25 September 2009
William Wilberforce and the Anti-Slave Trade Movement
William Wilberforce was by far one of the greatest pioneers in the anti-slave trade movement of the late 1700s to early 1800s that led to the passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807. This act was the greatest achievement of Wilberforce’s political career that lasted for over three decades as he continually persevered to promote the abolition of slave trade. Wilberforce and his many allies faced a number of disappointments and extreme opposition that led to public bereavement and jeering at their expense. There were times that things were so difficult and quite unbearable that Wilberforce questioned his purpose and his task and wanted to give up to pursue other endeavors. Despite all of the opposition and the doubts, Wilberforce held true to his beliefs and used his courage and determination to continue to fight for what he believed was right, up until his untimely death.
William Wilberforce was born on August 24, 1759 and grew up in Kingston upon Hill, Yorkshire. When he became of age, he was sent to St. Johns College in Cambridge to earn his education, but he typically spent his time going out late and night and skipping his classes the next morning. Wilberforce always had strong ambitions to become involved in the politics of the time, so he ran for office in Parliament and was elected to a seat in 1780. Here, he became very close friends with William Pitt who would later become the Prime Minister of England. Besides being elected to office there was very little accomplished during this time period that held any major significance in Wilberforce’s life. He even entered a state of mild depression and began questioning his life and his purpose in it before eventually experiencing a spiritual rebirth around 1785. At this point he became a stout Christian Evangelist and worked to improve the quality of life around him and was determined...