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1 The Collision Of Cultures
2 Britain And Its Colonies
3 Colonial Ways Of Life
4 The Imperial Perspective
5 From Empire To Independence
6 The American Revolution
7 Shaping A Federal Union
8 The Federalist Era
9 The Early Republic
10 Nationalism And Sectionalism
11 The Jacksonian Impulse
12 The Dynamics Of Growth
13 An American Renaissance: Religion, Romanticism, And Reform
14 Manifest Destiny
15 The Old South
16 The Crisis Of Union
17 The War Of The Union
18 Reconstruction: North And South
19 New Frontiers: South And West
20 Big Business And Organized Labor
21 The Emergence Of Urban America
22 Gilded-age Politics And Agrarian Revolt
23 An American Empire
24 The Progressive Era
25 America And The Great War
26 The Modern Temper
27 Republican Resurgence And Decline
28 New Deal America
29 From Isolation To Global War
30 The Second World War
31 The Fair Deal And Containment
32 Through The Picture Window: Society And Culture, 19451960
33 Conflict And Deadlock: The Eisenhower Years
34 New Frontiers: Politics And Social Change In The 1960s
35 Rebellion And Reaction In The 1960s And 1970s
36 A Conservative Insurgency
37 Triumph And Tragedy: America At The Turn Of The Century

The Navigation Act of 1660

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Empire is both a political and economic construct. The first British empire was built upon the concept of mercantilism—that the economic interests of the nation have priority over those of all other groups and areas and thus the periphery, or provinces, must profit the mother country. Acting upon such a doctrine, the British government enacted a series of Navigation Acts over the course of the second half of the seventeenth century. The first was passed by the Parliament of Oliver Cromwell's Commonwealth in 1651. When the monarchy was restored in 1660, the new Parliament, to ensure the legality as well as continuation of the mercantile system that had been established, renewed the earlier legislation and added to it. The Navigation Act of 1660 further defined how trade among the mother country, colonies, and foreign lands was to be conducted.


For the increase of shipping and encouragement of the navigation of this nation, wherein, under the good providence and protection of God, the wealth, safety, and strength of this kingdom is so much concerned; be it enacted by the King's most excellent majesty, and by the lords and commons in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority thereof, That from and after the first day of December 1660, and from thenceforward, no goods or commodities whatsoever shall be imported into or exported out of any lands, islands, plantations or territories to his Majesty belonging or in his possession . . . in Asia, Africa, or America, in any other ship or ships, vessel or vessels whatsoever, but in such ships or vessels as do truly and without fraud belong only to the people of England or Ireland . . . and whereof the master and three fourths of the mariners at least are English; under the penalty of the forfeiture and loss of all the goods and commodities which shall be imported into or exported out of any of the aforesaid places in any other ship or vessel. . . .

II. And be it enacted, That no alien or person not born within the allegiance of our sovereign lord the King, his heirs and successors . . . shall from and after the first day of February, 1661, exercise the trade of a merchant or factor in any of the said places; upon the pain of forfeiture and loss of all his goods and chattels. . . .

III. And it is further enacted, That no goods or commodities whatsoever, of the growth, production or manufacture of Africa, Asia, or America, or any part thereof . . . be imported into England, Ireland, or Wales . . . in any other ship or ships, vessel or vessels whatsoever, but in such as do truly and without fraud belong only to the people of England, Ireland or Wales. . . .

XVIII. And be it further enacted, That from and after the first day of April, 1661, no sugars, tobacco, cotton-wool, indigos, ginger, fustick, or other dying wood, of the growth, production or manufacture of any English plantations in America, Asia, or Africa, shall be shipped, carried, conveyed or transported from any of the said English plantations to any land . . . other than to such English plantations as do belong to his Majesty. . . .


[From Danby Pickering, ed., The Statutes at Large from the Magna Charta, 46 vols. (Cambridge: J. Bertham, 1762–1807), 7:452ff.]

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