Mercantilism In The 18th Century

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During the 17th century and the 18th century, European world states embraced mercantilism, or an economic system that “saw the world’s wealth as fixed, meaning that anyone country’s came at the expense of other countries.” (Tignor et al, 482). According to British commercial expert Malachy Postlewayt, the principles of mercantilism were there to ensure that “the lasting prosperity of the landed interest depends upon foreign commerce” (Tignor et al, 482). Mercantilism allowed European motherlands to thrive, attain commodities and resources that were desired, and grow rich enough to “wage almost unceasing wars against one another” (Tignor et al, 482). As a result, mercantilism played an important role in the development of world economies because it lead to …show more content…
This competition paved the way for colonial expansion within the Americas of different states. For example, prior to the Seven Years’ War in 1756, it was the French and Spanish that dominated in territorial claims, evident by the map of the Colonies in North America from 1607 to 1763 (Tignor et al, 484). After the war, it was English and Spanish that had the majority of territorial claims within the Americas. Having more land meant extracting more resources and increasing farming opportunities, which would generate wealth and power for the European states. Overall, mercantilism was a way of justifying actions taken by European states to ensure that domestic and global trade occurred and so that their states flourished. The principles of mercantilism encouraged opportunities for wealth and power. This was important because it ensured that states would have a stable economy, which lead to security and prosperity. As Thomas Hobbes put it, “wealth is power and power is wealth” (Tignor et al, 482). By asserting control over the colonies and profiting over them, European motherlands could continue to grow and make more impact on the

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