Abolition of Slave Trade

9 September 2016

He was taken from his home in Africa as a young child and brought on a slave ship to America where he was separated from his family and his sister who was also captured. He was bought by a rich naval Captain and spent 10 years of his captivity on several vessels engaged in commerce and sometimes in naval warfare. During his years as a slave he managed to earn money and earned enough to buy his freedom. He went on to be the first African writer to reach a large audience of American people. He wrote his autobiography The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano.

This book influenced many British people and caused them to be anti-slavery and exposing to the general public the hardships a slave faced causing much uproar. But there were other key individuals who weren’t necessarily of African origin who campaigned against slavery and helped in the abolition of the trade. One of those individuals was William Wilberforce. Wilberforce, over a period of years and amidst much opposition, fought to have slavery abolished by presenting a number of bills to the British Parliament. He was a Member of the House of Commons and Wilberforce was, as an MP, in a position to bring the matter before the House.

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Sir Charles Middleton, Thomas Clarkson, William Pitt and William Grenville all gave Wilberforce impetus to bring the Quakers and Anglicans together to campaign against the trade in slaves, focusing on the trade rather than against slavery was felt an achievable step toward total abolition and, due to Britain’s naval pre-eminence would affect all slaving nations. Print of the slave ship ‘Brookes’ printed by the Quaker printer James Phillips. Showing sections of the ship and the inhumane way in which slaves were stowed Print of the slave ship ‘Brookes’ printed by the Quaker printer James Phillips.

Showing sections of the ship and the inhumane way in which slaves were stowed Religious factors also played a pivotal role in the abolition of the slave trade. Christian groups such as the Quakers and Anglicans had been campaigning against slavery for a number of years. Before the eighteenth century, very few white men questioned the morality of slavery. The Quakers and Anglicans were among these few. The doctrines of their religion declared an issue such as slavery to be unjust. By 1775, the Quakers founded the first American anti-slavery group.

Through the 1700s, Quakers and Anglicans led a strong-held prohibition against slavery for many years until the trade was abolished. Also many political factors had a large influence on the ending of the slave trade. There were many slave rebellions against the English trying to put and end to slavery and standing up for their right. One of the major rebellions was the Maroon war in Jamaica in the1730s. large groups of runaway slaves from sugar plantations set up a camps called “Free Villages” which would be a safe harbour for black slaves from the whites.

These maroons continued to defy and revolt against the English by ambushing them in the forests that surrounded their Free Villages. This rebellion amongst others, influenced the opinion of many people on the treatment and trading of black slaves. Also another political factor that helped to abolish the slave trade was the founding of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave trade set up 1718 which tried to let Africans live free without the risk of capture, and outlaw their sale and slavery. Conclusion

In my opinion the largest factor that caused Parliament to declare and abolition to the slave trade on March 25th 1807 was the valuable input from the Christian groups. They worked with many key individuals and the Society for the Abolition of the Slave trade in order to provide a world where blacks no longer worried about being captured by the British and sold into slavery. Though I think that this factor was the largest in the prevention in the trade I don’t think that it could have been possible without the valuable factors from everybody else such as Olaudah Equiano and William Willberforce.

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