Was William Wilberforce the Most Important Reason for the Abolition of the Slave Trade in 1807 and Slavery in 1823

973 Words Jan 28th, 2012 4 Pages
William Wilberforce is the name that most people in Britain immediately associate with the fight against slavery. Although he favoured a more cautious and gradual eradication of slavery, he was a key representative of the anti-slave trade forces. Gracious, witty, and devoutly religious. Wilberforce has become a convenient national hero, with 20,000 people attending a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of his death. His house has been turned into a museum and his larger-than-life statue has a prominent place in Westminster Abbey. This demonstrates that he had a big influence on the people around him at the time.
Wilberforce certainly deserves some credit for the banning of the British slave trade in 1807 and the act that emancipated
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It was not only the white middle class campaigners who tried to abolish slavery the working class campaigned. In 1788 many petitions were sent to parliament demanding that the slave trade should be stopped. The petitions were sent from working class people from all over Britain. In the year 1788 10,000 working class people signed a petition; in 1792 support doubled to 20,000 people (there are 75,000 people in Manchester. The working class people thought that slavery was wrong as it was a trade of human blood and that when Negroes were put in slavery it took away there dignity and pride, also they thought it was cruel to take them from there home (many slave campaigners rich or poor felt the same way). Big meetings were held wear slave campaigners could exchange ideas on how to get slavery abolished. In 1807 when the slave trade was finally abolished the petitions did not stop there aim was to make slavery illegal and also they wanted the existing slaves still in slavery to be freed. I think the working class people did not raise as much awareness in the public than the middle-class they concentrated mostly on Parliament and the MP’s.

Black people also rebelled against the slave trade. They wanted to be treated like normal servants and to earn a wage for there work. Many black people refused to be slaves and ran away. When slave owners went to court to get them back the legal position of slavery in Britain wasn’t clear. People knew that slaves could be kept

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