience, Common Sense Conspiracy finds that true government conspiracies to eliminate targets rarely have any room for error. They don’t take chances or hope that something bad happens to these people. If there was a conspiratorial reason for these men to die, you can rest assured they would have found an easier way to take care of them without taking out the Titanic in the meantime.

Books have been written and many debates raged about the possibility that the Titanic disaster was the biggest insurance scam of all time. The idea behind it is that with so many wealthy and well-known people aboard at that time period, and with the huge value of the ship itself, the insurance payout on the tragedy would have to have been a huge windfall for someone. This is another one of those theories that flies around with no factual basis. The Titanic was in fact underinsured. The White Star Line suffered significant losses from the sinking of the Titanic because it was not insured for anywhere near the amount of money that it ended up costing everyone involved.

We’re not through delving into this event that left an unmistakable impact on our world, but as for these conspiracy theories, we would have to say debunking is complete.

17 thoughts on “A Common Sense Look at the Most Popular Titanic Conspiracy Theories — Tax Day and the Federal Reserve in the Spotlight”

  1. This article, like most “Debunkers” relies on ‘appeal authority’, and ‘straw man’ fallacies and fails to sight any sources. Furthermore while the events discussed may be factual they don’t directly contradict the conspiracy they only attempt to make it seem less plausible; in the end congratulates itself on “destroying” the conspiracy. There is substantial evidence of that supports the conspiracy surrounding the Titanic. You select a few dates and proceed to build your case. While sidestepping some of the most substantial evidence.

    1. “For starters, income tax was not introduced in that year as the theorists generally present as fact, hoping no one will check up on them. Federal income tax dates all the way back to 1861 when it was introduced to help fund a little conflict called the Civil War. ”
      “Where the conspiracy theorists get the magic number of 1913, just after the Titanic tragedy, is actually from the fact that the Constitution was actually ratified and amended to give the government the legal ability to tax its citizens income.”

      “But why did they select April 15 as the tax deadline just after the Titanic disaster, as the conspiracy theories claim? Well, they didn’t. Tax Day was actually March 1 in 1913. A few years later it was moved back to March 15. It wasn’t until 1955, 43 years after the sinking of the Titanic, that Tax Day was officially set on April 15, where it has been set ever since.”

      “there is no factual evidence that the deaths of the three men on the Titanic had anything to do with a massive conspiracy or the choosing of the tax filing date.”

      Oh those pesky facts, just a few that you happened to conveniently miss, among the many others you can find if you just did some objective research. This is you: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

      And this too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

      Beliefs can survive potent logical or empirical challenges. They can survive and even be bolstered by evidence that most uncommitted observers would agree logically demands some weakening of such beliefs. They can even survive the total destruction of their original evidential bases.
      —Lee Ross and Craig Anderson

  2. Not only were the 3 men against taxes, but were strongly against the establishment of the federal reserve and had the power to block it. This makes more sense as some of the most powerful people in the world were attempting create this privatized central bank to gain financial control of the country. 100 years later you can see the success the federal reserve has had in manipulating interest rates and inflation to steal the wealth of the American people. My question is why weren’t any of the pro federal reserve people asked to take this most famous trip? Where was JP Morgan who had control of the ship building company?

  3. JP Morgan was scheduled to go on the Titanic, but he canceled at the last minute. But some of his valuable cargo was sent, and insured very well. Look it up, that says more than this entire article.

    1. No actually it doesn’t. It is another instance of you making extraordinary links between two events despite being borderline insane to believe in the first place. The Titanic was the biggest thing in the world at that time, it was the biggest media story and every single person who was anybody in the world wanted a ticket onto it. What’s more plausible, that these 3 men who were some of the richest in the world along with JP Morgan wanting to go on this new first ever cruise ship like every other rich person in the world? Or is it some vast conspiracy that is entirely made up of coincidental anecdotes like this one?

      1. It was not the “biggest media story” — only after Titanic sunk was it a big story — as it was the second of three Olympic-class liners built by White Star to compete with Cunard’s stable of ocean liners. The voyage was only 2/3rds subscribed. The more believable theory is the insurance scam as the Olympic had been damaged in a collision with HMS Hawke and it was feared that it would not receive its seaworthiness designation on its next inspection. If that was the case, repairs to the ship (such as replacing the keel) would have been prohibitively expensive. The ships were alleged to have been “switched” while the Titanic was being completed and the Olympic was back in Belfast for a repair related to another incident in March 1912. There are different claims as to how much insurance J.P. Morgan had with Lloyd’s for the Titanic and there is compelling evidence on both sides of the argument. The book “Titanic or Olympic” presents a solid case against a conspiracy. A video on YouTube entitled “Titanic: The Shocking Truth” does a good job of presenting the pro-insurance scam case.

  4. Good article. Another problem with the “Federal Reserve” theory is the fact that Isidor Straus actually SUPPORTED the Federal Reserve Act, and was quoted in the New York Times (in 1911, I believe) as saying so. So we can rule him out. As for Guggenheim, who didn’t inherit his father’s business acumen, much of his fortune had been squandered by the time he died. Astor’s business was primarily real estate and his divorce and re-marriage to a much younger woman had caused a scandal. How much political pull did Astor and Guggenheim really have? If anyone can provide primary sources confirming that they opposed the Federal Reserve Act, I’d like to see it.

  5. The federal income tax has not been implemented since 1861. It was attempted to use income tax during war time, the war of 1812 and the civil war for short period of times. Both of those wars were fought because The United States did not submit to European central banks, they controlled their own currency and did not pay interest on their loans. There were minor income taxes in the late 19th century which only barely 10% of people had to pay in the United States. It wasn’t until 1913 that the income tax started for real. It was not ratified and is not a legal tax. The amendment was passed on December 23rd 1913 with only three to sign it into law while all others were home during Christmas.

    The FED is a fraud and so is the tax.

    I don’t know if Titanic was sunk by an iceberg or not, but frankly it wouldn’t surprise me in if it wasn’t.

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