Defying Empire: An Analysis

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The businessmen of colonial New York strove to succeed in their trade by any means possible, often resorting to violence and bribery in order to increase their profit margin. However, their methods were not limited to violence. Throughout Defying Empire the reader is often bombarded with descriptions of the mindsets of the eponymous merchants. The text goes into detail cataloging the general thought processes behind some of the most ingenious smuggling conventions of the 18th century.They utilized any tools at their disposal in order to continue their businesses including powerful connections and money. In order to get contraband past the Britain the merchants disguised their ships with flags of truce(Truxes 87-104), used legal goods as covers…show more content…
The merchants often showed a stunning disregard for the physical and mental well-being of those who attempted to hinder their operations in any way. The case of George Spencer is an extreme example of this pattern of behavior. Following an attempt to report the illegal trading of a group of merchants, Spencer found himself paraded about town by an angry mob before being thown in debtors prison for more than two years. At every point in this ordeal Spencer found himself without aid, as both the law officer whom he reported the crime to and his defense attorney were on the side of the smugglers(Truxes 10-18). Those who opposed the merchants could expect no less merciful of a response. The Seven Years War had a long reaching effect on large numbers of people. The interruption of New York commerce was an unintended effect of the war, however it had consequences which could not have been predicted by the British policy makers. The tenacity of the New York businessmen threw a wrench in the cogs of the British war machine and changed the state of the economy permanently. Eventually leading to the American Revolution (Truxes
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