Mercantilism Essay

582 words - 2 pages

Mercantilism

Economics in the seventeenth and eighteenth century were dominated by the idea of mercantilism. Mercantilism depended on the cooperation between colony and mother country in the shipping and production of raw materials. Domestic industry increased employment, expanded commercial activity within the country and decreased France's dependence on foreign trade. The success of a Mercantile system relied on the government, participating merchants, even nobility and the working class, all had effects on the success of the French economy.
France's King Louis XIV played a hugely important role in the success of mercantilism. Louis XIV realized the affects of a successful mercantile economy in France. The King supported the theory of the mercantile system but he failed the follow through with the suggestions of Colbert, minister of the state. Aware of the huge amount of money that was being spent on foreign goods, Louis XIV worked towards establishing internal industries, such as tapestry production which France has become famous for. (Doc. 5) He also was searching for ways to expand overseas trade. (Doc.1) Although Louis XIV made plans for maritime growth, this did not necessarily mean he carried them through. In 1669 France only held five hundred to 600 hundred naval ships, compared to the 15,000 to 16,000 of the Dutch Fleet. (Doc.6)
A Navy was very important to colonial trade during the seventieth and eighteenth centuries. A country that used it's own ships could avoid extra fees and tariffs from other countries involved in shipping. Colbert promoted this tactic as one of the corner stones of the mercantile system. Unfortunately the King paid more attention to his wars than to French international business, and failed to strengthen the navy. The Dutch, who...

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