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British Incompetence

Uploaded by Brent Goodin on Feb 15, 2002

The haphazard and disorganized British rule of the American colonies in the decade prior to the outbreak led to the Revolutionary War. The mishandling of the colonies, the taxation policies that violated the colonist right's, the distractions of foreign wars and politics in England and mercantilist policies that benefited the British to a much greater magnitude than the colonists; all demonstrate British negligence and incompetence in terms of colonial management. These policies and distractions play a fundamental role in the development of the Revolutionary War.

British interests regarding the colonies were self-centered. Through the employment of the mercantilist system the English exploited colonial trade. This system was not utilized entirely for its commercial advantages, but also as a means of governing the colonies. Mercantilism is when the state directs all the economic activities from within its own borders. England was the sole beneficiary of this commercial policy, and did not intend to make any alterations that would in turn aid the colonies. Due to such restrictive policies the colonies were compelled to internal trade. The English further abused their power in the colonies by stipulating that the colonies import more from England then they exported to the colonies. Such a mode of trade involved the importation of raw materials from the colonies and the exportation of finished goods from England. The final product was then distributed on an international scale to foreign markets such as the colonies. Throughout the seventeenth century the English saw America as an abundant supply of raw materials, which were not available at home, and moreover as a market to sell finished products. This proved to be detrimental to the colonies’ well being because it made them reliant on British trade. The transitory Navigation Acts between 1651 and 1673 later reinforced the mercantilist ideal, which consequently made Britain the nucleus of American trade. With the passing of the Navigation Acts, much disapproval followed, for this policy limited the colonies to exclusive trade with Britain as its focal point, putting pressure on the lucrative smuggling industry already established amongst many, if not all the colonies.

In addition to the discord caused by the repressive mercantilist policies, domestic political issues sidetracked the British from the activities of the colonies. Throughout the seventeenth century, Great Britain was more concerned with trying to solve the Constitutional issue of who was to have more power in the English government, the king or...

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Uploaded by:   Brent Goodin

Date:   02/15/2002

Category:   American Revolution

Length:   8 pages (1,810 words)

Views:   1932

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