They also believed that the wealth of a nation depended primarily on the possession of gold and silver. Mercantilists assumed that the volume of world wealth and trade was relatively static; so one country's gain required another's loss. According to this view, a colonial possession should provide wealth to the country that controlled it. Colonies were not supposed to compete with the mother country's home industries. Empires were closed systems, designed to keep competitors out.
To implement mercantilist policy, England passed legislation called the Navigation Acts that restricted its colonies to trading solely with the mother country. The acts also stipulated that goods imported or exported by English colonies in Africa, Asia, or America had to be shipped on vessels constructed by English shipbuilders and that at least three-quarters of the ships' crews had to be English.
Sometimes such regulations backfired. During the French and Indian War (1754-1763) in North America, the British Parliament sought to increase revenues to pay the costs of defending the American colonies. It used the Navigation Acts to levy heavier duties on the American colonies. American colonists felt oppressed by these taxes, which are con