The successful completion of this study would not have been possible without the assistance and cooperation of a number of persons. To our mighty creator I give thanks for strength, courage and divine guidance throughout the preparation stages of this project. I express profound thanks to my neighbour and friend Joya who toiled with me during the long hours of research in the preparatory stage of this project. Your guidance and assistance in putting the information together was of tremendous help.
To my mom who has been a great source of support and assistance and who toiled for many late hours to assist me in putting the information together, I give thanks. To my teacher Mrs. Richardson for her guidance and support throughout this project I express sincere thanks. Rationale African slavery existed for centuries within West Africa before it became prominent in the European colonies. The treatment of African slaves in European colonies was inhumane as they bore hardship from capture to death.
History Sba Essay Example
This was generally accepted in European societies as the slaves were chattel good labourers, and ensured that the Europeans would make a profit on the plantations. However, there were some persons and organizations that were willing to fight valiantly to end the slave trade but there were those who wanted it to continue. This caused a fight to determine if slavery would end or remain. Objective • To establish the possible motive for the slave trade and the enslavement of Africans. • To identify and interpret the views of Europeans at home and in their colonies in relation to the slave trade and African slavery.
To identify the role of abolitionists and how they helped to end the slave trade and slavery. Methodology The topic “What were some of the humanitarian attempts in the fight for the slave trade during the period 1700- 1807? ” was chosen by the writer to sensitize others on the reasons for the slave trade and the work of the abolitionists in their campaign to end slavery. The relevant information would be researched in history books and on the internet. The results of the investigation will be communicated by essay format with pictorial references where possible. Background Information
The enslavement of Africans was very common in the British West Indies during the 1700’s up to 1807. When sugar became the main crop, there was an influx of slaves into the British Caribbean. They were transported to the Caribbean by sea in what was known as ‘The Triangular Trade’. European traders journeyed from Europe to West Africa with manufactured goods. These goods were traded for slaves who were captured mostly through raids after which they were divided into two groups the mackrons (maimed, unhealthy and old) and the healthy. After this was done, the healthy slaves were stored in barracoons before being packed closely on ships.
Over packing ensured a profit even though many slaves died. The first picture of slaves on a ship is a true reflection of how they were packed. It relates the extreme hardship they bore and the helpless state they were in. [pic] Fig: 1 Diagrammatic representation of how the slave ships were packed prior to their journey to the West Indies. Conditions were crowded and unsanitary. The journey from Africa to the West Indies known as ‘The Middle Passage’ took six to eight weeks but depending on the weather could last up to ten weeks. Many slaves lost their lives due to unsanitary conditions, improper feeding methods and cruelty.
Only the fittest survived the journey. Many of them attempted suicide during this time. [pic] Fig: 2 Picture showing crowded condition on a slave ship. Upon arrival in the West Indies, the slaves were groomed in preparation for the sale. The two methods of sale were the auction and scramble methods. This was just another way in which they would be humiliated and their status degraded. [pic] Fig: 3 Picture showing African slaves being auctioned Slaves performed all of the agricultural tasks on the plantations. They were divided into different gangs according to their skill and given different tasks.
They were deprived of many of their rights and were treated horribly yet they worked making the planters rich. Slavery was very beneficial to the British economically. This was suggested in an article at http://www. geocities. com/Athens/Aegean/7023/Caribbean. htm written by Jennifer M. Payne, in Caribbean History of December 12, 1994. It states ‘In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Britain accumulated vast resources of wealth through the production of sugar in its West Indian possessions and its involvement with the trans-Atlantic slave trade’ and ‘Sugar and slavery created the foundation of the first British Empire’.
It is therefore evident that the success of the British West Indian colonies was dependant upon the success of the then highly demanded sugar crop. [pic] Fig: 4 Field slaves working on a sugar plantation The primary motive for slavery in the Caribbean was the need for wealth. Slavery was generally accepted by almost all Europeans particularly those known as protagonists. However there were those who were known as antagonists or humanitarians who hated slavery and made great efforts to end the slave trade and slavery.
These include persons such as Granville Sharpe, William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson as well as organizations like the Quakers and the Clapham Sect among others. They believed in the freedom of man and the rights of the slave. Most of them spent their life fighting to put an end to slavery and the suffering of the slaves who were human. Because of the contrasting views on slavery, there was a struggle between the protagonists and the antagonists to determine the future of slavery. It would prove to be a very long and formidable task for the humanitarians.
Resource Material Slavery in the Caribbean The Europeans were very concerned about their economic status and their overall development. Britain’s interest in the New World went far beyond and increase in their empire but their primary motive was the acquisition of wealth. The English began to exploit the resources of the colonies they had established by means of the production of tobacco and other goods which proved to be a profitable venture as it was reported in the ‘Caribbean Story Book One’, written by Claypole and Robottom “Demand for tobacco soared…There ere great profits to be made from selling tobacco…” Europeans and indentured servants provided the labour for this. The ultimate source of labour was slaves. An increased demand for sugar in Europe to produce jams, biscuits cakes and distilling alcohol, saw sugar replacing tobacco as the main crop. It was therefore necessary to obtain more labour to perform the many tasks associated with sugar production. With this new development, the shipment of slaves from West Africa increased immensely from previous years as they would now be the new source of labour responsible for the production of sugar.
It is therefore necessary to define slavery as it is pertinent to this discourse. Slavery may be formally defined as a social institution defined by law and custom as the most absolute form of involuntary human servitude. The labour or services of slaves were obtained through force; they were regarded as the property of another person and they were entirely subject to their owners will. It provided free labour for the planters who stood to gain economically. This is quite evident in an extract taken from http://www. movinghere. org. uk/galleries/histories/caribbean/origins/slavery2. tm# which reads ‘Slavery was first and foremost an important engine of Britain’s economy, and the most important issue or the slave owners was how to get the largest profit out of the slaves’. The increase in wealth was important to the planters and not the well being of the slaves. This led to neglect and abuse. The social life of the slaves was not important to the planters but the slaves had courage and determination to endure what they had for so long. The social status of the slaves determined how they treated each other and the treatment they would receive form their masters and mistresses.
The divisions of blacks on the estates were domestic slaves, factory or artisian slaves and field or praedial slaves. The hostility and antagonistic behaviour that these groups had for each other led to the division amongst themselves. Domestic slaves received much better treatment than the others did and were closer to the master. They often had the ‘privilege’ of getting the masters leftovers an opportunity the other slaves did not have. The rations given were not sufficient to live on and therefore they have to be dependent on the ground provisions they grew. When punished, it was not as severe as that of the field slaves.
They were forced to work very hard and if the work was not satisfactory, they were punished. Domestic slaves lived in the master’s house while the others slept in a hut of daub, wattle and thatch, their beds being their clothing. The men were given two pants made of osnaburg cloth. This was their only clothing unless they could make their own. The blacks faced constant humiliation and degradation in the society. A life of simplicity and forced obedience to their masters was their legacy, but some women perhaps looking ahead in the future killed their unborn children.
This they thought was better allowing them to suffer at the hands of the masters. The whites constantly reminded them that they were ‘inferior’ and that the slaves should be obedient. The whites flaunted their wealth and prestige in the face of the slaves while they often decreased their rations and failed to take care of old and sick slaves though the police laws stated this. The freedom to beat drums and gather in ceremonies was often suppressed. Disgust from all the unjust forms of treatment mentioned they received, along with a burning desire for freedom fuelled many insurrections against the whites.
Not all were successful but it was a beginning for the slaves who wanted to end their slavery. This they could not achieve on their own but needed help which they would soon receive. Arguments for Slavery The whites reveled in the wealth they had accumulated through the work of the slaves. The writer thinks that the planters may have asked themselves the following questions: ‘Could we possibly end slavery and in doing so end the source of our wealth? What would we gain by doing this? What right do the slaves have to freedom? The assumed answer to all these questions was ‘No we would gain nothing as the slaves are beneath us and we owe them absolutely nothing and most certainly not their freedom. ’ The planters thought they would gain nothing from ending slavery as they knew that the free slave labour was responsible for their economic development and if this ceased their profits would certainly decline and, the stability of their economy would decrease. They were not willing to risk this and so they strongly opposed the work of the abolitionists.
They often failed to employ the suggestions of the abolitionists to improve the slaves’ conditions. The planters objected to the abolition of slavery for many reasons most of which had to do with economic development, but there were other reasons which they presented as arguments against its abolition. The whites felt if the slaves were freed, they would feel that they were equal to them causing the status of the whites in society to decrease. Freeing the slaves would threaten control and their supposed superiority over the slaves.
The whites had economical, political and social reasons for slavery. economical, political This was conveyed in EMANCIPATION TO EMIGRATION by R. Greenwood and S. Hamber which outlines some of the reasons the whites had for their defense of slavery. The book states ‘Successful planters could become the leaders of society economically, politically, socially and culturally’. In the English society, the possession of wealth was a very important issue and with wealth came power. Therefore it was important to have plantations that were dependent on the free labour of slaves.
If a planter had many productive slaves on his plantation, he was recognized as a successful planter. Once this position was achieved, they would gain economically and if they wished, they could rise to power in the political arena and become the elite in society and decide the cultural barriers of society. The enslavement of Africans was very beneficial to the English planters as they gained from the slave labour. This was suggested in an article viewed at www. qub. ac. uk/english/imperial/carib/slavery. htm, which stated “The desire for expansion and trade led to the settlement of colonies.
Slave labour supplied the most coveted and important items in Atlantic and European commerce: the sugar, coffee, cotton and cacoa of the Caribbean”. Another article viewed at http://www. geocities. com/Athens/Agean/7023/Caribbean. html cites the importance of slavery to the English as it said “Sugar and slavery created the foundation of the British Empire”. Sugar made the British economy strive and the industry would not have been possible or as successful without slave labour hence, the planters and most of the British fought for its survival.
Slaves were also cost efficient as they were forced to provide labour without payment. Many English planters perceived this view as was written in the EMANCIPATION TO EMIGRATION which relates “Slavery provided a cheaper labour force than machines or even sometimes than animals as a means of production…” The children of slaves could be made slaves which in the mind of the planters added to their profitability. There was yet another form of profit to be gained by the planters as they could hire out the slaves whom they considered property and thus generate more income.
The escape of an African from slavery was very low as he could easily be detected. The slaves were also reluctant to run away because of the repercussions (maiming etc). The planters also had the advantage where by they could exploit the Africans agricultural skills and knowledge of crops. The system of slavery made it easier for the planters to progress in the political arena. The planters had a strong influence in the government in England giving politics a major role in the maintenance of the defense of slavery. The politicians favoured slavery as they saw it as something that could develop England.
The book ‘Caribbean Story Book One’ by W. Claypole and J Robottom, gives a brief account of how Prime Minister Pitt took back his support for the abolition of slavery. He did this because he hoped to capture St. Domingue for England and to continue sugar production. The abolition of slavery would take away the ability of England gaining more wealth and dominance on the European market. They even offered religious reasons for continuing slavery . The EMANCIPATION TO EMIGRATION by R. Greenwood and S. Hamber records them saying ‘slavery was supported by the scriptures and was not incompatible with Christianity’.
They used this to combat what the abolitionists were saying with regard to slavery not being Christian like behaviour. Arguments against Slavery Slavery was not accepted by all members of society and some decided to do something to end it. These persons were referred to as abolitionists. Abolitionists were humanitarians who were committed to promoting the welfare of mankind. In this case, they worked towards promoting the welfare of the slaves in the English colonies and were credited with helping to end slavery. The anti-slavery movement began in 1787 with a committee of twelve.
These humanitarians were individuals as well as members of organizations. They included Thomas Clarkson, Wilberforce and Granville Sharpe and organizations like the Society of Friends (Quakers) and the Clapman Sect. They worked tirelessly on behalf of the slaves trying to end their plight. They made several arguments against slavery in their campaign to end it. Some of these were “Slavery was contrary to reason, justice, nature, the principles of law and government, the whole doctrine of natural religion and the revealed voice of God”. The slave system was inefficient, wasteful and unproductive.
There were always problems of a high rate of mortality, willful or careless damage, the maintenance of very young and old slaves and ever-rising replacement costs. Both reasons why the abolitionists lobbied for slavery were extracted from the “EMANCIPATION TO EMIGRATION”, written by R. S. Greenwood and S. Hamber. From both quotes it can be seen that the abolitionists maintained that slavery was immoral and not in accordance with God’s word and the law. Slavery succeeded in was endangering the slaves resulting in the loss of their lives. The abolitionists insisted that the freeing of the slaves was the right and Christian thing to do.
The abolitionists thought that slavery was not a beneficial economic factor as the planters stood to lose more than they would gain because of the many uncertainties of slavery. They felt that paid labour would increase productivity and the freed slaves earning a wage would be more motivated and willing to work. Among the abolitionists were persons who either had been involved in the slave trade or had done some research on it. It is thus fair to say that they had an acute knowledge of slavery in the British West Indies. Information was supplied it to the other abolitionists who were campaigning for its end.
This knowledge of slavery in the British West Indies, its cruelty and deprivation only strengthened their passion to fight to end slavery. Their arguments against slavery on economic grounds showed slavery being unprofitable because of the many risks which showed returns being less than they had to invested. It was a waste of capital. Many of the abolitionists’ supporters also argued that industrialization was much more profitable than sugar and if slavery was ended the British economy would grow more. The Work of British Abolitionists The abolitionists were very instrumental in ending slavery.
The most outstanding of these individuals were Thomas Clarkson, William Wilberforce and Granville Sharpe. Another abolitionist involved in the struggle to abolish slavery was Thomas Buxton. Their campaigns took the forms of speeches and pamphlet distribution all geared towards gaining support for the abolition of slavery. Thomas Clarkson was responsible for researching and collecting evidence against the slave trade. The Encyclopedia Americana said “his research contributed substantially to Britain’s abolition of the slave trade and of slavery itself in 1833. Thomas Clarkson was a brilliant researcher cared deeply for the cause of the slaves and worked tirelessly looking for ammunition to end it. He surveyed slave ports, talked to sailors and travelers soliciting support for abolition and promoting it in other countries. He dedicated his entire life to the abolition of slavery. [pic] Thomas Clarkson William Wilberforce was a brilliant speaker and member of the British Parliament. In Parliament, he presented the evidence against the slave trade that was collected by Clarkson.
He used his influence and the evidence to condemn the slave trade and to solicit support to end it. He too spent the rest of his life fighting for this cause as was suggested in the statement “He is best known however, for his untiring commitment to the abolition of slavery and the slave trade” copied at http://www. justus. anglican. org/resources/bio/214. html. These other extracts from http://www. brycchancary. com/abolition/wilberforce2. htm from 1. From ‘Debate on Mr. Wilberforce’s Resolutions respecting the Slave Trade’ in William Corbett, The Parliamentary History of England.
From the Norman Conquest in 1066 to the year 1803, 36 vols (London: T. Curson Hansard, 1806-1820), 28 vols (1789-91), cols 42-68, quotes Wilberforce saying “I shall be able to justify upon the clearest principles, every resolution in my hand, the avowed end of which is the total abolition of the slave trade”. The following also extracted from the same site is testament to his commitment to the abolition of the slave trade as seen through the words “so irremediable did its wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for the abolition.
A trade founded in iniquity and carried on as this was, must be abolished, let the policy be what it might – let the consequences be what they would, I from this time determined that I would never rest till I had effected its abolition”. It portrays his love for the cause and the slaves themselves why he fought with such a passion to right the injustice being carried out against them. These men in particular went to great lengths to collect evidence; finding out precisely how little space was allotted to slaves on the ships and similar details. They began to publish pamphlets to stir public opinion against the trade. pic] William Wilberforce Granville Sharpe was a staunch advocate of the slaves and those who fought to end slavery. He used his legal expertise to challenge the legality of slavery in England. He took on cases such as those of Jonathan Strong and James Somerset for whom he won victories over the masters who had beaten, abandoned and later sold them. In the case of Jonathon Strong, he cared for him after finding him barely alive after being beaten badly by his master. He helped to Strong find employment but he was arrested and imprisoned for two years.
His master ordered his arrest until he could be shipped to Jamaica to the planter he was sold to. This was very upsetting to Sharpe who filed on behalf of Strong who was subsequently set free. However, Sharpe failed to get the verdict that he wanted that is it was illegal for a slave to be bought and sold in England. He got the opportunity to appeal this ruling once again in the case of James Somerset.
Somerset like Strong had been beaten and dismissed by his master and was later seized to be sold. Sharpe took the case to court and got a more favourable verdict stating that it was unknown to the laws of England. pic] [pic] Granville Sharpe Granville Sharpe assisting Jonathan Strong Thomas Buxton was a parliamentarian like Wilberforce and replaced him as the representative for the abolitionist movement in Parliament and he too solicited support for the abolition of slavery. Buxton assumed the leadership of the campaign in Parliament. It was said at http://www. brycchancarey. com/abolition/buxton. htm “He campaigned tirelessly until the passing of the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833 that ended slavery in Britain and its colonies”. [pic]
Thomas Buxton [pic] [pic] [pic] Pictures showing some of the inhumane treatment of slaves on the plantations Results of the work of the Abolitionists The abolitionists got the English colonies to consider putting some amelioration policies in place. These policies were aimed towards the improvement of the slaves’ condition in the colonies. Though most of these were not adhered to, they did help the slaves in some way as they eased some of their restrictions and burdens. Their efforts were rewarded in 1807 when the English parliament passed the Abolition Act with the slave trade to end on January 1 1808.
Analysis and Interpretation From the evidence researched and presented, one can deduce that though there were many reasons why humanitarians fought to abolish the slave trade going against the planters’ economic interest, their fight was not easy. Planters were not concerned with the humanity of the slaves but how much profit they could gain from their forced labour. The pains the slaves endured during the slave trade and slavery on the plantations was the furthest thing from the planters’ mind because they were chattel to be subjected to the planters’ control.
The abolitionists however did not fail to consider the human nature in the slaves and the plight they endured. To them slavery was against the will of God. They also believed that the slave trade was inhumane as a vast of the slaves died on voyage within weeks after landing. The sailors also died and it was a waste of resources. The abolitionists were successful in achieving the abolition of the slave trade because of their persistence in their advocacy of the slaves in an effort to facilitate their freedom.
Their focus was not monetary gain like the planters but in the satisfaction of seeing the slaves set free. In the end, after many years of campaigning and public agitation and denouncing the planters enslavement of the Africans, the abolitionists were victorious effecting the abolition of the slave trade and the emancipation of the slaves.