Hostname: page-component-7479d7b7d-pfhbr Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-14T21:41:26.835Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

THE FORMATION OF A COMMERCIAL LOBBY: THE WEST INDIA INTEREST, BRITISH COLONIAL POLICY AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 1997

ANDREW J. O'SHAUGHNESSY
Affiliation:
The University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh

Abstract

British colonial policy initiatives of the 1760s and the American revolutionary war led to a period of sustained lobbying by the West India interest in Britain; lobbying which developed from an informal body into a more professionally organized lobby, along the lines of modern economic interest groups. The composition of the lobby and its activities during the revolutionary period are examined here. Its considerable influence is also assessed and explained. The article finds that the lobby won major concessions from the British government and vitally affected British policy towards North America. It nevertheless concludes that the lobby enjoyed its greatest influence in the early century when ironically its organization was weaker but its goals coincided more harmoniously with those of British colonial policy. Its later reorganization was a response to the increasing conflicts of interest between the white elites of the British Caribbean and the mother country which intensified during the period of the American revolution and its aftermath.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 1997 Cambridge University Press

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

The author wishes to thank Charles Cohen, Stanley Engerman, John Kaminski, Richard Leffler and John McCusker for their comments on an earlier draft of this paper. Paul Langford kindly lent copies of his notes on voting patterns of members of parliament. The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Faculty Development Fund provided a grant towards the completion of this project for the summer of 1993. A version of this essay was presented at the Mid-Western Conference of British Studies at the University of Toronto, October 29, 1994.