Colonies in the British mercantilist system - Essay Prowess

Colonies in the British mercantilist system


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Que. 1 The role of the Colonies in the British mercantilist system

The British government pursued a policy of mercantilism during the intentional trade around 1650 in the aim to build an economic strength. The nation must export more than it imports hence the English passed regulatory laws that would exclusively benefit the British economy. As a result, the law created a trade system whereby Americans provided raw materials to Britain whereas Britain used the raw goods to produce processed goods that were sold in European markets and back to colonies. Since the American colonies were the suppliers of goods, they could not compete with Britain in manufacturing (McEachern P.58).

Mercantilism system was intended to function as an economy whereby a nation such as England obtained the colonies throughout the world. As a result, these colonies had to supply the mother country with raw materials and wealth. The American colonies were supposed to provide products to the British so that they could be exported to England. In addition, the British colonies were also supposed to buy finished products from England once they had been converted into processed goods. The manifestation of British mercantilism was clearly demonstrated through triangular trade where the trade routes linked the American colonies, Africa, West Indies, and England (McEachern P.58).

The ports along the sea routes provided shippers with a payoff and a new cargo. The rum from England was shipped tom Africa and traded for slaves, which were brought to the West Indies and traded for molasses and sugars. Consequently, the sugar and molasses were then taken to the England. Besides, other raw goods were shipped from the colonies to the England. The England trades men, as well as the ship builders acquired huge profits from the mercantilism and the triangular trade.  In addition, mercantilism and triangular trade triggered the rise of slave population, and increased merchant population, resulting to a class of wealthy elites that dominated the trade and politics throughout the colonies (McEachern P.58).


Que. 2 Who was most to blame for Britain’s failure to win a quick victory over the American rebels; General Howe, General Burgoyne, or the ministers in London?

The person who was to blame the most for the failure of Britain’s to win a quick victory over the American rebels was General William Howe. General Howe encouraged the congress to surrender instead of destroying the rebels hence he allowed the rebels to buy more time during the winter of 1977 and improve on their forces.  During the battle of Saratoga, William Howe, English general, commanded the English forces did not acknowledge the overwhelming winter campaigning, yet he joined the British army against Philadelphia (Murrin P. 197-198).

The Lord North had sent him to capture the New York City with the strategy of seizing control over the Hudson River hence isolating the radical patriots in New England from the colonies of the south. As a peace commissioner, he was to negotiate a peace that would bring the colonies willingly into the empire, though most of the colonialists wanted freedom and equality hence he did not succeed in facilitating the peace agreement.  As a result, tis allowed the rebels to improve on their forces when General Howe relentlessly initiated the peace talks (Murrin P. 197-198).

Consequently, the force of New England militia was surrounded by the Continental Army resulting Saratoga battle that ended with the British surrendering, marking the turning point of the American Revolutionary Army. In addition, General Howe also contributed to the loss of Saratoga, New York, by General Burgoyne due to his slow and misguided attack against Philadelphia. As a result, the Burgoyne’s army of 6000 British and German troops, as well as 600 loyalists and Indians were stuck near Saratoga, New York thus they were beaten back by the 2000 American militiamen (Murrin P. 197-198).

General Howe took long to establish peace talks rather than leading the troops northward from New York City as directed by the Lord North. His slow actions allowed the Americans to ally with the French in order to become powerful and overthrow the British. Besides, before he could bring his reinforcement at the Saratoga, the battle had already intensified and British had started losing the battle. Consequently, the British had surrendered and started moving the resources they used to fight since the American had already allied with the French (Murrin P. 197-198).

As a result, this caused the British soldiers under the general Burgoyne to move towards the Valley Forge where many soldiers died from cold weather, hunger, lack of medicine, and disease. The exposure to the extreme and unfavorable conditions weakened the British soldiers and couple d with the war of attrition, the British army compelled the general to concede the Carolinas to Greene and seek a decisive victory in Virginia (Murrin P. 197-198).

Que. 4 how slavery was abolished in the southern states

The abolition of slavery commenced in November 1860 when the Republican Party, under the leadership of Abraham Lincoln, won the general elections. The act of enslaving African American had dominated the southern states of American since 1776 (Jackson 2014). These Americans in the southern part had opted to maintain unions that enslaved the blacks in order for the latter to work in the cotton and tobacco plantations. In the northern part, the constitution of the Republican Party had managed to convince the northern Americans to abolish slavery with success.

However, this aim of abolishing slave trade in the southern states made the Republican Party not to receive even a single vote in this region. Moreover, in order to maintain the supremacy of the white men and the slavery of the black people, the radical southern Americans opted to start secession (withdrawal of the southern states from the American union). In contrast, the northern Americans maintained that the collapse of the union would hinder the success of the democratic republican government. This led to the emergence of civil war that finally resulted to the abolition of slavery in United States (Jackson 2014).

How Union policy towards slavery and enslaved people change over the war

However, at first, the civil war was not aimed at freeing the slaves as Lincoln feared that Britain and France, which were most powerful by then would bestow their support to the southern America. Nevertheless, the antislavery republicans pressurized Lincoln that the goal of the civil war was to abolish slavery and to restore the union. 1n 1862, the union troops appeared as the winners of the civil war and this made Lincoln to issue an emancipation proclamation (turning the war as an official crusade against slavery) in order for the free nations not to support the southern states without considering pro-slavery themselves (Jackson 2014).

This emancipation proclamation indeed managed to keep Britain and France out of this war, and also managed the union troops to liberate most slaves from the southern farms. Since the liberated slaves had nothing to do, they were order to follow the army troops and perform humble duties in the army camps (Jackson 2014).

However, after spending much time in the union troops, some of them were put in uniform, after some white troops discovered that this could make them to be easily promoted. Then, after these slaves served in the frontline of the union army, the perception of whites to the blacks started changing positively. In 1965, Lincoln authorized the congress to approve the 13th amendment of the federal constitution, marking the end of slavery (Jackson 2014).

Que. 3 the relative importance of the industrial and market revolutions in changing the American economy

The industrial and market revolution had numerous importance in the American economy. This era was marked by tremendous technological and economic innovations. This industrial revolution led to the innovation of profitable cotton, which made most Americans in the southern states to abandon growing of other crops and adopt growing of cotton in large plantations (Harris Pp. 486-493). In the northern states, the Americans constructed textile factories that processed the cotton that was being produced in the southern states.

In addition, the industrial revolution led to regional specialization. That is, the west farmed in order to feed the northeast while the southern specialized in cotton production that was being shipped to the North West. Moreover, the canals, roads and other internal improvements that were made under Henry Clay`s American system enabled this nationwide trade to become a reality (Harris Pp. 486-493).

Consecutively, railway roads were also developed in order to enhance people and goods to be transported more cheaply and faster. However, at the onset of the 19th century, railway roads were confined mostly in the west and the eastern seaboard. In 1950, these railway roads were distributed to most parts of the northern America. Consecutively, in order to enhance long distance communication, Samuel F.B. Morse invented telegraph in 1835 (Harris Pp. 486-493). The initial transatlantic cable was put in place in 1858, in order to facilitate rapid communication between the United States and Europe.

Ways in which the economy was different in 1860 from what it had been in 1800

At the onset of the 19th century, the American economy was purely agrarian. However, with the industrial and market revolutions in 1860, this economy had greatly changed. New industrial machines made the industrialists to yield more goods, faster than during the agrarian economy. In the northern states, new jobs were created while in the northern states, slavery was expanded. In the southern states, the influence of the market and the industrial revolution was market by mass production of cotton, which was in high demand by the textile industries in the northern states (Harris Pp. 486-493).

Consecutively, this strong industrialization made most Americans to migrate from the rural area to the urban centers. Moreover, since the living standards of most Americans had greatly improved especially in the urban centers, the industrial revolution and the market economy during this period was also characterized by high increase of the American population. Additionally, this revolution was marked by the consequential change of America from an agricultural and rural society to that of an industrial and urban society (Harris Pp. 486-493). However, the revolution had negative consequences especially on the working population. They were commuting in unsanitary and overcrowded houses and poor working conditions.

Work cited

Jackson Stonewall, Official Report On Civil War, retrieved on 17th September 2014, from

Harris, Seymour E. American Economic History. Washington, D.C: Beard Books, 2002. Print.

McEachern, William A. Contemporary Economics. Mason, Ohio: South-Western Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.

Murrin, John M. Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People. Boston: Thomson Wadsworth, 2008. Print.


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