AP US- Summer essays
2. To what extent did mercantilism affect the political and economic development of England’s 13 colonies?
Many European kingdoms adopted the economic policy of mercantilism, this form of economy focused on trade, colonies, and the accumulation of wealth as the basis for a country’s military and political strength. According to mercantilisms law, the government should control all aspects of trade and production to become self-sufficient. The colonies are used for the sole purpose to provide raw materials to their mother country. This enables the mother country to make profit for the industries. The prosperity of the mother country was goal in the colonies. As a way to put the mother country in control, a set of Navigation Acts were put in place. These acts established three main rules for trade. Firstly, trade to and from the colonies could be carried only by English or colonial-built ships, which could be operated only by English or colonial crews. Secondly, all goods imported into the colonies, except for some perishables, could pass only through ports in England. Thirdly, specified or “enumerated” goods from the colonies could be exported to England only. Tobacco was the original “enumerated” good, but over a period of years, the list was expanded to include most colonial products. These Navigation Acts affected the development of the colonies in both negative and positive ways. Although the economic flourished for a short period of time under mercantilism, the policies were often unnecessary. The colonial manufactures were severely limited because of how much control the mother country had. They were not able to freely produce goods because they needed the approval of the King, this often set back production and trade. The monopoly that was made from Chesapeake’s Tobacco started to crash and burn due to the fact that the farmers received low prices for their crops. The colonies weren’t as wealthy as their mother country, and often...
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