Mercantilism In The 18th Century

1102 Words 5 Pages
Rachna Shah
APUSH; CH. 3 Until the mid-1700's, European powers regarded the American colonists as lowly and largely ignored them—if they did acknowledge their presence, it was for applying new laws and rules. Mercantilism changed that. Until then, land and colonies were translated into a country's success. However, with the advent of mercantilism—the economic theory that trade engenders wealth and is stimulated by the accretion of productive balances, which a government should encourage—, England started imposing its mercantilist policies upon the thirteen colonies. This was done by the imposition of various acts and policies. However, these policies were not received well and had generally negative consequences, in each of the colonies’
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In order for mercantilism to work properly for large profits in the government, there needed to be more exports than imports; in order for that to happen, the English passed laws and acts in their American colonies in order to favor themselves. Between 1651 and 1673, the Navigation Acts were passed: they stated that only English/English colonial ships could carry cargo, certain goods could only “be shipped through England”, money would be paid to Americans who produced raw goods that England wanted, and Americans were not to be in competition with the English economy. Colonial trade was restricted by these acts; therefore, mercantilism had a negative relationship with the American colonies. However, at the beginning, many colonists were able to escape the acts through smuggling and salutary neglect (a policy developed by England that meant that “trade laws that most hurt the colonial economy were not enforced”. They did this to maintain the colonists’ colony because England needed the colonists’ support at the time of the Seven Years’ War. British mercantilism also manifested itself in other ways, through the “triangular trade”. Trade routes linked the colonies, West Indies, Africa, and England, primarily for trading slaves and raw goods. Because of this, tobacco prices from Virginia were lowered, and the colonies’ economies suffered. …show more content…
In the height of the Middle Ages, it was a universally acknowledged fact that large amounts of land were translated into large amounts of wealth, which translated into large amounts of respect from “lower” members in society. However, the definition of wealth soon translated into valuable materials, known as bullion (gold, silver, etc.). As Europe’s political landscape was rewritten, mercantilism began to take hold of country’s political and economic views. Mercantilism was characterized by foreign trade with individual and nationalistic interests; England redirected its colonization efforts to fit around mercantilism, which soon created a power flux of European powers. This started with the creation of joint-stock companies—a company whose stock is owned jointly by the shareholders—when John Cabot was granted a Royal Charter by the English government. The North American colonies became not royal colonies like the Spanish and Portuguese colonies, but instead, individual economic ventures supported by joint-stock companies and granted by royal charters. At first, England was fairly behind in the colony-establishing venture, despite being a powerful nation; therefore, they established Jamestown, twelve other British colonies, and the most prosperous colony,

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