Atlantic Slave Trade - abolitionists

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Atlantic Slave Trade - abolitionists

  1. 1. Many people in Britain and elsewhere were opposed to the slave trade, for lots of different reasons. Over the years they campaigned against the trade, using many different methods to do so.
  2. 2. The 1781 case of the slave ship Zong inspired many to campaign against slavery. The ship’s captain threw more than 100 slaves into the sea so he could claim insurance money on them. The publicity this caused made people aware of slavery.
  3. 3. There were many different arguments used against the slave trade. These focused on moral and economic arguments and helped the campaign win many supporters.
  4. 4. Moral arguments Abolitionists argued that it was completely wrong to own and control another human being. Religious groups opposed the trade on the grounds that it was against God’s will.
  5. 5. Other people argued that the slave trade caused wars in Africa, making Britain responsible for this. Others said that the cruel conditions of slavery and the Middle Passage meant the trade should be abolished.
  6. 6. Economic arguments Others preferred to focus on economic arguments, hoping to persuade people this way. One point argued was that the slave trade cost jobs in Britain, as slaves were doing work which Britons should be paid for.
  7. 7. Others (such as Adam Smith) said slavery was more expensive than paying people, because slaves worked less well. Some said that as Britain had better trade with other parts of the world it was possible to get goods from elsewhere at a cheaper price.
  8. 8. Anti-slavery campaigners used many different tactics to win support for their cause. Anti-slavery groups were set up. Books, newspapers, pamphlets and leaflets were produced arguing against the trade.
  9. 9. Public meetings were held across the country too, including former slaves as speakers. Religious groups spoke out against the trade, both at religious services and other special meetings too.
  10. 10. A campaign was set up to persuade people to boycott (refuse to buy) sugar produced by slaves. Some MPs – especially William Wilberforce – spoke out against slavery and tried to introduce laws against it.
  11. 11. Josiah Wedgewood, founder of the famous Wedgewood pottery company, was a slave abolitionist. His company produced a medallion titled ‘Am I not a man and a brother?’ which became a very popular design.
  12. 12. Former slaves played a key role in the abolitionist campaign too, setting up a campaign group called the Sons of Africa. People such as Ottobah Cugoano and Olaudah Equiano wrote books and spoke against the trade.
  13. 13. Some anti-slavery campaigners brought to court legal challenges against the slave trade. People such as Granville Sharp helped some slaves be granted their freedom after being kidnapped or attacked by their owners.
  14. 14. Thomas Clarkson famously took part in a tour of British slave ports to gather evidence of the slave trade. This included speaking to sailors, describing conditions on the slave ships and also collecting items such as shackles and branding irons.
  15. 15. William Wilberforce Wilberforce was an MP who campaigned for 20 years against the slave trade. He regularly gave speeches and proposed anti-slavery laws in Parliament.
  16. 16. Thomas Clarkson Clarkson was a Quaker. He helped found the campaign group ‘The Society for Affecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade’. He toured British slave ports collecting evidence of slave trade to show horrors.
  17. 17. Olaudah Equiano Equiano was a former slave. He managed to buy his freedom and then set up an anti-slavery group. He also wrote books and spoke at public meetings.
  18. 18. John Newton Newton was a former slave ship captain. He wrote a book about the evils of the slave trade and spoke at public meetings. He famously wrote the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’.
  19. 19. Hannah More More was a teacher who became a writer. During this time she met many people involved in the anti-slavery movement and became an active member too.
  20. 20. Granville Sharp Sharp was involved in setting up an anti-slavery campaign after meeting a former slave. A number of legal challenges to the slave trade were organised by Sharp, helping some slaves get freedom.

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