Atlantic Trade and the British Economy

Kenneth Morgan

in Atlantic History

ISBN: 9780199730414
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:
Atlantic Trade and the British Economy

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  • History of the Americas
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The relationship between overseas trade and British economic growth in the 17th and 18th centuries has long attracted historical attention. The two opposite spectra on this topic are either that foreign trade and overseas demand for British manufactured exports significantly boosted British economic growth, or that domestic demand, stimulated by population growth and agricultural productivity, was more important for the British economy. There is no definitive resolution to these different lines of interpretation; scholarly articles still appear regularly, supporting one end of the spectrum or the other. Between these two poles are many variations, though extreme positions are not usually expressed. In recent years, some historians have sought to bridge the gap between positing either home demand or foreign demand as triggers for British economic growth by exploring the ways in which aggregate demand was raised through a combination of internal and external economic stimuli. Transatlantic commerce is an important part of this debate because the 18th century witnessed the “Americanization” of British overseas trade; in others words, in geographical direction and in the proportion of exports taken from Britain and the imports supplied in return, the thirteen British North American colonies (later states) and the West Indies played a dominant role in British foreign trade. The primary sources and studies on this subject listed in this entry explore these issues in depth.

Article.  5572 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas ; European History ; African History ; History ; Regional and National History

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