Smith, A. The Wealth of Nations. First Published in 1776. Pelican Classics Edition. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, Ltd., 1978.
s were economic in character. What divided the American colonists was the preferred approach to settle the grievances. To prove the thesis that the motivations for the American Revolution were economic in character, evidence is required to both document the development of economic grievances by the American colonists, and to show that British responses demonstrated that independence for the American Colonies was perceived as the best way by the American colonists to settle those grievances.
The economies of all British colonies in the western hemisphere were primarily agricultural in character (Mercier 309-324). A significant shipping industry also developed in the New England colonies. Slavery was legal in all British colonies of this period. Most often, however, slavery was practiced in the West Indies, and in the Middle and South Atlantic colonies of North America. Labor rates in the North American colonies were much higher than they were in Britain (Smith 172). Wealth was increasing rapidly in the North American colonies, where it was increasing slowly in Britain, although the actual level of wealth in Britain was much higher than it was in the North American colonies. High labor wages and high interest rates existed simultaneously in the American colonies (Smith 194-195). This situation arose because new British colonies were typically under stocked in both labor and money.