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Qu'est-ce que le mercantilisme et pourquoi sommes-nous sous cette doctrine économique? (document en anglais)

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In the 18th century, we were under the age of mercantilism, but what is the mercantilism and why we are under this economic doctrine?

First, mercantilism is a doctrine which was led by the government; it allowed people to protect the British trade in controlling the foreign trade by using high taxes against the foreign traders and by developing the trade with the colonies of the Kingdom. But why was mercantilism adopted in the Kingdom of Great Britain? The answer is simple, this Kingdom had a lot of colonies and mercantilism is good for a country with a lot of colonies. In the 18th century, the British Empire was the most powerful empire of the world and its rival during the whole century was France.

With the Seven Years ’ war (1756 – 1763), the British Empire became even more powerful and it was at this time that appeared the famous sentence “The sun never sets on the British Empire”. It could benefit from exclusive trade with the thirteen colonies of North-America. Thanks to that, the Empire built a big Royal Navy which protected the British colonies and attacked some colonies of other countries (eg. New Amsterdam also called New York). During that period, the British Empire grew a lot, but in 1775, the independence war began and in 1783, the British Empire lost its most important colonies, the North-America’s colonies.

The 18th century was a period of rapid growth for London. The population increased from 500,000 in 1700 to 900,000 in 1801. This could be due to the fact that London strengthened its power in 1707 with the union act which politically linked the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland. During the Georgian period, London spread beyond its former limits, both to the west the district of Mayfair in the West End, and to the east, where the East End includes the port area upstream the City. New bridges were built, improving the exchange between the two sides of the Thames river and encouraging these exchanges and thus the development in the south of London. In the East End, the Port of London expanded downstream of the City.

Despite its size, the city was down on the industrialisation that affected the whole Britain. Plants that could be seen in the north have never really taken place in the capital. Indeed, we must know that the northern cities have specialized in certain areas, due to the industrialisation, producing few different products, but the magnitude and diversity of the economic activity in the capital have always diminished the likelihood of excessive dependence on a narrow range of industries. Yet, London remained an important center of manufacturing, even the largest of the country. To understand why, we must differentiate between manufacturing and industry. To be simple, we just say that one is rather craft while the other is industrial as its name suggests.

However, London became an important market for the new products of the industrial revolution ; the demand generated by the city for these products was very important and continuous. However, this did not mean that the industry has been absent from the city . The large-scale organisation of production, the nearest of London has come to develop plants as in the northern cities, and this development was restricted to areas where consumer demand in the capital was the most important as making bricks to fuel significant growth in the suburbs of Victoria and mixing to quench the thirst of the growing population.

The capital remained at the center of the British economics, it was a kind of crossroads of capital, expertise in finance and shipping. This shipping, which was also growing, reflected the expansion of the port by building monumental quay with names that suit the best the type of business it was associated (eg. Orient Docks). It should be here to talk about the empire that maintaining ties with its colonies. In this period, the empire was trying to improve ties with all its colonies and therefore, the exchanges were more important and for most, transiting through London. It had a significant and lasting impact on the economy of London . Many


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