Adam Smith's Simplified Wealth of Nations, Book 4, Chapter 7e: Economic Democracy

Chapter 7e: Economic Democracy

72British policy on the colony trade was more liberal and less oppressive, even if it were dictated by the same mercantile spirit as that of other nations.


Except their foreign trade, English colonists had completely liberty to manage their own affairs their own way.

74 On the contrary, the absolute governments of Spain, Portugal, and France take place in their colonies. 75 The superiority of the English policy chiefly appears in the progress of the North American colonies. 76 In all European colonies, the culture of the sugar-cane is done by negro slaves.

77The condition of a slave is better under an arbitrary than under a free government.

  • Under the republic, no magistrate could protect the slave, much less to punish the master.
  • 78 The stock which improved the French sugar colonies, particularly in St. Domingo, was raised almost entirely from the gradual improvement and cultivation of those colonies.

    79 Such were the European policies regarding their colonies.

    80 These policies has very little to boast of regarding: 81 Folly and injustice were the principles which directed the establishment of those colonies: 82 The adventurers, who formed the later establishments, joined the chimerical project of finding gold and silver mines. 83 The English Puritans were restrained at home. 84 The European governments had as little merit in establishing these important colonies: 85 Those colonies became so considerable, that it attracted its mother country's attention. The most essential differences in the European colonial policies is in the different ways this monopoly was exercised. 86 The policy of Europe contributed to the present grandeur of the American colonies only in one way
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    Next: Chapter 7f: European Gains from Colonialism