For all who love history - and not just history - but the history of how our great country began - this site is for you! Brave men and women took a stand over 230 years ago against tyranny and won! A nation of immigrants began its trek to becoming the greatest nation in the world.
Trade - or what you export and import effects your economy in a multitude of ways. Today, it can make a poor country rich, or a rich country poor if banns are placed on them. The same is true of America in the 1600s and 1700s. At first, they follow what the Mother Country - England tells them to do, but after a while, they realize this form of trade may not be in their best interest. It takes a while for them to start making choices on their own, but once they do - it changes the world economy in SO many ways.
Trade with the colonies made everyone wealthy.Because of the Navigation Laws which
regulated who could trade with the colonies and who the colonies could trade
with, it ensured prosperity for all involved.Imagine you had goods to trade.You knew who to trade with and you also knew no one else could trade
with this country.Your product has a
set market.The same is true with goods
coming into your colony.Because you are
member of the British Empire, you have the backing of one of the most powerful
countries in the world.They not only
are purchasing your goods, but they are sending steady stream of goods to
you.Sounds like the perfect deal,
doesn’t it?Except for one thing –
England does not have a monopoly on goods.There are other countries which have things you want.How are you going to get them if you are only
allowed to trade with England?You can
do without coffee or wine OR you could break the law.
Let’s discuss the trade: There were many legs on the
journey.Some were quite simple – just from
one location to the next.Others stopped
in one location and then after a trade, traveled to another location.
We start in Virginia:
Step 1: You want to sell tobacco to England.Tobacco is in huge demand.Eversince John Rolfe first arrived in
Jamestown and showed the people how to plant it, tobacco has been one of the
most important sources of income for the young colonies. Settlers who learned
to plant it became very wealthy.
Step 2: If you live in England, you will trade textiles and
tea for the tobacco. Textiles are yarns and fabrics used to make clothing and
household products like blankets, sheets, and tablecloths.Fancy fabrics colonists could not make on
their own were in high demand – such as silks and satins.
Step 3: Virginia wants slaves.But you don’t trade with West Africa.England, on the other hand does, so you must
wait for their ships that trade guns for slaves to reach the colonies.
Step 3: (a secret step) You want coffee from Amsterdam.You send tobacco to them and trade it for
Step 4: (another secret step) You want French wine so you
sell tobacco to the French for their wine.
Keep in mind – if you want those last two steps, you are
breaking the Navigation Laws! Your ship will be confiscated and you will be
thrown into prison.Is it worth the
risk? You will make a fortune if you are successful because of the danger.
What if you lived in New England?
Step 1: You have plenty of fish (cod) and lumber which the
British want.You send fish to England
and get tea and textiles in exchange.
Step 2: You trade fish to the West Indies (Jamaica) for
You live in the West Indies:
Step 1: You have sugar. You travel to New England and trade
sugar for fish.
Step 2: You trade sugar for slaves in West Africa.
If you live in Africa:
Step 1: Your biggest commodity is slavery.Both the West Indies and Virginia want them.
So, you trade guns from England for the slaves they will sell to Virginia and
you trade slaves directly for sugar from the West Indies.
Step 2: You trade slaves to Virginia for tobacco or whatever
else you want.Money is always good and
they can give you that.
What about England?!
Finally, if you live in England – You have all the power to
stop trade or make trade. You control the seas so if there is any illegal
trading going on you can put a stop to it.After all, the law is on your side, right? But because of supply and
demand, you also know where you can make money and how much.Every so often you look the other way instead
of stopping those illegal shipments.
Step 1: You have guns to trade for slaves.Selling slaves to Virginia and the West
Indies is lucrative.From there you
trade for sugar and tobacco – two things in demand in England.It’s a win-win situation for you.
Step 2: you want lumber to build more ships and keep Britain
as the most powerful country in the world with a navy that beats all the
others.You pick up lumber and fish from
New England and return home.
Step 3: you have plenty of tea! And you want to sell that
tea to the colonists.So you sell it to
Virginia in the south and New England in the north.Two major areas and in exchange you get
things you want – lumber, fish, tobacco, rum.Not a bad exchange.
Step 4: If you want – you can stop any of those ships that
are secretly going to Amsterdam and France.Why should the colonists drink their coffee and wine when you can buy
from those countries, raise the price, and sell it for a profit to the
colonies?The problem is – those ship
captains have gotten good at slipping past you.
Triangular Trade – the trade between the colonies, the West
Indies and Africa, and then England.What made this trade important is how it was controlled by England.Or at least they thought they controlled
it.Think about it – after a while,
colonists didn’t want to keep just trading with England.Why should they when they could get similar
goods or ones they wanted desperately but at a lower price from the country of
origin?If you were give a choice of
buying a pair of shoes directly from the manufacturer for $20, why would you
pay $30 for the same pair in a store?It
doesn’t make sense.The same happened to
the colonists.England started placing a
tax on goods received and soon, the prices from other countries was far
cheaper.So again, I ask – why would you
keep paying more when you could get the same thing for free of next to nothing?
scale to weigh money
Then when England started taxing items such as tea – the colonists
were angry.Why should they have to pay
a tax on tea and other goods?The tax
was used as a way to cover the debt George made while fighting a war.The colonists were not involved in the war so
why pay the bill for the war? Makes far too much sense.Hundreds of miles away from the Mother
Country, American decided enough was enough.No more taxes.And, if necessary,
they would always cut off times and do everything on their own.It would take work, but it could be
done.The Americans just needed to
commit to the idea of not going under the knife.
If you want an excellent lesson plan – go to http://teachers.history.org and sign up
for free.There are many different types
of lesson plans, but this one is listed under economy.Then click on Global Economy.