Jean Baptist Colbert The Trading Game

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One of the most recognized periods in time is that of the period of absolutism in France during the 1600s. Monarchs, such as the famous Louis XIV, lived a life of glamour and led France to become one of the most financially stable and powerful countries in all of Europe. However, Louis XIV could not have achieved this alone, and often looked to Jean-Baptist Colbert when it came to the finances of France. In Colbert’s “Memorandum on Trade,” a letter to his majesty on trade, we see how with his outlook on colonial trade profited France by developing revenue for the country, creating employment for the people, and improving the image of the monarchy. The main idea of Colbert’s help in finances was to make the country itself profitable and become financially independent. Colbert did this by pointing out many of the mistakes and opportunities available to France as well as by implementing more mercantilist policies and using its colonies to their full potential. One of the things Colbert paid particular attention to was France’s neighbor, the Dutch. By looking at the amount of trade and profits the Dutch brought home, Colbert was able to analyze the opportunities France had by either cutting off the Dutch or by taking advantage of the same strategy. For example, Colbert noticed that the Dutch were bring back two million in cash through trading with the French-West Indies because they were trading their German goods for sugar, tobacco, and dyestuffs in and then processed them in order to export them later. By implementing the same policies, much wealth was brought to the country. Mercantilism was the main strategy of Colbert since France had many colonies. He showed the King that the New World was a place of many resources that could be brought back to the mother country all under the central guide of the King himself. “The colonies were henceforth to provide the
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