Granville Sharp was as lawyer who won the cases of escaped slaves- Jonathan Strong (1765)
and James Someset (1771). Owners now had rights over the slave only if the slave had agreed
in writing and they could not force a slave to return to a foreign country- Africans now had
rights in Britain.
Thomas Clarkson interviewed 20,000 sailors and collected equipment used on the slave-
ships such as : Iron cuffs, Leg shackles, Thumbscrews , Jaw openers and Branding Irons.
He spoke at public meetings and produced pamphlets and books showing the cruelty of
the slave trade.
William Wilberforce led the campaign in
parliament. In 1787 he introduced a Bill to abolish
the slave trade. It was thrown out, but in 1792
MPs agreed to abolition. However the war with
France saved the slave trade. Wilberforce
introduced an abolition Bill every year and in 1807
All of these Abolitionists belong to the Quakers , which was created in 1783.
Arguments against the Slave Trade
Moral- It was immoral and against the Bible and God's will to
use other human beings as slaves.
The trade caused cruelty, suffering and
thousands of deaths.
Slaves were treated very badly during the horrific
middle passage and many died.
American and French revolutionaries had many writers argued
all humans had a right to be free.
Some opponents believed that if the slave
trade stopped, all slavery would soon end.
Economic- By 1807 British industry had new markets and
he slave trade was not so important.
Sugar from Brazil and India was cheaper than
slave produced sugar from the West Indies.
During the war against France, Britain gained more islands in the
Caribbean and plantation owners, did not want competition from
Abolition of the slave trade gave the British navy an
excuse tp stop ships from other countries and confiscate
their cargoes and the ships.
The high death rate of slave led to a big fall in
population on slave islands compared to areas
where Africans where free.
The more ships that Britain got meant more trade for the empire
Military- Napoleon's efforts to
restore slavery in the french
islands meant that the
abolitionist campaign would
help to undermine Napoleon's
plans for the Caribbean.
The Act banning any slave trade was
intended to attack French ability to
The slave trade had a negative impact on British sea power
especially high death rate amongst sailors
The effects of slave resistance-
Successful slave rebellion in
Saint-Domingue led to an
exaggerated, general fear of slave
There was an argument that if
conditions were not eased, the abolition
of the trade, further revolts would
Already on Jamaica a substantial
number of runaways lived outside the
control of authorities. (FEAR)
The religious revival- The religious revival of the late eighteenth
century was at the heart of the anti-slavery movement.
Many of the early leaders particularly were Quakers.
Role of people like John Newton: Ex slave ship captain
and now clergyman.
In 1781 Captain Collingwood of the slave ship the Zong,
threw more that 100 slaves overboard and tried to claim
The court case, which followed, was reported in
newspapers and brought the slave trade into
In 1787 other religious groups opposed to slavery came together
to form the SOCIETY FOR THE ABOLITION OF THE SLAVE TRADE.
They set up branches all over Britain and organised the
first, and one of the most successful, public campaigns in
The abolitionist opposed the whole idea of slavery but recognised that the
government would not interfere with the property rights of slave owners
and that it would cost them too muc to compensate them for loss of their
They believed that if they could persuade Parliament to abolish the
trade in slaves this would eventually lead to the end of slavery and that
slave owners would treat their slaves better because they would
become more valuable.