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Chapter 3: Creating Anglo-America Prof. Gomez
Creating Anglo-America, 1660-1750 In the last quarter of the 17 th century, a series of crises rocked the European colonies of North America. Social and political tensions boiled over in sometimes ruthless conflicts between rich and poor, free and slave, settler and Indian, and members of different religious groups.
Expansion of England’s Empire The Mercantilist system: England attempted to regulate its economy to ensure wealth and national power. Mercantilism was an economic theory and practice, dominant in Europe from the 16th to the 18th century, that promoted governmental regulation of a nation's economy for the purpose of augmenting state power at the expense of rival national powers. It was the economic counterpart of political absolutism or absolute monarchies. Commerce was the foundation of empire, not territorial plunder. British government charters trading ventures like that Royal African Company. The Navigation Acts required colonial products to be transported in English ships and sold at English ports to benefit trade inside the empire only. The Navigation Acts were also a series of English laws that restricted colonial trade to the mother country.
England's Commercial Empire: The Triangle Trade
Mercantilism Beginning under Cromwell, and then under King Charles II, Parliament enacted a series of Navigation Acts designed to wrest control of world trade from the Dutch and enjoy the profits arising from the English Empire. How did England implement mercantilism? According to the Navigation Acts, certain enumerated’ goods – essentially the most valuable colonial products, such as tobacco and sugar- had to be transported in English ships and sold initially in English ports, although they could then be re-exported to foreign markets. Similarly, most European goods imported into the colonies had to be shipped through England, where customs duties were paid.
Who benefitted ? [The Navigation Acts] enabled merchants, manufacturers, shipbuilders and sailors to reap the benefits of colonial trade, and the government to enjoy added income from taxes. As members of the empire, American colonies would profit as well, since their ships were considered English. Indeed, the Navigation Acts stimulated the rise of New England’s shipbuilding industry. Who benefitted from mercantilism? American farmers and planters had a ready market for their agricultural products. (England was always ready to buy whatever they produced.) The English navy protected all commerce at no real cost to the colonists. Both sides, therefore, benefitted.
The Restoration of the English Monarchy With the restoration of the English monarchy in 1660 under Charles II, England expanded its colonial reach.

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