The Colonial Economy

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How did the colonists generally feel about the salutary neglect?

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The colonists in general—and especially the prominent people in trade—generally were very much in support of the British policy of salutary neglect.

Although the British officially had a strict series of trade laws regulating who the colonists could trade with, along with a strict set of tariffs, they were very lax about enforcing any of this legislation until the 1760s. So much money was rolling into Britain from the North American colonies in the seventeenth and first half of the eighteenth centuries that the British could easily afford to turn a blind eye to what the Americans were doing on the side. The Americans got very used to running their own affairs, especially avoiding paying taxes and tariffs and also trading freely with partners that were officially prohibited.

The British started to abandon salutary neglect when they had to pay for the costly French and Indian War. Since the war benefited the colonists, the British wanted them to help bear the costs. They did this by tightening up their prior lax approach to taxes and tariffs. This was a highly unpopular move and escalated tensions between the colonists and the British government.

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