Salutary Neglect Definition Essay

The Meaning and Definition of Salutary Neglect Salutary Neglect was a long-standing British Policy in the 13 colonies which allowed the colonists to flout, or violate, the laws associated with trade. There were no effective enforcement agencies, and it was expensive to send British troops to America. The British policy of Salutary Neglect was not documented. The policy and era of Salutary Neglect lasted from the 1690’s to the 1760’s and benefited the colonists boosting their profits from trade.

This “salutary neglect” contributed involuntarily to the increasing autonomy of colonial legal and legislative institutions, which ultimately led to American independence. Due to the Britain’s salutary neglect policy, the colonies enjoyed a lot of freedom, which in effect led to the development of American society. The colonies benefited from a lack of heavy British political or economic rule, so they established their own legislative assemblies, maintained their own commerce, and became a religiously mixed nation.

The neglect of Britain forced the colonists to develop a system of self-government, including colonial legislatures, town halls, and a social hierarchy. These establishments managed the nation’s commerce which consisted of the Triangular Trade, trade with foreign countries, as well as trade amongst themselves. This salutary neglect also guaranteed a large extent of religious freedom. England was deeply involved in civil wars, and hence the colonists were left with their own resources to provide themselves with a form of self-government.

One of the earlier examples of selfgovernment was the New England Confederation. Its primary purpose was for protection against the Indians, the French, and the Dutch that the busy English could not provide for them. Although a weak organization, the confederation was the first milestone towards a strong, independent government. The New Englanders were accustomed to this neglect, so they were struck hard when the Dominion of New England was created by royal authority.

The dominion was aimed at providing English control over New England, but proved futile when the colonists got rebellious fervor from the Glorious Revolution and ran Edmund Andros out of royal office, showing England the extent of their self-government. The benefits of the neglect can further be seen in the fact that British government refused to pay the royal governors with their own expense and forced loca legislatures to pay the salaries of their own governors. England’s lack of attention to its decision proved most useful to the colonists.

Reasons for britain’s Inability to Enforce the laws was that the policy of Salutary Neglect was too difficult, too expensive and politically too risky to enforce. During the early period of colonization there were no effective enforcement agencies in place. There was also the tedious fact that England was 3000 miles apart from the colonies. Complex Logistics required difficult coordination of people, facilities and supplies. lt was expensive to implement when taking the enormous debt the britian already has in to concideration.

Concering Political Dangers the law Dissatisfied and discontented Colonists. Who would eventually find a willing ally in the French. However, the British government was far more vigilant when overseeing matters concerning merchants who were based in Great Britain the policy of Salutary Neglect did not apply to some matters. The policy of Salutary Neglect did not apply to Issues involving contracts, debts, and the rates of currency exchange – also refer to Colonial, Continental and Revolutionary Currency.

Concerns regarding these matters led to the Debt Recovery Act of 1732. The British attempted to reverse their policy of Salutary Neglect in the 1760’s and end illegal trading was to tighten their control, enforce the Navigation Acts and impose new taxes including the Sugar Act, Stamp Act, Townshend Acts and the Tea Act. These measures infuriated the American colonists. They had been allowed to flout the Navigation Acts for years. It had become their custom and practise and a direct result of Salutary Neglect.

And then, to add insult to injury, the British were slashing their profits still further through the new taxes. The colonists then vehemently protested against the new measures resulting from the reversal of Salutary Neglect and the Sons of Liberty was formed. The Boston Tea Party affair followed which was as a result and in opposition to the Tea Act. The American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence was the inevitable conclusion to the laws and taxes imposed by the British on the American colonies – which had been fuelled by their attempt to end their policy of Salutary Neglect.

The British policy of Salutary Neglect was, most importantly, about the profits that could be made from the raw materials and products used for trade by the colonists in the 13 Colonies in exchange for goods from England. This led to the system of Triangular Trade across the Atlantic. Great Britain adhered to the philosophy of Mercantilism which came to mean that colonies existed for the good of the mother country. The seeds of revolution were sown when the British attempted to reverse their policy of Salutary Neglect. Which was britain’s ultimate defeat in ever gaining control of the 13 colonies again.