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Lecture 10

HIS311 Lecture 10 - Bothwell

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University of Toronto St. George
Robert Bothwell

Lecture 10: 10/14/10 Mercantilism - Navigation acts - Corn laws - Tariffs Free Trade - John Stewart Mills Protectionism Whigs  Liberals; Tories  Conservatives -Because the empire is expanding in all sorts of directions – political incoherence -Empire is divided in terms of system of government (NA colonies of settlement had elections and assemblies; Australian colonies would eventually get these; East – paid to local opinion; Indian colonies is ruled as an autocracy [top-down]) -In terms of economic impotence, there is no doubt that Canada is the most convenient colony because of trade and because of the nature of its trade. During the Wars, Britain was an island off the coast of Europe – British trade with the European continent was impeded by the French who thought if they undermined British trade they would be weakening Britain’s economic favor. -British government encouraged agriculture in Great Britain, placing a premium on things such as wheat -Wheat is called corn in the early 19th century – Corn Laws are about the production/encouragement of wheat. This is done essentially through tariffs. Done through imports: tariffs based on quantity or value -Tariffs are revenue and are the easiest tax to collect. -Protectionism: the protection of an item in your own territory; tariff raises the price of the product -Tariff is a subsidy (you are making the consumer pay; the consumer subsidizes the consumer in your own territory) -Tariffs are political convenient because the consumer does not see the tariff -Tariffs also create (Mill says) interests – you create a tariff, you protect an industry unless the people in the industry are stupid, they will all be for the tariff because its profit -Has political implications -Mills opinion: corrupts the political system -1778: British parliament realized that the American Revolution was fueled by resentment at taxation -No more taxing the colonists without representation (for imperial resources) -The imperial power can still control the economics of the colonies for the benefit of the imperial power -Canada has a lot of wood (used for masts) – conveniently located around the Ottawa River -Strategically, the Canadian forests became important to Britain during the Napoleonic Wars because Britain had lost many of its trading partners in Europe -Canada is benefiting from Britain’s strategic policy -British commercial policy: they lasted as long as the active memory of the Napoleonic Wars; -Preserve the access to NA’s forests and timber in Canada in general in case they are put into another situation where they lose their trading partners -Tariffs are used by British to create a situation where trade from the colonies was favored in England -Not surprisingly in Canada, timber trade grew up an colonists are encouraged to plant wheat (in Lower Canada first then later in Upper Canada) -The land was cleared to grow wheat -Economic interests grow up in the colonies; their trade is oriented towards Great Britain -All revenue is from trees! -This is the old colonial system and it travels under the title of mercantilism -Britain is trading the regulation and creation of colonial economies (Money) for what seems to the British to be strategic advantage -The other thing that is happening is the industrial revolution -The IR is concentrated around a number of technological advancements: a) Canals: in the 18 century, EU governments adopted them with enthusiasm (less expensive that roads); make communication around GB much easier/faster/secure th and with better communication and better internal trade; by the end of the 18 century, GB is crisscrossed with economically advantageous canals b) Steam engines: used locally in GB – coal converted into steam for energy to drive machines -IR happens first in GB and provides them with a huge economic advantage -Fulton (American) learns how to put a steam engine on a ship (1807) -Ships can then be powered by steam engines – by the late 18-teens, Molson Canadian is being transported via steam ships -1820s, learn how to put steam engines on vehicles with wheels (the railway); the next great technological marvel -It takes a long time for these technologies to be -Time is compressed – instead of 3 month/4 month voyages, trips across the Atlantic are much shorter (2 weeks) -The ships grow larger; what we get by the
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