Mercantilism

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The several colonies under British control in America were all ruled and governed by the same political and economic policy. Mercantilism is a policy where wealth is equivalent to power. It is the economic theory that a country’s wealth was measured in the amount of bullion it accumulated. Even though this policy was official by the British crown and Parliament, often a different policy advanced into society. Salutary neglect, a concept first written by Edmund Burke and first used by Prime Minister Robert Walpole helped as well as hurt Britain throughout history. Although undocumented, the British policy of salutary neglect strongly influenced the development of Colonial America; its effects were evident in both politics and the economy. The economic theory of mercantilism was said by many to be the base policy of the British American Colonies of North America. Mercantilism instills that a country’s wealth is based upon the amount of gold and silver it has amassed. It also instills that wealth is correspondent to the country’s trade value. In many Mercantilist countries the government is pushed to encourage a greater number of exports than imports, or a positive balance of trade. In order to keep this favorable balance of trade, several countries used taxes, tariffs, and subsidies making imports more and more unaffordable. Philipp Wilhelm von Hornick an Austrian Economist stated nine main points of a Mercantilist economy in his Austria Over All, If She Only Will. This famous novel written in 1684 became a guide for Mercantilist countries all over the world. The nine points included that all soil within a country should be used for agriculture, mining, or manufacturing; all raw materials should be made into finished products... ... middle of paper ... ...sh crown and the Parliament. The first goal the colonists made was to slip out of the restrictions; unfortunately they were enforced to the extremes. For breaking them an American could find themselves in jail or even worse. Almost like the snowball effect the colonists decided they had had enough, and rebellion after rebellion the American Revolution was born. It can swiftly and easily be argued that the root cause of the American Revolution was salutary neglect. Without it the Revolution would most likely still have taken place for even the original British policies would have become unbearable. Contrarily the revolution most likely would have been prolonged and possibly unsuccessful. Although undocumented, the British policy of salutary neglect strongly influenced the development of Colonial America; its effects were evident in both politics and the economy.

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