Mercantilism, the Great Awakening, and the French and Indian War, laid sufficient soil to the American revolution

Essay by cramnitasA+, October 1996

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The American revolution was a result of colonists wanting freedom from their mother country, England. Mercantilism, the Great Awakening, and the French and Indian War laid sufficient soil to the revolution. They were the most significant in laying the ground work which resulted in the American Revolution.

Mercantilism, the economic system for which colonies existed for the benefit of their mother country. This was the case in the thirteen colonies. These colonies existed only to help England's financial status. The infamous 'slave trade' started in the southern colonies, in which they sent sugar to the north so they could make rum. Rum was then sent to Africa and in return slaves were sent to the English colonies by means of the Middle Passage. In New England however, timber was the major natural resource that England benefited from. The pine trees in New England were lighter and more durable, making British vessels even more powerful.

Exploitation of colonies was considered a legitimate method of providing the parent countries with precious metals and with the raw materials on which export industries depended. Mercantilism, by its very success in stimulating industry and developing colonial areas, soon gave rise to powerful anti-mercantilist pressures. The use of colonies as supply depots for the home economies, and the exclusion of colonies from trade with other nations produced such reactions as the American Revolution, in which the colonists asserted their desire for freedom to seek economic advantage wherever it could be found.

The Great Awakening, a general revival of evangelical religion in the American colonies, which reached its peak in the early 1740s. Local revivals had occurred previously, inspired by the teaching of such clergymen as the congregational theologian Jonathan Edwards. In 1739 and 1740 the English evangelist George Whitefield made extended tours along the...