How did the political and economic structures in British North America compare with those of French and Spanish America?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Not surprisingly, the British colonies were the ones with the freest political and economic structures.  This was in keeping with the fact that Britain had a much less powerful monarchy and more of a tradition of free enterprise than the other two countries did.

Economically, the British colonies were more diversified than the French and Spanish and less dependent on forced labor (with the obvious exception of the South) than the Spanish.  The British colonies had diverse economies of their own with farming, merchants, and artisans whereas the French and Spanish colonies were much more reliant on extractive industries.  In the Spanish case, these industries were worked by forced Indian labor where the British ones were worked by free whites.

Politically, the British colonies were more democratic.  They had a fair degree of local control and allowed for a great deal more political participation by people outside of the elites.  This was not the case in either the French or Spanish colonies.

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