Why Was Slavery Abolished?

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In the 17th and early 18th century slavery was a common factor in life; slaves were often sold and used throughout Britain and the World. However, in 1807 the slave trade was abolished by the British Parliament, this meant you could still own a slave but it was illegal to buy or sell them. Finally, after much debate, in 1833 Parliament decided to abolish slavery itself both in Britain and the British Empire. Many historians still disagree on the real reason on why slavery was abolished and I am going to take a look at the evidence which suggests a range of factors that may have been important.

Until recently it was believed that white campaigners in England had brought an end to slavery, most in the higher classes. These people like Granville Sharp or William Wilberforce, both became well-known for their campaigning against slavery. Sharp’s opinion changed when he saw Jonathon Strong, a young slave brought to Britain and beaten by his owner. He had run away and had injuries such as a swollen head, nearly blind and could hardly walk. Granville Sharp helped this boy but he was later seen by his owner and captured, he was at threat of being sent back to Jamaica. However, Sharp fought in court and won the case which meant the boy was freed. After this Granville Sharp carried on and fought many of these cases on behalf of black people and won most of them. Sharp was one of the first and greatest campaigners but did not manage to abolish the slave trade but still was able to turn the public’s opinion against slavery. William Wilberforce was one of the many Quaker’s who believed slavery was sinful and against Christian teachings. In 1797 twelve men formed a group to fight for abolition of slavery. Wilberforce was the best-known and was an MP who made speeches in Parliament against the slave trade and presented the huge petitions that had been collected. It was said to be these campaigners who finally had success in 1807. These middle-class campaigners and many...
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