The British Imperial system was fundamentally based on the policy, mercantilism. Where each colonial possession should provide wealth to the mother country, in these circumstances, the American colonies provided wealth to the British. Colonies were not supposed to compete with the mother country's home industries. The British Empire was a closed system, designed to keep competition out. The mercantile policy turned Britain into the preeminent center of trade in the world.

Through out the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the basic purpose of the colonies was to support the mother country. The colonies acted as tenants for the British. The colonies had to produce raw materials, such as, tobacco, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, timber, indigo and beans. Britain produced a surplus amount of goods, and the colonies were forced to buy the surplus, there for the colonies can also be viewed as an outlet for surplus manufacturers. The colonies were also and outlet for surplus population.

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For example, some religious groups, such as the Quakers, were persecuted through out Britain; consequently they were forced to move to the new world. In order to instigate the mercantilist policy, on the colonies, the British composed a series of enactments. The most important act passed, was the navigation acts, implemented to regulate trade and commerce. The acts limited the colonies to trading exclusively with the British.

The vessels had to be assembled by shipbuilders of the British Empire, and three quarters of the crew, had to be English. To expand the mercantilist policy, the British implemented restrictions on colonial manufacturing and trade. The Wool Act of 1699 stated that none of the colonies could sell or produce wool, the Hat Act of 1732, made the British the primary manufacturers and sellers of hats. The Iron Act of 1750, declared that Iron was to be sold and produced, only by the British. The Mol.