What was the purpose of the Navigation Acts?

1 Answer
Jun 30, 2017

The purpose of the Navigation Acts was to keep the wealth and trade within the British Empire.


The Navigation Acts passed in 1651, 1660, and 1663 were passed to regulate trade between English colonies and England. These acts remained in force for 200 years for the colonies that remained in the English Empire. This form of economy is called mercantilism.

Under these acts the American colonies were forbidden to trade with any other nations or colonies controlled by other nations. The colonies could only sell their products to England. The colonies could only purchase products from England or English colonies.

English merchants could only purchase tobacco, lumber, and other products produced in the colonies from the colonized . Mercantilism was designed to keep the wealth of the English Empire completely within the Empire. It also allowed England to control prices to its advantage and to collect taxes

The Navigation Acts and the economic system of mercantilism was all to the benefit of the government of England. The colonies lost potential income having to sell all of their products to England. The colonies remained dependent on England. All manufactured goods had to be purchased from England. Manufacturing in the colonies was restricted, leaving the colonies as a source of raw materials to be shipped and processed in England.