In the 17th century, Europeans began to establish settlements in the Americas. Slaves were in the fields form sunrise to sunset and at harvest time they did 18 hours for day. Crops were grown on these plantations such as tobacco, rice, sugar cane and cotton.
Slave – markets were established in Philadelphia, Richmond, Charleston and New Orleans. The death toll amongst slaves was very high.
Women worked the same hours as the men and the pregnant women were expected to continue until their child was born. So plantation owners encouraged the slaves to have children. Women started around the age of 13, and by 20 the women slaves would have 4 o 5 children. To encouraged child-bearing, some slave owners promised women slaves their freedom after they had produced 15 children.
The majority was agree with the slavery because it was good for their economy, but also there were people who were against. Here there is some British abolitionists:
In Britain, many people attended meetings organized by abolitionist groups, signed petitions calling for the end to the slave trade. They wore anti-slavery badges, and refused to buy products from Caribbean or North American colonies where slave labor was used. At this time, a few of people could vote but thousands of ordinary men and women expressed their hostility to the slave trade even when their jobs depended of slave trade.
Granville Sharp lived in London. He had strong views on many topics including support for the reform of Parliament and the abolition of the slave trade. Thomas Lewis was another ex-slave who was kidnapped because his former owner wanted to return him to his life as a slave. Sharp received permission from the Lord Mayor of London and three judges to board the ship Lewis had been held on and to free him. Next, Sharp went to court to persuade the judge to declare that no one could be a slave in England. This case was not successful as the judge, Lord Mansfield, did not say that slavery in England was either legal or illegal. He helped many former slaves to receive their freedom.
William Wilberforce was a wealthy young man and at 21 became MP for Hull. In 1789 Wilberforce made his first speech in Parliament on the subject of ending the slave trade. Two years later Wilberforce introduced a Bill in Parliament to abolish the slave trade. Every year, Wilberforce introduced a Bill to abolish the slave trade. In 1807 Wilberforce’s Bill was passed by both Houses of Parliament. 114 MPs had voted for the Bill and only 15 against. The Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade made the slave trade illegal throughout the British Empire.
Clarkson was one of the first British abolitionists, helping to form the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade with Granville Sharp. Clarkson and Sharp persuaded William Wilberforce to join the campaign. Clarkson was the Society’s chief researcher and evidence-gatherer in its struggle to abolish the Slave Trade. Clarkson was a brave man on a dangerous mission. Merchants and ship captains did not want their profitable trade to become illegal and attempt with his life. He can escape. In 1807 Parliament passed a law that declared the transporting of slaves illegal throughout the British Empire, although the ownership of slaves would continue for a further 26 years.
He is a son of a Scottish minister. Through his brother-in-law Thomas Babington, a colleague of William Wilberforce, he became a member of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Macaulay’s experiences in Jamaica had made him a committed opponent of slavery and the slave trade. In 1794 he took the post of Governor of the Sierra Leone colony established in 1788 for freed slaves in West Africa. He was a founder member of the Society for the Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of Slavery, later called the Anti-Slavery Society, in 1823. He was editor of the Anti-Slavery Reporter. He died in London in 1838 and a memorial to him was placed in Westminster Abbey.
Thomas Fowell Buxton was born in Essex in 1786. In 1818 Buxton was elected MP for Weymouth. After William Wilberforce retired, Buxton carried on the struggle and became leader of the anti-slavery campaign in Parliament. In 1833 the Slavery Abolition Act that freed all slaves in the British Empire was passed. In 1838 Buxton published The African Slave Trade and Its Remedy. In this book he told the British government to make treaties with rulers in Africa. The government accepted Buxton's plan and in 1841 an expedition was sent to the Niger River Delta. The plan failed chiefly due to the large number of deaths among the expedition members caused by yellow fever and malaria.