What role did the Navigation Acts play in Great Britain's mercantilist policies toward the American colonies?

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dbello eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mercantilism is an economic policy between the colonies and the mother country. The system was based upon the accumulation of gold and silver, collecting natural or raw materials, denial of any colonial manufacturing, and restricting colonial trade with any other nation other than the mother country. The Navigation Acts were a series of laws which established a framework for this economic system between great Britain and her colonies. Most of these acts promoted the mercantilistic policies and in addition restricted shipping policies. Although these laws date from as early as 1650 they were not strictly observed until after The French and Indian War, which England won in 1763 but had left the country bankrupted. The renewed enforcement of these acts led to colonial discontent that ultimately changed the course of British history.