Was mercantilism a sting to the colonists or did it work to their advantage?

From my perspective, and based on research it hurt the colonists more than benefited them. In the rest of this essay I will go into detail about how mercantilism wasn’t designed to benefit the colonies but instead the mother country, discouraged the colonist from prospering, and lastly, Britain used the gains from American commerce. Mercantilism was not designed to help the colonies. All the benefits went to the mother country. America did not receive English goods at bargain prices. The colonists were not allowed to get them cheaper from the Dutch, requiring Americans to buy tea from the British East India Company. There was no competition allowed - no cheaper tea could be bought from other trading nations. Secondly, the colonists could have had their own iron industry, but that was discouraged by Britain. They wanted Americans to buy British iron and steel and British manufactured items. The few wealthy people who controlled Britain were the businessmen who profited from sales in America. Americans could not manufacture their own gunpowder or make their own muskets and cannons. This was a major disadvantage at the outset of the American Revolution. Americans had to buy muskets and gunpowder from the Dutch or get them from the French.

Lastly, even though America did have some benefit from the British navy and some British army support against Indian attacks, they essentially paid for this through the benefits of American commerce made to Britain's balance of trade. The colonist paid fewer taxes than the British people. The British people had been paying a stamp tax since the latter 1600's. America rebelled against the Stamp Act of 1765 - forcing its repeal. Americans did not like paying taxes and avoided taxes whenever possible. Smuggling to avoid import duties on items such as tea was rampant in America - but also existed in Britain. Basically, no one likes to pay taxes. British government officials were constantly frustrated by the success Americans had in avoiding taxes. Tax revenues in the colonies were usually well below expected collections. In conclusion, that’s why I think mercantilism didn’t benefit the colonies, however the mother country because Britain, discouraged the colonist from prospering, and, Britain used the gains from American commerce. The New England shipbuilding would have prospered without any help from Britain. There were plenty of other customers. The only benefit that I can see is the help with defense, but the colonists could have handled this themselves if they had been allowed to develop their own munitions and iron industries.

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