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  • Port of Savannah, Yesterday and Today

    According to David Schaller of the Georgia Ports Authority, Georgia products travel and are used around the world. Ships bring in containers loaded with goods from blue jeans to televisions. Author Rusty Fleetwood, and John Duncan of Armstrong State University discuss Georgia’s earliest exports when Savannah was international port city since the days of the Georgia colony. Kirk Johnston, a reenactor with the Charles Town Landing State Park, explains how mercantilism made Great Britain a rich nation.

    Support Materials

    Discuss

    1.How did the port of Savannah and its shipping help the city of Savannah?

    2.What kinds of goods were sent to England and other British territories from Georgia?

    3.What kinds of goods were imported from England and its territories to the colonies?

    4.What was the main problem with mercantilism according to the colonists and one of the causes of the American Revolution?

    5. Should governments place restrictions on trade between countries? Explain your response.

    Expansion

    1. This video can be used to introduce basic economic concepts of international trade, import and export, monopoly and mercantilism. Research the changing imports and exports that have come through the port of Savannah in the past three centuries.

    2. Debate the statement, "England would have allowed the colonists to settle the New World and would have sponsored their journey even if the monarchy had not been assured of the practice of mercantilism with the colonies." Give clear and factual reasons to defend and refute this statement.

    Vocabulary

    mercantilism: an economic system practiced by Great Britain where the colonies would provide the raw materials and the mother country would provide the finished product; it gave both the colony and the mother country a ready market for their goods
    imports: that which is brought into a country from a foreign country for commercial purposes
    exports: commodities which are carried, sent, and sold to other countries for sale or trade

    For Teachers

    Discussion Guide

    1.How did the port of Savannah and its shipping help the city of Savannah?
    Goods came into and out of the port of Savannah on ships. Men could get jobs loading the goods onto and off of the ships. Hotels, inns, taverns, and restaurants could make money housing and feeding the crews and passengers of the ships. Merchants would make money by selling the goods that went on the ships or came off of them. Warehouses stored goods near the docks of the Savannah River. People who ran these warehouses collected the rent charged for storing the goods in these warehouses. People lived in and around the port of Savannah in order to take advantage of the profits to be gained through the shipping industry in the city.

    2.What kinds of goods were sent to England and other British territories from Georgia?
    Georgia produced indigo, rice, cotton, pine, and animal skins. These were valuable commodities which were not readily available in England and elsewhere.

    3.What kinds of goods were imported from England and its territories to the colonies?
    England would manufacture firearms, furniture, swords, and clothes which were items the colonists could not make for themselves. Molasses and sugar were obtained from Barbados and the West Indies. Tea was imported from India, a British possession.

    4.What was the main problem with mercantilism according to the colonists and one of the causes of the American Revolution?
    The colonies were allowed to trade only with England or with other territories possessed by England. They were not allowed to find cheaper goods elsewhere. This was a stipulation in the charters of the colonies settled by England. The colonists would have liked to have been able to make the products themselves rather than have England with a monopoly on all the goods sold to the colonists.

    5. Should governments place restrictions on trade between countries? Explain your response.
    Placing restrictions on trade between countries does not allow the market to determine price of goods. Most economists agree that when trade is free and open, economic growth results and people will make more money and raise their living standards. Mercantilism was restrictive because it limited who could trade with the colonies. England wanted the colonies to trade only with the Crown. In spite of this, Georgia and other colonies traded with the West Indies and countries other than England. It was one of the issues that led to the colonies wanting to rebel against their mother country, England. Countries want to trade without restriction, tariffs on their goods (import or export). Wikipedia gives a fairly understandable discussion on this issue. Students can research this and debate/discuss each side.

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