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What was the impact of mercantilism on the European colonization of North America?

The impact of mercantilism on the European colonization of North America was immense. This economic philosophy encouraged European explorers to see the colonies as a source of exploitation. Colonial economies were to be developed solely in order to provide wealth for the mother country.

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Mercantilism was an economic theory that underscored the importance of exports and trade to increase a nation's wealth and global power. This philosophy motivated European countries to look at colonies in North America as lucrative sources of wealth from natural resources. This way of viewing the colonies defined interactions between groups of people in North America and set the stage for increasing American resentment and revolution. One of the most significant, devastating impacts of mercantilism in North America was how it destroyed Indigenous people's way of life.

Consider how mercantilism fueled a desire for land along with a desire for profit. Mercantilism was at the root of Europeans' competitive quests for territorial expansion, which led to violent conflicts with Indigenous people. For instance, the French and Indian War that took place from 1754–1763 is often called a "mercantilist" war, because it was driven by France and Britain’s competitive views on their colonies as sources of wealth. The British had to fight French settlers and Indigenous people as they tried to take over the Ohio Valley. The British ended up winning (at great personal cost that led to higher taxes for the colonies) and as a result, many Indigenous people lost control over their native land and were forced to obey British rules. Mercantilism also motivated many Europeans to enslave Indigenous people so they would have unpaid workers generating profit for them.

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Mercantilism is an economic philosophy that was immensely popular in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the heyday of European colonization of North America. In very simple terms, mercantilism stated that colonies should be seen as a source of wealth for those countries willing to take the risk and embark upon the project of colonialism.

That being the case, European colonialists, especially the British, came to see North America as existing for no other reason than to provide wealth and resources for the mother country.

In practice, this meant that the American colonists were limited in which goods they could trade and with whom. The British authorities went out of their way to make it difficult, if not downright impossible, for their American subjects to develop an independent economy capable of satisfying their own needs.

Over time, this inevitably led to widespread resentment in the American colonies and spilled over into antigovernment sentiment. Increasing numbers of Americans were no longer prepared to engage in economic activity that simply served to benefit Great Britain. They wanted some measure of economic independence, which meant, among other things, a system of free trade. In turn, this fed a growing desire for political independence from the mother country.

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Mercantilism was an economic philosophy that predated capitalism. Under this system, European governments in the 1600s and 1700s tried to claim as much of the New World as possible; they believed that the world economy was a zero-sum game. In other words, resources that other countries claimed detracted from own their accumulation of goods. The goal of many countries was to amass as much bullion (gold and silver) as possible.

Mercantilism affected the European colonization of North America because European nations, including France, the Netherlands, Spain, and England, tried to claim as many natural resources as possible. In particular, the Spanish tried to accumulate as much gold as possible while enslaving the Native Americans they found. Many European countries were not interested in developing industries in the New World, as they only saw their territories as a means of beating out other nations to claim resources to add to their own coffers. 

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Mercantilism impacted the European colonization of North America significantly. Under the principles of the mercantile system, a country established colonies so it can benefit from its colonies. The European countries manufactured many products. In order to manufacture these products, these countries needed raw materials. By having colonies, the European countries were able to get raw materials from their colonies cheaper than they would have been able to if they bought them from other countries.

The European countries would then use these raw materials to make finished products. These products would be sold to the colonies. By having colonies, the European countries would have a guaranteed market for their products. This would allow the European countries to make a lot of money, as they would sell these products to their colonies. As the European countries established more colonies and did more trading, they became more powerful and wealthy. Thus, there were significant incentives for the European countries to establish colonies. The mercantile system greatly impacted the European colonization of North America.

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Mercantilism was a theory of political economy that was prominent in Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Basically, it argued that a nation's power was fundamentally based on its wealth, and that the government ought to regulate the economy in ways that increased the wealth of the state. This theory influenced colonization in a number of ways. First, it promoted the establishment of colonies on the ground that they could produce revenue for the state. Second, it led European nations to place trade regulations on their colonies. For example, English colonies, at least in theory, were banned by a series of laws known as Navigation Acts from trading with other European nations. Third, it caused many colonies to develop economies that were geared toward satisfying demands for certain items. Colonies specialized in certain staple crops, like sugar, tobacco, or rice, and they consumed manufactured goods from the "mother country." Above all, the theory of mercantilism encouraged the development of an Atlantic economy that involved Europe, West Africa, and the Americas. People, goods, and money flowed around the Atlantic, facilitating the growth of colonies. At the same time, this system required a tremendous amount of capital and especially human labor. So while the system of mercantilism facilitated economic growth in Europe and the Americas, it did so on the backs of millions of enslaved people brought from West Africa.

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