Mercantilism and Triangular Trade

Economic Policies of Britain with the 13 Colonies


  • A theory that a nation's economic strength came from protecting and increasing its money coming in to the nation's treasury.
  • This creates a favorable balance of trade.
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Enumerated Commodities

Goods that the colonists could ONLY ship to Britain (raw materials)

How does a country gain wealth?

  • to regulate economic activities
  • to not spend more money than they make
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What was the purpose of the colonies?

  • to satisfy the needs of the mother country
  • to provide raw materials that are not found or are in low supply in the mother country
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Who was the "Mother Country" to the 13 Colonies?

  • Britain (a.k.a. Great Britain or England)
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What was the purpose of the Navigation Acts?

  • to limit colonial trade Britain ONLY
  • must use only British ships or colonial-built ships
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If colonists traded with another nation, where the goods have to be shipped first and why?

  • must be shipped to Britain first
  • this allowed the English to handle the goods first and to collect any revenue (money) from taxes
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What products could be traded with Britain?

  • tobacco
  • sugar
  • cotton

What did Britain (England) encourage the colonists to specialize in?

the production of raw materials
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What did Britain (England) do with the raw materials?

They converted the raw goods into products and then shipped them back to the colonists.
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What did England do to discourage manufacturing?

They set up regulations to govern (rule) industries that would have been in competition with the English.
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What advantage did the colonies receive from these restrictions?

  • The colonies had a built in market for raw materials.
  • There was always someone to sell to.
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Were the trade regulations strictly enforced?

No, the trade regulations were not enforced. This is called SALUTARY NEGLECT. As long as Britain was making money, they didn't pay attention to all the details and rules.
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What was a common occurrence in the colonies to obtain desired goods?

Smuggling was a common occurrence. The colonies began to sneak goods in from other countries and also began to sell to other countries secretly.
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