British mercantilism was a theory to bring all thirteen of the American Colonies together. It is defined as an “economic system whereby the (British) government intervenes in the economy for the purpose of increasing (British) national wealth. ” Simply put, mercantilism set up trade between the Colonies and Great Britain so that money never left the British system. Mercantilism created wealth through the importation of resources from the American Colonies to make exportable goods. Finished goods were then sold back to the Colonies and around the world.
The theory of mercantilism can best be en through the Trade and Navigation Acts of 1640 – 1776 . The acts stated that Colonial goods were allowed to be shipped only on Colonial or British vessels, thus limiting trade solely to Great Britain. The acts also stated that goods imported from outside of Great Britain must first pass through Great Britain to be taxed, thereby discouraging trade from outside Great Britain. Finally, the acts stated prescribed what goods the Colonists were permitted to manufacture.
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These goods, called “enumerated products” were sold only to Great Britain, forcing Americans to trade almost exclusively with Britain. The impact of British mercantilism on the Colonies was split between the Northern Colonies and the Southern Colonies. The Northern Colonies did not benefit from mercantilism because they were becoming an industrial society and manufacturing finished goods. The Trade and Navigation Acts took jobs from the North and moved them to Britain while expanding markets for unfinished goods.
Natural resources grown in the Southern Colonies were sent to Britain to be manufactured. The South was willing to live with the acts because it helped their economy by creating new markets. However, robbers arose in 1685 when Great Britain (the parent) began to take away the Colonies’ (child’s) self-governing rights and tried to enforce the rules of Parliament. The French-Indian War also paved a pathway to the American Revolutionary War. This war was significant to the American Revolutionary War because it planted the seeds for Colonial separation from Great Britain.
The French- Indian War was fought over the Ohio River Valley between the French and the British because “Whoever controls the valley controls the continent. ” During this time period, 1 754 – 1763, France was attempting to expand their territory out from Canada as Britain promoted Colonists to expand west. The French set up forts to prevent this westward expansion. King George Ill called for an inter-Canonical meeting to aid Britain in the war. The Albany Conference met in Albany, New York where Benjamin Franklin shared his idea of a “plan of union ” with the Colonies, planting the seeds of revolutionary thought.
Eventually, the French were defeated by the British and the Colonies; however, due to the war, British debt rose and Britain taxed the Colonies to settle this debt. Higher taxes placed upon the Colonies paved yet another road to the American Revolutionary War. The Colonists felt that many of the acts enforced by the British for the purpose of taxation took away the rights of the Colonists. The Sugar Act of 1764, although actually decreased taxes, impeded upon rights such as the right to be tried by a jury of peers, the right of privacy through searches using writs of assistance, and taxation without representation.
Britain argued that because the tax had decreased, the penalties must be made stricter, and that Colonial representation was virtual, not geographical. A few of the acts that followed the Sugar Act were: 1 . The Stamp Act of 1765, which requiring the purchase of special seals to ultimate official documents was boycotted through the Sons bibber organization , and caused the British government to rescind the act in 1776. 2. The Declaratory Act of 1 766, which gave the Parliament sovereignty over the Colonies “in all cases whatsoever. 3. The Townsend Act of 1 767, which put a sales tax on everyday items imported from England and gave British soldiers the right to use a writ of assistance. This act also took away, yet again, the colonists right to trial by jury and would send any “guilty” party to England for court, as well as giving the British soldiers the right to collect taxes. . The Coercive Acts of 1 774 (Intolerable Acts) closed the Port of Boston, restricted town meetings and forced the quartering of British troops in Boston.
These acts gave the British government the right to occupy the Colonial territory. The Colonists felt choked and were ready to take action. Throughout all time parents and children have struggled to balance power as the child grows. The parent, knowing their child will eventually grow into adulthood, tries to hold onto the child. The child, although scared and uncertain of what it life is like without their parent’s protection still yearns for redeem. This is exactly what happened as the Colonies began to grow and recognize their desire for freedom.