Salutary Neglect Essay, Research Paper
During the middle-years of the development of the colonies, Britain let go of their colonial possessions, and let the colonies be a freestanding nation for a period of time in order for Britain to pursue political and military ventures elsewhere. This policy of salutary neglect gave the colonists a taste of freedom from the crown, and it gave the colonies a warming-up period to start their own legislature, commercial transactions, and religious affiliations.
The colonies from early on have created and maintained their own forms of self-government. Since the Virginia House of Burgesses was founded, political relations with England have been on the decline. British colonialists consider themselves part of their respective colonial governments, but they still feel strong ties back to Britain. This causes tension between the colonies and Britain because the colonies want Britain to acknowledge them and support them, but Britain ignores the colonies for a long period of time in order to pursue its own affairs. When Britain is in economic strife, parliament tries to raise taxes over in the colonies to support the mother country, but by that time, most colonists do not wish to serve Britain because they have been getting along fine without the mother country’s support. By ignoring the colonies, Britain has made them stronger than imaginable.
While being ignored by the super-power, colonialists needed to create new ties with other countries to trade their cash crops with. In doing so, the trade was in direct violation of the British Navigation Acts which prohibited trade with any other country except Britain. The British again ignored the colonial activities because in the end the gold that was traded to the colonies for crops worked its way back to Britain eventually. By trying to serve their own selfish interests, the British added fuel to the fire by allowing colonials to create economic contacts outside the mother country making it easier for the colonials to break away without economic repercussions.
When King Henry VIII wanted a divorce, and restructured the entire church in the process, he set in motion all of the religious problems in England for the next few centuries. England booted out the Puritans, Quakers, Irish, and most any other religious society they came in contact with. England s solution was to send them all to the colonies so then it would not matter what the perceived social ingrates did. This foolproof act of political mass migration of the opposing religions created a community of British hating rebels who, for many generations, would tell their children how bad Britain is. More fuel gets added to the inferno of tensions between colonists and the mother country.
The British powers thought that they would remain the world power indefinitely, until one day when they turned around and lo and behold, the colonies were a country! Nameless and not represented in any nation, but they had the power to stand on their own, and Britain knew that much. Parliament tried to correct their errors by imposing strict taxes on the colonies, but by that time, nothing in their power could subdue the ideas that yes, we can get along without the king. Through baffles and coincidences, Britain spawned a nation through salutary neglect that summed up to be greater than the mother country which only started as a succession of small business ventures.