The Colonial Economy

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Why did the colonists resent mercantilism?

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Mercantilism was the dominant economic paradigm of its era and a critical influence in shaping American colonization. Ultimately, mercantilist theory tended to view economics as a zero-sum game. Its advocates argued for governmental regulation of the economy. They argued that by controlling its imports and exports, a country could maximize its wealth (while denying that wealth to rival powers).

From a mercantilist mindset, the colonies were seen primarily as a means to an end (existing for the benefit of the mother country). At this point, I think you should recognize that there was likely a kind of tension at play between political identity and economic self-interest. Remember, the colonists tended to view themselves as English citizens. With that in mind, the idea that their own interests should be aligned with England's interests might not have been quite so unpopular as this question would assume (especially in periods of conflict or war). However, despite these political allegiances, mercantilism remained a constraint on their economic freedom and detracted from their profits. Even so, for much of colonial history, enforcement of these mercantile laws remained largely lax, and smuggling was rampant within the colonies.

After the French and Indian War, the British government became much more interventionist than it had previously been and began to more stringently enforce these mercantile laws and to more stringently prosecute colonial smuggling. I would say that this change in policy influenced a change in attitudes, with the colonists becoming increasingly hostile as a result.

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The American colonists resented mercantilism because it placed restrictions on their own trade, and it had the ultimate goal of enriching Britain. The idea of mercantilism revolved around a mother country maintaining a positive balance of trade with its colonies, with the ultimate goal of increasing the wealth of the mother country. Mercantilism for the colonists meant trade limited with Britain, even if better deals could be made through engaging in trade with nations other than Britain.

An important aspect to the enforcement of mercantilism was the Navigation Acts. The Navigation Acts were designed to place greater control over colonial trade, and they were also a source of tension with the colonies, especially when the British began stricter enforcement of them following the French and Indian War.

While the colonists were forced to trade with England, even if better deals could be found elsewhere, mercantilism was not solely an economic issue. Many colonists also took issue with the fact that mercantilism was being forced upon them by the British government without allowing the colonists any representation on the matter.

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Mercantilism is an economic system where the nation in question creates and enforces strict rules regarding trade and the economy in general in order to boost the economy. The colonists resented mercantilism because it severely limited their options in regards to trade. All of the products that the colonists produced were expected to be traded with England so that England could maximize profits. But this hurt the colonists and limited their ability to improve their own economy.

Other countries would have given the colonists good deals and trade options, but this was outlawed by England, and the colonists resented being forced to be middlemen who were losing out on potential profits. As a result, they began to resent the mercantile system.

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The colonists didn’t like the system of mercantilism. Mercantilism is a system that is designed to benefit the country that has established the colonies. The colonizing country establishes colonies in order to make money and to profit by having the colonies. They pass laws that are designed to benefit them instead of the colonies.

For example, the British established colonies in North America. The British passed a series of laws, known as the Navigation Acts, which restricted what the colonists could do. The colonists were restricted from trading with other countries. They also had to use British ships to transport products. Even though the colonists could get products cheaper from other countries, they weren’t legally allowed to do this. The British expected the colonies to provide raw materials so that the factories in Great Britain could make products that would then be sold to the colonists.

For many years, the British were lax in enforcing these laws. As a result, the colonists smuggled items into the colonies. However, once the British began to crack down on the smuggling, the colonists were not pleased.

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The colonists resented the idea of mercantilism because it reduced their ability to make money and their freedom to trade with whoever they wanted.

In order to understand this, let us first look at what mercantilism is.  Mercantilism is the theory that a country can only become richer by exporting more than it imports.  In this view, free trade is a bad thing and countries should try to set up their trade in such a way that their exports are much more valuable than their imports.

The colonists did not like this because it led the English government to limit how the colonists could trade.  The English government did not let the colonists trade with other countries.  They wanted everything that the colonists made to come to England.  England could then export the goods to other countries.  This meant that the colonists could not get good deals on the things they had to sell because they were limited to selling to England.  The colonists could only buy things from England, thus making them have to pay higher prices.

For these reasons, the colonists did not like the idea of mercantilism.

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