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The Role of the Colonies in the British Mercantilist System - Essay Example

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The aim of the paper “The Role of the Colonies in the British Mercantilist System” is to examine British colonies as a source of economic progress and status symbol among other countries. With King James II, British colonies turned into a source of profit and power…
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The Role of the Colonies in the British Mercantilist System
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Download file to see previous pages With King James II, British colonies turned into a source of profit and power for the British Empire. King James II attempted to create a centrally managed Atlantic Empire (Henretta & Brody 93). Though the Glorious Revolution weakened royal grip on power, King James II put forth the foundations of mercantilism, such as the need to expand economically in order to be a glorious empire. British colonies thus served to improve British economic status among other monarchies and independent states and towns in Europe. Mercantilism was a policy promoting self sufficiency among countries of the day (Nettels 105). According to Nettels, “[t]he policy aimed to gain for the nation a high degree of security or self-sufficiency, especially as regards food supply, raw materials needed for essential industries, and the sinews of war” (105). With this goal in mind, the British aristocracy pursued colonies which could produce sugar, tobacco and other food products. In exchange, they were required to buy English manufactured goods, or use the English merchants as intermediaries (Henretta & Brody 69). This practice was prescribed by the Staple Act of 1663, according to which colonial planters bought most of the needed manufactured goods from England (Nettels 109). England prohibited trade with other European countries, as it could not impose favorable terms of trade (Nettels 105). English government designed laws that would keep colonies dependent upon English economy (108).  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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