Merchantilism in the Early American Colonies
Tori Nuariza Sutanto1
Merchantilism is the political and economic strategic used by the European nations states as a doctrine in the early capitalist era around 1500 to 1850. Merchantilism is economic nationalism for the purpose of building a wealthy and powerful state2. Adam Smith tells merchantile system as the system of political economy that sought to enrich the country by restraining imports and encouraging exports. The goal of this policies was to increase the wealth and power of the mother country by creating a balance between trade and domestic manufacturing. This paper aims to describe how the merchantile system shaped American early colonies in relation with the mother country Great Britain.
Politics of Merchantilism
Concerning to the term of merchantilism, it was the theory of trade espoused by the major European powers. The theory that said for a nation should export more than it imported. Merchantilism was a reaction against the economic problems of earlier times when states were too weak to guide their economies3. In the modern age, Holland, France, Spain, Britain became the powerful nations. Those nations were frequently fighting in war. As a consequence, money was needed to support their expansion to the other land in terms of military (armies and navies). So, the merchantilism concept developed through the necessity of wealth. To grow richer, those nations needed the other nations to be exploited. In this sense, Great Britain needed American colonies with the land to provide them raw materials and Britain provided their colonies with goods by selling to them.
Mercantilism as a historical period has been associated with the rise of a particular form of European capitalism often referred to as merchant capitalism. Mercantilism was also a doctrine advanced by various economic writers of the period, who tended to call for a powerful alliance between merchants and the monarchial system4. Lanjutkan membaca ““Merchantilism in the Early American Colonies””