British Mercantlism Essay

630 words - 3 pages


British mercantilism established itself with the help of the trans-Atlantic trade. Great Britain was then able to have adequate supremacy over the colonies to regulate slave trade to successfully make it profitable to Britain and impose several acts such as the Navigation Acts and Molasses Act.
Trade routes linked the American colonies, West Indies, Africa and England. The triangular trade is an example of mercantilism, or the idea that the mother country gains wealth and power by controlling the trade of its colonies. Slaves were bought in Africa by selling them manufactured goods produced in Europe. Those slaves were then transferred to America and used to produce raw materials to be shipped back to Europe, so Europe could make manufactured goods. This primarily benefited Great Britain. By taking products from America and then either creating manufactured goods or selling the original products to other countries (foreign markets), England was able to profit from the wealth of goods found in America. An American merchant would not be able to deal with another country directly, but would have to work within the rules that Great Britain established for them. In order to increase Great Britain’s wealth, Britain tightened the economic policies in the colonies by instituting the Navigation Acts and Molasses Act.
The Navigation Acts were acts were planned to promote the self-sufficiency of Great Britain by controlling colonial trade to the colonies and reducing reliance on foreign investors. The first Navigation Act, instituted by Oliver Cromwell in 1651, targeted mostly at the Dutch (the Dutch was the colonies main investors), required all trade between England and the colonies to be carried in English or colonial ships. The Navigation Act of 1660 continued the policies made in the 1651 act and listed certain goods such as sugar, tobacco, cotton, and ginger that only could be exported to Great Britain’s...

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