British Abolitionists

2 February 2018

In 1807, the British slave trade was abolished by parliament. Two hundred years later, Holly. Voodoo commemorated the event with the movie Amazing Grace. Like many historians, Hollywood told the Story as flimflam Willpower was a one-man crew. L In reality, there were thousands of heroes to this story, on both sides of the Atlantic. Slavery was a necessary evil in the minds of British and American citizens, but slavery was a cancer on society. “American” can be considered here as either an American colonist or a citizen of the United States.

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The abolitionists went slowly to gradually accomplish their goals. William Wilderness’s efforts were indispensable, but it is simplistic to bestow abolitionist credit on the legacy of just one man. Mercantilism is the belief that there is only so much wealth to divide between the nations. A positive trade balance can then be assumed to be the road to riches. In the seventeenth century, mercantilism led to the evolution of the triangle of trade, the cornerstone of which was the Atlantic slave trade.

At the height of this triangular trade, Britain experienced an economic golden age, with a huge percentage of that gold in some way related to the slave read. The Colonists in North America were also profiting and the triangle of trade continued legally for at least another quarter of a century after the American Revolution. The economies of Britain and her American colonies were booming. But in Africa, families were being torn apart by 1 Riding, 2007 2 kidnappers. Humans were being uprooted from their heritage and losing their freedom to merciless bandits.

Frequently, African war lords picked fights on trumped up charges and started wars with rival tribes or simply overpowered their peaceful neighbors, just to capture poor souls as rissoles of pointless wars and to sell the victims to heartless, white, slave traders. Observers on both sides of the Atlantic could see the huge moral issues of slavery, but they were unwilling to give up the lifestyles to which they had become accustomed. Nobody wanted to make a stand for the poor victims. There was too much to be lost by each individual.

Or they were simply unconcerned, because the victims were from another culture. Nobody wanted to tell a planter he had just wasted his money due to a change in the law. So the abolitionists tried to stop the slave trade, as opposed to total abolition of slavery. Slavery is the only issue that has ever caused American states to declare war on other – American states. Slavery issue was also at the heart of the Missouri Compromise, the Kansas- – Nebraska Act, the Compromise of 1 850, and the annexation of Texas.

But why isn’t slavery still – a way of life for African-Americans? The abolition of slavery was a dream that started slowly and took many years to manifest: long torturous years, during which countless African- Americans suffered constant pain, exhaustion, and humiliation. History has placed the egg representing credit for abolition squarely in the basket belonging to one individual. William -? Willpower was the British Member of Parliament (PM) who first proposed legislation to outlaw the British slave trade. While it is obvious that Willpower played an essential role in the abolition campaign, to give him sole credit is a discredit to George Fox of the Quakers and – Thomas Clarion of Cambridge University, among others. 3,4 George Fox was a pacifist who in – 1657 became the abolitionist spokesman for several British congregations Of nonconformists – 2 Clarion, chapter XIV 3 Abolition. Org, 2012 4 Riding, 2007 3 known as the Quakers. 5 Thank god someone, anyone, could recognize the hypocrisy and start to plant the seeds of abolition that blossomed years later.

The Quakers bravely created a grass roots movement for the abolition of slavery. There were many other heroes, but none often were any more important than Thomas Clarion. As a student at Cambridge University, Clarion wrote an essay for a Latin competition on an assigned topic relating to the ethics of slavery. 6 In researching in preparation for his essay, Clarion became intrigued by the question of slavery’s ethics, even though it was legal at that time in Britain. The more Clarion studied the topic, the more impelled he became to fight against this blight on humanity.

He translated the Latin essay into English and published it. Clarion’s research into the idea of abolition naturally led him to others of the same mindset, including Granville Sharp, who had been influenced by the Quakers. “In 1787 (Granville) Sharp, Thomas Clarion, and William Dilly formed the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Although Sharp and Clarion were both Anglicans, nine out of the twelve members on the committee were Quakers. “7 The society for the abolition concentrated on increasing public awareness of the immorality of slavery.

The group set up societies all over Britain, distributed a huge number of pamphlets, and they were behind a barrage of petitions to the British Parliament that originated from all over the United Kingdom, carrying on the grass roots movement of abolition started by the Quakers. Following on the success of his first essay within abolitionist circles, Clarion composed a series of papers denouncing slavery, based on his research. Over the years Of his career, 5 Abolition. Org, 2012 6 Asparagus (Clarion), 201 2 7 asparagus (Sharp), 201 2 4 Clarion interviewed 20,000 informed sources. 9 Many of them were sailors on the slave ships or anyone else with an intimate knowledge of the atrocities heaped by supposedly civilized Europeans on supposedly uncivilized Africans. Clarion was one of the first public speakers in history to employ visual aids in his speeches. He traveled over 3500 miles by horseback, collecting and sketching damning evidence of inhumane slave ship conditions. 1 1 , 12 Some of his famous drawings were of the hardware used to keep the captives securely trapped beneath the ship’s deck in a dungeon of despair.

Perhaps his most famous drawing was one showing the lour plan of a slave ship, showing the positions of each slave, locked into a stationary position so they could not even roll over on the bare wooden bed, elbow to elbow, foot to head, stacked on racks one above the other, an unimaginable mass of stinking humanity, gasping for breath. “(Clarion) published a drawing of the slave-ship, The Brooked. It was originally built to carry a maximum of 451 people, but was carrying over 600 slaves from Africa to the Americas.

Chained together by their hands and feet, the slaves had little room to move. It has been claimed that the startling diagram was strutted far and wide and prints hung in every abolitionist home. “13 This drawing plucked at the heartstrings Of many people who viewed it, even though it only depicted the captives stored in loose packing (on their backs) instead of tight packed (on their sides). In 1788 Clarion wrote another essay that was entitled Essay on the 8 BBC. Com, 2012 9 asparagus (Clarion), 201 2 10 Ibid. 11 BBC. Mom, 2012 12Thelongridersguild. Com, 201 2 13 Asparagus (Clarion), 2012 5 Impolitic of the African Slave Trade; this essay was widely distributed by Parliament. 14, 15 One of Clarion’s first visits to a slave ship led to his exposure to beautiful African artifacts: handmade textiles, furniture, and crafts from Africa. He claimed to be evidence that Africans were not the worthless morons they were being portrayed to be by the slave traders. Clarion carried a small African-made, wooden chest with him on his public speaking tours.

The chest was a beautifully crafted piece Of fine furniture; the treasures inside the chest were various utensils, linens, and art. The treasures and the chest had been created with pride by so-called primitive Africans. Clarion’s collection of visual aids made his audiences aware of the intelligence and skills of the African people. This exposed the lies of the slave traders, who laughed that their captives were blessed only with physical strength, lacking in intelligence, and therefore had no need of any language other than grunts and groans.

Clarion fine tuned his research to focus not so much on slavery itself, but on the British slave trade. Many British citizens profited from this industry. Actually, one could argue that all Britons profited from this slave trade because of the incredible infrastructure they were able to build with the spoils of slavery. Many of the famous British madman’s today were originally built during these economic glory years for Britain, none of which would have been possible without the enormous profitability of the triangle of trade, based on slavery. There was no aspect of the slave trade or slavery that was excusable.

Yet for quite a while, it continued like clockwork. Someone had to do something. Who would answer the call? In A SHORT ACCOUNT Of the AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE, Robert Norris said without the slave trade, “the export of British manufactures three millions sterling annually, would soon be reduced to nothing and our national importance would quickly decline. 16 Norris told 14 Ibid. 15 Clarion, chapter XIV 16 Clarion, chapter XVII 6 Parliament in 1 788 that captives have enough space, air, food, and water; very few die; they dance on deck; it is “one of the happiest periods of a Negroes life. 17 Actually, slaves had 5 6″ by 16” to live in, stacked on shelves…. The ships were so horrendous, they could be smelled for miles. 18 Clarion was one of the first public speakers ever to use visual aids, so he took his box of African artifacts to the Privy Council. “I wished the council to see more of my African productions and manufactures, that they might really know what Africa was capable of affording instead of the Slave Trade; and that they might make a proper estimate of the genius and talents of the natives.

The samples which I had collected, had been obtained by great labor, and at no inconsiderable expense: for whenever had notice that a vessel had arrived immediately from that continent, I never hesitated to go. ” 19 Willpower eloquently presented to parliament in 1788. When Willpower finished speaking, Prime Minister William Pit declared the talk to be one of the all- time great speeches in world history.

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