The Origins of the British Colonial System, 1578-1660

The Origins of the British Colonial System, 1578-1660

The Origins of the British Colonial System, 1578-1660

The Origins of the British Colonial System, 1578-1660

Excerpt

This volume is the first of a series whose purpose is to describe and explain the origins, establishment, and development of the British Colonial System up to the outbreak of the disagreements directly culminating in the American Revolution. The term "colonial system" has no precise meaning, and is vaguely used in varying connotations by different writers. As employed in this work, it is synonymous with that complex system of regulations by means of which, though to a different extent, the economic structures of both metropolis and colony were moulded to conform to the prevailing ideal of a self-sufficient empire. In order to understand this system, it will be necessary to analyze the underlying principles of English colonial policy, especially in so far as they found expression in the laws of trade and navigation. Although they were the kernel, these laws, however, did not constitute the entire system. It will be essential in addition to study the English fiscal system, to the extent that it concerned the colonies; and also the colonial legislation in regard to slavery, customs duties, currency, bankruptcy, and similar matters that vitally affected the economic relations of the dependencies to the mother country. The economic life of the colonies, especially their commercial and manufacturing activities, will also have to be investigated, in order to be able to gauge the effects of the system controlling it. Furthermore, as the large body of English legislation regarding . . .

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