How British Economic Policy Affected the Growth of British North America

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By the time the British colonies incited rebellion between them and the British in the 1770’s, they had grown to be powerful and economically independent, the population growing by a factor of eight from 1700 to 1770. British economic policy, is largely to blame for this, driving people to the new world and providing a framework for the economy of the Colonies to grow. The British would also commonly turn a blind eye to those who breached their rules and laws, and this too helped develop and diversify the American Economy. Furthermore, the adoption of a comparatively aggressive mercantilism by England led the colonies to grow much more than those of France and Spain, further pushing them out of the equation. Altogether, British Economic policy was a perfect mix of both salutary neglect and enforced protocol to spur a large amount of growth in British North America, doing so not only through just the Navigation Acts and Salutary neglect, but also the order in which they introduced new laws and regulations. The Navigation Acts were a series of laws published from 1651 to 1733 which mostly prohibited trading between the British colonies and other nations, such as the Dutch, French, and Spanish. The most early of these were not awfully harmful, and promoted independence of outside goods within the colonies. For example, the Navigation Act of 1663 required goods made in British America to be shipped through England before being sold elsewhere, something which benefited both economies. The Molasses Act of 1733, however, was much more impactive to the colonists, putting a duty of precisely “the Sum of Nine pence ... for every Gallon thereof ” (Sugar and Molasses Act of 1733) on imported sugar from the West Indies. Nonetheless, this act was rarely followed, and it was this non-enforcement which made the colonies grow and flourish. The term salutary neglect was first used
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