Lenz, Megan

sociology 2

From 1690-1760, British rule over the thirteen colonies was characterized by salutary neglect, meaning that the colonies were able to violate trade laws with no consequences. Britain, being across an ocean, had little to no control over what the colonists did, and since the colonists were still supplying Britain with materials, the two entities led a relatively peaceful coexisting relationship. However, after the French and Indian War, ending in 1763, Britain changed their mindset on the colonies, decreeing the Proclamation of 1763, where colonists could not move into the Ohio River Valley, a very fertile area. Along with this proclamation, Britain started to impose new acts, such as the Sugar and Stamp Acts, which began to put more constraints on the colonists’ lives by taxing them at incredible rates. These new rules angered the colonists, who had been thriving and providing for themselves without the aid of Britain. The continuation of these acts continued to anger the colonists, who believed that they could not be taxed without being represented by Britain, which they had not been for many years. Finally, in 1776, the colonists put together a declaration, stating their independence and cutting all tied to the former mother country, Britain.

Although this aspect of colonialism is unconventional, it created a stratified society and social change nonetheless. The ruling style of salutary neglect was a relatively unsuccessful idea by Britain, but it created an ideal environment for vast social change in the colonies of America. Because the mother country was ruling from across an ocean, they turned a blind eye to minor issues of smuggling, because they were still getting their raw materials, which is what mattered to them at that time. This economic motivation ultimately backfired on Britain, as the colonists did not need them in order to continue profiting from trade. The colonists created their own trading markets that they virtually owned, cutting out the British middleman. This allowed for the emergence and growth of a new economic system in the American colonies, giving them more reasons to break away from Britain. Politically, the colonists had been ruling themselves for the vast majority of their existence. They created towns located in different port areas, and were mostly successful when it came to self-government. When the British tried to implement new ruling after the French and Indian War, the colonists were angered, as they had not experienced that type of complete ruling and had been surviving on their own. All of these factors, the ideology behind salutary neglect and the end of that period, the economic market created by salutary neglect, and the self-sustaining political system led to the society we know today as America. Without this period of colonialism, the states we reside in would be drastically different in its every factor.