Abolition of the British Slave Trade

2 February 2018

The Abolition of the British Slave Trade “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know. ” (Good Reads. ND) This statement made by politician and rights activist William Wildflower summarizes his strong view on the British slave trade suggesting that other members of Parliament simply ignored the human rights issue despite their knowledge of this. The abolition of the slave trade in the United Kingdom, 1 807 and the events leading up to the abolition directly affected the rights and freedoms by granting slaves more rights and privileges.

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Despite the British Parliament’s reluctance to pass the bill that would abolish the slave trade, several key groups and individuals were significant and instrumental in the abolition of the slave trade. William Wilderness’s dedication to the abolition Of the slave trade and his influential young attitude greatly contributed to the abolition of the slave trade. In Addition, women affected the trade by drawing attention to the injustices of slavery. Although there was much support for the abolition of the slave trade, there were several factions of Parliament that affected the trade and the period of mime taken to pass the abolition bill.

The House of Lord had stalled the act so that they could make their own inquiry. When the motion was presented in parliamentary sessions, the bill would only lose by narrow margins due to supporters leaving the chamber part way through the hearing (Driving Change Through Parliament, 2011). PM and lifelong abolitionist Stephan Lusting was quotes in an article written on BBC History stated that he, “Was greatly surprised to hear opponents of this bill enter cold calculations of loss and gain; for his part, he could never stop to balance imports and sports against justice and humanities” (Driving Change Through Parliament, 201 1).

This shows how Parliament did not necessarily care about the well being of the people being sold in the slave trade; they only cared about the cold calculations of what they would stand to lose if the trade was abolished. This is further corroborated in the article when it states, “Wildflower introduced an abolition motion in most subsequence sessions, and these were occasionally lost by only narrow margins, including four votes in 1796, when several supporters had deserted the chamber for the pleasures of the Opera house. (Driving Change Through Parliament. 01 1), because the supporters of the bill left the chamber to go watch the Opera, although the supporters believed in the bill they did not find it as important or interesting as going to see the Opera leaving the motion was left without the support needed to pass the bill for the abolition of the slave trade, making it increasingly difficult for the motion to pass. British parliament’s relevance to the abolition of the slave trade being passed it was the work of several key groups and individuals that made significant and instrumental effects on the anti-slavery motion.

William Wilderness’s was a Member of Parliament, a committed Christian and a vanguard in the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire. His efforts between 1793 and 1807 were the driving force behind the abolition of the slave trade in Great Britain. This then led to the emancipation of the slaves in 1833, the year of Wilderness’s death (William Wildflower, 2011 Wildflower introduced a bill to abolish slave labor every year for more than a decade and in 1792 the House of Commons voted to abolish the slave trade; however the bill was not passed in the House of Lords (William Wildflower. 1 1). The bill finally passed in 1 807 however, Wildflower did not live to see the emancipation of slaves from their owners in 1833. However, he was instrumental in the abolition. This is corroborated by his address to the freeholders and inhabitants in Yorkshire about the abolition of the slave trade in Great Britain, stating that, “Fourteen long years have now lapsed since that period when the question was fully argued in Parliament; and the large share of the national attention which it then engaged, has since been occupied successively by the various public topics of today… To banish from the minds of most men all recollection of distant wrongs and suffering. ” (William Wildflower. 1807 p. 2). Wildflower is explaining that although the bill had been presented over a decade prior to his writing to them the tragedies that drew in their attention in 1 792 was now occupied by the various topics of the time. However the injustices Of the slave trade still occurred and therefore making them just as important in 1807 as they once were in 1792 By recognizing that “some form of public pressure on parliament was essential” (William Wildflower: The real Abolitionist? 11) Wildflower was able to see that although his belief that government was better left to the educated, other forms of support were also essential. Wildflower sought the support of Thomas Clarion well know English abolitionist who “forged the essential alliance with the Quakers, which brought financial support to the movement and a nationwide network of volunteers from the first religious denomination in Britain to take a stand against slavery. (William Wildflower: The real Abolitionist? 201 1) gaining the support of not just the general public but the Anglican Church as well which in urn brought Wildflower more support when presenting abolition bills to Parliament. William Wildflower was essential in the abolition of the slave trade as he was able to gain the support of the British public. He consistently reminded the Parliament of the issue, showing his determination to pass the abolition bill and put an end to slave trade.

Although William Wildflower is often seen as the most significant individual in the abolition of the slave trade there were many other noteworthy contributions to the abolition including women’s involvement in publicizing the slave trade. Women played a vital role in the abolition of the slave trade as even though they held no political rights they drew attention to the trade through other means. Women rallied attention for the slave trade through, poetry, petitions and selling anti-slavery’ merchandise (Women: From Abolition to the Vote, 201 1).

In 1 792, Women’s rights advocate Mary Woolgathering highlighted the influence women had in the slave trade when she wrote, “When therefore I call women slaves, mean in a political and civil sense; for, indirectly they obtain too much power and are debased by the exertions to obtain illicit way. ” (Mary Woolgathering. 1792,). Woolgathering was referring to how women, although they held no political power, were able to cajole their influential male friends and influence the anti-slavery debate.

Women influence on the abolition is further corroborated by an article published on the BBC History spoke Of how,” In 1788 the Abolition Society and its provincial committees had 206 female subscribers… Wives and daughters of merchants, professionals, manufacturers and shopkeepers” (Women: From Abolition to the Vote, 2011 This is an example of how the middle class women showed al interest to end the slave trade. Women would also support the movement by selling Hedgerow’s cameos to be used in bracelets and hairpins that featured the image of a kneeling, chained, black slave.

This publicized support woman had bringing attention to how the slaves were treated. (Women: From Abolition to the Vote. 2011). Women’s’ involvement in the anti-slavery campaign was crucial as they were able to influence others in and out of parliament as well as bring attention to the horror of the slave trade to the general public. Despite the British Parliament’s reluctance to pass he bill that would abolish the slave trade, several key groups and individuals were significant and instrumental in the abolition of the slave trade.

Due to a number of different contributing factors the abolition of the slave trade was made possible in 1807 after over a decade of debate. Despite the British Parliament’s reluctance to pass the bill that would abolish the slave trade, several key groups and individuals were significant and instrumental in the abolition. William Wilderness’s attitudes and dedication to the abolition made him crucial to change the in the slave trade as he continually presented arguments in parliament for the abolition and sort help to bring attention to the abolition of the slave trade.

Women’s dedication to publicizing the trade through expressing their view on the trade and presenting the injustices of the trade to the public as well as influencing others to fight against the slave trade was essential in the abolition. Finally, parliament played a role in the abolition of the slave trade as it set the pace of the time elapsed to abolish the slave trade. Due to movements such as the abolition of the slave trade that began the development of the rights and freedoms we have today as it inspired further movements like the women’s suffrage movement and later efforts like the Freedom Rides in the United States.

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