The Politics of Consumer Protest
The consumption of food and drink, luxury items and even cultural activities became highly-charged issues in eighteenth-century Ireland, but it was the more general topic of commerce that really exercised political commentators. From the late seventeenth-century the importation of merchandise from Britain became a politically sensitive matter, as acts had been introduced preventing the export of Irish goods. The system of trade restrictions was introduced by government in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, partly as a means of assuaging commercial groups from ports like Bristol and Glasgow. Once in place the mercantilist system operated in such a way that goods that might compete with British interests were prohibited, whilst goods required by the British economy received a bounty. The Navigation Act of 1663, the Cattle Act of 1667 and the Woollen Act of 1699 were the keystones of this English policy.
KeywordsFree Trade British Government Trade Restriction Foreign Good Foreign Manufacture
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