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British Mercantilism

Powerful Essays
Economic ideas and systems come and go. Many systems have failed and many have succeeded. The British system of mercantilism was actually quite a good system for England. They raked in profits from their colonies. The only problem was that they did not give enough economic freedom to their colonies. At almost every turn, the British tried to restrict what their colonies could do and whom they could trade with. In hindsight, I believe that the British may have been a bit more lenient on their restrictions because the constant prohibitions eventually lead to revolution…
England did not directly control its colonies. Instead, they let joint-stock companies control and provide funds and foodstuffs for the colonies. Modern day corporations find their roots in these Joint-stock companies. The joint-stock companies were comprised of a group of entrepreneurs who provided the funds for all the voyages and supplies. The people funding the company usually controlled the colony as well.
The Dominion of New England was set up by English officials to unite the colonies into one defense against the Native Americans. It was run by a man named Andros, who began to levy taxes on all the colonists without first getting input from the various assemblies from the colonies. The Dominion of New England was eventually overrun. Andros was being searched for because of the failings of this Dominion, so he took cover and tried to escape the colonies by dressing like a woman. However, his boots gave him away.
The colonists were growing more and more displeased by the economic system the British were forcing on them, and then the Molasses Act came. This Act placed high tariffs on sugar, molasses and rum imported into New England in a effort to prevent colonial trade with the French West Indies sugar islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe. British sugar merchants on the islands of Barbados, Antigua and Jamaica had complained to Parliament. The law was enacted to restrict non-British trade and to further enforce the concept that trade was to be done only on British owned ships. In response to this Act, the colonists began to smuggle goods into the colonies.
Parliament also passed a series of Navigation Laws, which further restricted trade from the colonies. Cromwell passe...

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...ion and ideas and to build colonial unity, and, in 1774, these committees prepared the way for the First Continental Congress. The representatives at this First Continental Congress, except for a few radicals, had not met to consider independence, but wished only to persuade the British government to recognize their rights. A plan of reconciliation offered by Joseph Galloway was rejected. It was agreed that the colonies would refuse to import British goods until colonial grievances were righted, those grievances were listed in petitions to the king, and the congress adjourned.
The British mercantile system was doomed for disaster from the moment that the colonists set foot on the new continent. At first the British gave the colonists a certain feeling of independence, then they put the collar on and expected the colonists to do everything that they asked them to. What happened in the American colonies is a great example of the line “Give them an inch, they’ll take a mile.” The British set up the colonies in the idea of making money, which was the whole point behind mercantilism. However, you can’t expect people to kneel down and obey forever.
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