European Overseas Expansion
and the Commercial Revolution
Š What combination of factors contributed to European expansion in the 16th century?
Š What were the consequences for the Native Americans? How were they to be treated? What were the consequences for Europeans?
Š What conditions made the “commercial revolution” and the rise of early mercantile capitalism possible in the between 1550 and 1750 centuries?
1) Politics of History/Culture Wars 6) Putting Out System
2) Juan de Sepulveda 7) Jean Colbert
3) Bartolomew de Las Casas 8) joint-stock company
4) “Price Revolution”/Great Inflation
I. The Motives and Means of Expansion: Why Europe?
§ Economics: Land, Trade, and Birth of Capitalism
§ Politics: Centralizing Monarchies, International Competition
§ Religion: Messianic Impulses and Crusader Mentality
§ Individualism: The New Adventurer? Lack of Opportunity?
§ Technology: Ships, Navigation, and Guns
§ Financial Support: Monarchies and Investors
Š The Native Americans:
§ Population Decline, Slavery, and Christianity
§ Introduction of Slavery from Africa
II. How to Rule over non-Europeans?
Š Brutality or Benevolent Paternalism?
Š Do the Native Americans have souls?
Š Charles V and the Council of the Indies
Š Opposing Views: Juan de Sepulveda vs. Bartolomew de Las Cases (1550)
III. The Commercial Revolution and the Origins of Capitalism
Š Trade, Imperial Expansion, Population Growth
The Role of the Entrepreneur and Private Interest
Š The New Merchant Class vs. the Guilds
Š Proto-industrialization: The “Domestic” or “Putting Out” System
Š New Banking and Joint-Stock Companies: The East India Company (1600)
Š Advantages in New Markets: Internal and External
Š A New Economic Culture and Identity
The Role of the State and Public Interest
Š Centralizing States as Consumers
Š Law, Order, Stability, and Infrastructure
Š State Intervention: Favorable Trade Balance and Economic Regulation
Š Jean Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683): The “Paradox” of Mercantilism