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The role of English merchants in early modern times

2019-04-11 来源: 51due教员组 类别: 更多范文

下面为大家整理一篇优秀的assignment代写范文- The role of English merchants in early modern times,供大家参考学习,这篇论文讨论了近代早期英国商人的作用。近代早期英国正处于从封建社会向资本主义社会过渡的时期。在这个时期,英国商人成为了一支人数众多、阵容庞大的重要社会力量,他们利用雄厚的经济实力在英国政治舞台上扮演了重要的角色,对英国社会的转型起到了举足轻重的作用。转型后的英国从中世纪的落后者变成了世界近代化的领跑者,可以说如果没有商人的积极作用,英国的这一转型不可能顺利完成。

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Britain was the first country to successfully step into the modern society. It duly seized the historical opportunity to leap from a backward small agricultural country to a large industrial and commercial country. One island country has become a country with profound influence on the world commercial pattern. However, the development and prosperity of Britain are inseparable from its policy of establishing a country based on commerce and trade under the guidance of mercantilism theory. In the long-term development process, Britain has accumulated a wealth of commercial experience, whose influence on the world still exists today. From the British businessmen's spirit of openness, exploration and adventure, we can see the quality that businessmen should have. From the British businessman's management, we may see the commercial development mainstream and the rule; From the British businessman's concrete practice, we may draw their successful experience.

Thomas meng in the wealth of foreign trade in Britain at the beginning of the book is to explore the knowledge and quality that a versatile foreign trade merchant must have, put the merchant in a high social status, even called the steward of the wealth of the kingdom, gave the merchant a high evaluation and affirmation. Under the pen of Thomas meng, the businessman has the quality of doing business and can be said to be versatile. Businessmen should be good at calligraphy, arithmetic and accounting, for only in this way can they use the noble double-entry bookkeeping method which is only used among businessmen. A merchant should be familiar with the rules and forms of charter party, bill of lading, invoice, deed, bill of exchange and insurance policy. Businessmen should be familiar with all foreign especially countries have trade relations with the country and currency, weights and measures for the money, not only to know how much they have their own different denominations, to know their weight and color, in this way, he can compare and calculate with the reasonable value of China's currency, to complete a merchant's responsibility and their own affairs. A merchant should know the duties, tolls, general taxes, levies, or other charges to be paid by the country to which his goods are exported or imported. Businessmen should know which goods are in surplus and which are in short supply in each country, as well as the supply of these goods, that is, when and how they entered the country. A businessman should know and pay close attention to the exchange rate at which loans or bills of exchange are transferred from one country to another so that he can better conduct his business and repatriate the money at the most favorable exchange rate possible. Businessmen should know what goods are forbidden to be exported or imported in which countries, otherwise they will encounter great risks and losses in their work. A merchant should know the price and terms of the goods that his ships carry, and insure the goods and ships that pass from country to country. A merchant should also be familiar with the laws, regulations, and practices of insurance institutions, both at home and abroad, so that his losses may be minimized if his ship, cargo, or both are exposed to risks and contingencies. Businessmen should be an expert in the field of ship building and repairing, such as known repair ships and needed to build advocate material quality and price, and the stand or fall of shipbuilding technology, and should know the mast, pulley, ropes, artillery, things, ammunition and other various materials of quality and price, but also should know the master, officers and sailors of the general level of wages, because all of these are related to the interests of the owners as a businessman. Businessmen should have a general knowledge of all goods and merchandise, so as to appear to be experts in all walks of life. A merchant should be proficient at sailing, speak several foreign languages, and learn Latin in his youth. He had a keen insight into the life of foreign princes and nobles, foreign military strength, as well as foreign laws, customs, policies, rituals, religions and arts.

It can be seen that the professional attributes of businessmen require them to have a lot of knowledge and ability, and their knowledge and skills are highly valued by the rulers, and their qualities, cultivation and social status are also affirmed by the society.

During the Tudor and Stuart dynasties, British merchants could be roughly divided into three types: the first type was merchants who mainly engaged in wholesale trade at home and abroad, and some of them also engaged in industry and mining in London, cities and ports. The second is the direct contact with producers, running around the country and the ports between the small and medium-sized wholesalers, or middlemen; The third category are shopkeepers and hawkers in towns and cities throughout the county.

And the source of businessman, come from merchant family mostly or noble family, also have come from the professional profession such as lawyer or farmer family. The main ways for businessmen to enter the business world are: apprenticeship of big businessmen, which is also the most common way; To inherit from his father; Pay membership dues to guilds, guilds and companies to become members directly. During the Tudor period, only 9% of the merchants in the whole London came into business through inheriting their father's business, 4% through paying the entrance fee, and 84% through apprenticeship. So it was in the early seventeenth century. The greatest number of people went into business through apprenticeships because business in England in the 16th and 17th centuries had developed into modern business practices. During the apprenticeship, businessmen can initially master complex business skills and learn business methods, laying a foundation for future self-management and success.

In early modern times, the development of British commerce, especially the development of foreign trade, promoted the development of handicraft industry, which led to the qualitative change of guild handicraft industry and accelerated the accumulation of commercial capital. At this time, Britain was in the process of transition to the modern society, and the accumulation of commercial capital promoted the social and economic changes. In fact, the main source of merchants' wealth was foreign trade, including domestic trade as well. The supply of raw materials, processing, transportation and sales of industrial products were important ways for merchants to get rich. For example, Thomas Smith, a great merchant in London, was once the director of the east India company, the Russian company, the French company and the samos island company. Edward osborne was chairman of the levant company and later invested in the west Indies. In addition, the merchants also invested in colonial expansion, investing their capital in expanding colonial trade. For example, the colonies in North America and the west Indies were Newfoundland in 1583, Barbados in 1605, Virginia in 1607, Bermuda in 1614 and New England in 1620. Gambia in 1631, gold coast and other African strongholds in 1660; Surat in 1609, mumbai in 1665 and other east India company strongholds. These companies were established in the 17th century to exploit local resources for economic development. During this period, the activities of trading companies and organizations in Asia, Africa and America laid the foundation for the later colonial occupation and the development of British overseas trade.

Early modern Britain was in the transition period from feudalism to capitalism. During this period, British businessmen had become an important social force with a large number of people and a large lineup. They played an important role on the British political stage with their strong economic strength and played a decisive role in the transformation of British society. After the transformation, Britain became a laggard in the middle ages and became a leader in the modernization of the world. It can be said that without the positive role of businessmen, the transformation of Britain could not be completed smoothly.

In early modern British society, the regime in London was based on wealth, because only the rich could afford all kinds of office. For example, the office of mayor of London, the property qualification in 1631 was above 10,000 pounds. The property qualifications of major municipal officials are strictly regulated. The same is true in other cities, where municipal power is held by businessmen. Similarly, the wealth in the hands of businessmen is the foundation of their political power. Such important positions held by businessmen would inevitably control the city power. They could choose their own representatives to participate in the parliament and exercise power in it to protect the rights of businessmen themselves. They also actively participate in parliament, which is an important part of British political institutions. Since the religious reform, the power of parliament has been continuously expanded, forming the "trinity" regime of king, upper house and lower house. The king is the main body of the system, but it is also limited by the parliament. At this time, Britain is governed according to the principle of "king in parliament". In the 16th and 17th centuries of parliament, businessman increase in the number of people, according to the famous history of parliamentary expert hassler study, queen Elizabeth, once a "in terms of class composition, in terms of family background, 1603 people, 6% was born of a noble, 1% for dignitaries of no titles, 57% for the squire, knight, or several, 2% for lawyers, 17% for businessmen, below 2% for the yeoman class, 15% is unknown. Members of parliament born into merchant families made up 23 percent of the total in 1559, 19 percent in 1563, 15 percent in 1571, and 20 percent in 1572. Professor loch also said that by the end of the 16th century, 15 percent of the seats in parliament were occupied by merchants. Thus it can be seen that in terms of family background, the proportion of businessmen is second only to the squire or knight and the peerage. And the increase in the number of businessmen in the parliament has the advantage of defending their own interests, and they are more powerful to make the parliament to pass a strong bill for themselves.

In this way, the big businessmen can play a bigger and bigger role in political life by controlling the city government, serving in the royal government, and participating in parliament to share some power in the government. At the same time, while closely associated with politics, the convenience of participating in the regime also brought huge economic benefits to businessmen.

At the same time, during the Tudor period, the wealth of merchants increased dramatically. They could financially support the royal government and gained the status in the government and parliament. Their interests are linked to the powerful central government, which is their mutual support with the royal power, and is a powerful pillar of the autocratic monarchy. But in general, "the state is undoubtedly a tool, not an end, for business people. They asked the state for help only out of practical considerations. At that time, many literatures in Britain were written by businessmen who regarded the national interests as one with their own interests. In their eyes, the country was just a special enterprise and a very powerful economic community. Later, as we came to the end of this period of study, when Joseph Addison hailed the commercial republic at his generous breakfast, the merchants began to feel that the system was a little unaffordable, they began to lean towards free trade, and they needed new forms of business organization. And this is mostly about English merchants in the sixteenth century. And in the early days of their growth they needed the support of the state. But when their wings were full and the government's policies were exactly against their interests, their conflict with the kingdom grew so rapidly that they began to brew a rebellion. The main reason for merchants' dissatisfaction is that the autocratic government not only fails to protect the development of commerce, but also often destroys the rules of commercial operation and harms the interests of merchants. In addition, they strongly opposed the king's imposition of non-parliamentary duties. They denounced the king's tax privileges in theory through parliament, and they also took action against the king in the century. Even in religion, he insisted on orthodox calvinism and opposed the Catholic tendency of the king, demanding freedom of religion and freedom of property. The high point of all reaction was the outbreak of the civil war and the guillotine of king Charles I, when the big businessmen had become an important part of the powerful bourgeoisie.

Economically, British merchants also influenced the finances of the kingdom. Most of the king's financial agents, customs officers, and mint officers were large merchants. As the king's financial agent, he mainly borrowed money for the king and used their knowledge of international currency, market and foreign trade to serve the royal government. And this also happens to coincide with the qualities that Thomas believes businessmen have. They flexibly used their own knowledge to rationalize the country's import and export trade to make it conform to the foreign trade under the mainstream of mercantilism. In addition, the management of national customs duties is also done by businessmen, who are responsible for taxing imports and exports, preparing port books and customs books. The king relied on merchants to maintain law and order in the country and to implement the ruling policies of the royal family and the British parliament. Not only did they shoulder most of the duties and parliamentary subsidies, but they were able to get loans from them when the king was in financial trouble. British merchants supported the royal family mainly in exchange for various trade concessions. The twelve merchants' guilds had long been chartered by the king to have a monopoly on the production and sale of one or more commodities in the city; Joint-stock companies and statute companies in foreign trade are granted exclusive rights to certain special trade zones. This government-sanctioned trade monopoly, in turn, cemented the position and power of the merchant oligopoly.

In addition, British businessmen began to serve capitalist industrial and agricultural production in the circulation field, and the profits of industrial and agricultural employers were realized in the product circulation process. In this sense, the nature of business is changing. Merchants are not only serving the feudal nobles, but also the capitalist masters. And many of them are both businessmen and business owners. At the same time, merchants also accelerated the primitive accumulation of capital through foreign trade. In Britain, the original accumulation of capital came mainly from foreign trade, that is, from overseas expansion and plunder. The characteristics of British overseas trade at this time were: commercial expansion combined with land discovery and colonial occupation; formal trade combined with plunder. Among them, merchants played a leading role, and the commercial capital accumulated by merchants was the initial and most basic form of modern capital. In the process, they explored new trade routes and established trading companies, such as the venture merchant company, the east India company, the levant company, and so on.

Therefore, from the perspective of economy, British businessmen played a very important role in the transition from Britain to modern society and became active practitioners of mercantilism.

The British merchant in the early modern times was never a fixed class, so it was also a class with unlimited development and expansion ability. They are not farmers, but they have farmers' crops in their hands; they are not craftsmen, but they own the products of craftsmen; They were not nobles, but they had as much money as nobles; They were not soldiers, but they could turn their business into munitions. The survival of British businessmen is characterized by their association with all classes, so they are most likely to break all kinds of boundaries. And their class is not fixed, all classes may become businessmen. The instability of the merchant class in England made it ubiquitous in all social classes. In early modern Britain, the royal family formed a special cooperative relationship with the merchants. The government protected the merchants and issued a series of policies in favor of the merchants, who gained a decisive position while supporting the government. In the British social transformation, the businessman plays a positive role, they become a British mercantilism practitioners, foreign trade agents, investors or operators, nation-state formation in the field of industrial consolidation, church, the erosion of economic ethics, however, businessmen also exist limitations, but also is, after all, in spite of his flaws. Businessmen's economic advantages laid the foundation of their political power, and their active participation in politics contributed to the early establishment of the rule of the bourgeoisie in Britain.

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