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Commerce in America

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Chapter Summary

In the last decades of the seventeenth century, European commerce responded to new opportunities and profit potentials in the North American Indian trade. The French in North America neared a threshold of massive trade expansion. This chapter examines the impact in America of both the widening opportunities in Indian trading, and, closely associated with them, a nascent liberalism emerging in the seventeenth century in France and England which posited that self-motivated individuals "governed lightly by rules of law", worked for the greater good of society. As metropolitan centres dispatched larger volumes of wares, offered generous lines of credit to colonial correspondents and sought freedoms to trade beyond the pale of town markets, powerful currents in the reports, published narratives and trade treatises in America moved understandings of North America's people firmly within a commonwealth of trade.

Keywords: colonial markets; European commerce; France; Indian trade; nascent liberalism; North America



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