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The American Revolution

 Mercantilism meant that the government and the merchants became partners with the goal of increasing political power and private wealth, to the exclusion of other empires. The government protected its merchants—and kept others out—by trade barriers, regulations, and subsidies to domestic industries in order to maximize exports from and minimize imports to the realm. The Navigation Acts of the late 17th century provided the legal foundation for Mercantilist policy. They required all trade to be carried in English ships, manned by English crews (this later encompassed all Britons after the Acts of Union 1707 united Scotland with England).[33] Colonists were required to send their produce and raw materials first of all to Britain, where the surplus was then sold-on by British merchants to other colonies in the British empire or bullion-earning external markets. The colonies were forbidden to trade directly with other nations or rival empires. The goal was to maintain the North American and Caribbean colonies as dependent agricultural economies geared towards producing raw materials for export to Britain. The growth of native industry was discouraged, in order to keep the colonies dependent on Britain for their finished goods.[34]

The government had to fight smuggling—which became a favorite American technique in the 18th century to circumvent the restrictions on trading with the French, Spanish or Dutch.[35] The goal of mercantilism was to run trade surpluses, so that gold and silver would pour into London. The government took its share through duties and taxes, with the remainder going to merchants in Britain