Developed in France, Henry IV, a Bourbon, left a strong tradition of mercantilism, which many strong powers in Europe catered to.1 By the end of the 1600s countries all over Western Europe, and even some in Easter Europe in the case of Prussia, had this policy.2

According to mercantilism:
  • A monarch rules not so they can live a luxurious life, but so they can better their subjects’ lives.

At the time, this mean that only a strong, absolutist—or at least centralized—government could control industry, production, quality standards, resources, and tariffs to the extent needed to keep them stable and in good working condition.3

  • There was only a finite amount of wealth and what there was had already been discovered. To gain power one had to take wealth from those who had it. (This specific idea would later be proven false.)

Some took this as justification to hoard gold and silver while others took it as retaining a stable balance of more exports than imports.4

  • Warfare was encouraged.5
  • To be a strong power, a country should have colonies from which resources could be gathered.6

These colonies could produce raw materials and staple crops, which would be sent to the parent country, who, after manufacturing them, would often sell them back to their colonies. To exclude foreigners from trading with a parent country’s colonies high tariffs, regulations, bounties, or prohibitions could be set up.

Spain restricted trade by foreigners with the its colonies in the New World, although pirates and smugglers often snuck past the restrictions.7 During the Spanish Succession War, Louis wanted to keep these channels closed while many of those fighting against him wanted to be able to trade with the new world as well.8

  • Trade should be regulated by the state so that the state would have greater power than its neighbors.

This mean that trade should be stable with a steady importation of gold, silver, and such. But, as stated in the second point of mercantilism, this inflow could only be established if it were taken from others.9

Works Referenced

Chambers, Mortimer; Grew, Raymond; Herlihy, David; Rabb, Theodore K.; Woloch, Isser. The Western Experience: Sixth Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1991

1 Chambers, Mortimer; Grew, Raymond p. 485
2 Ibid 594
3 Ibid 486
4 Ibid 485
5 Ibid 486
6 Ibid 595
7 Ibid 596
8 Ibid 539
9 Ibid 594