How and why was the Trans- Atlantic slave trade abolished?
How? Out of the Underground Railroad and other movements to help escaped slaves grew a wider abolition movement This movement grew in force during the late 18 th Century and the first few years of the 1800’s. Finally abolished in the British Empire March 25 th 1807 But it was only the slave trade that was abolished in the British Empire, not slavery itself. Slavery in the British Empire abolished in 1833. However outside the British Empire it continued, the last country to officially ban slavery in law was Mauritania in 1980! Today slavery still exists: even though it is banned in every country by law.
Why? – Some quick background You have to try and imagine the rapidly changing situation in the late 18 th Century. The ‘Enlightenment’ is coming to life across Europe.
The Enlightenment – what was it and how could it have contributed to the abolition of slavery? Background taken from: http://demo.lutherproductions.com/historytutor/basic/modern/stories/images/enlightenment.jpg
The Enlightenment was all about thinking. So who were these ‘thinkers’? “Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.” http://perso.orange.fr/dboudin/Rousseau/rousseau.jpg J Rousseau
“A hereditary ruler is as absurd an idea as a hereditary mathematician.” www.billofrightsinstitute.org/.../ paine.jpg Thomas Paine
This man: Experienced a life of poverty as a child and grew up surrounded by simple farmers and uneducated people Left school at 12! Failed in his first job as a corset maker at 13! Got fired twice from another job! Went on to write the 3 best selling pieces of writing in the 18 th Century!
The Enlightenment The 18th century philosophical movement which stressed the importance of reason and criticized the existing customs and traditions www.saburchill.com/history/hist003.html
The Enlightenment was making people think in a different way! But the Enlightenment alone does not explain the abolition of slavery. To understand why this happened we need to look at many sources and investigate many different factors: its complicated!
For each source: At least one question for each of the 5 W’s. Does the source suggest any possible factor that could have made the abolition of the slave trade more likely? One member of the group must be prepared to feedback the group’s questions and points to the class.
Source 1: Court records from Dominica, a British colony in the Leeward Islands, January 1814
Toussaint L'Ouverture, the Haitian revolutionary and statesman who defeated both the British and French armies
Thomas Clarkson's chest of African produce and manufactured articles. He used these to demonstrate that there were many possibilities for trade between Europe and Africa after the abolition of the slave trade
Some argue that the profitability of slavery was reducing by the early 19 th Century. Frequent slave revolts and rebellions in the colonies. Toussaint Louverture led a war that defeated the French & British and formed the first free former slave country: Haiti. Black former slaves such as Olaudah Equiano campaigned and told the public about their experiences. William Wilberforce helped form the Society for the abolition of the slave trade in Britain. 9 out of the 12 original members of the Society for the abolition of the slave trade were white Quakers. In Britain there were mass boycotts of slave produced products such as sugar by ordinary people. Ordinary people in Britain signed petitions and joined the campaign to abolish slavery Religious figures started speaking out against slavery The Underground Railroad helped 1000’s of slaves escape and they told people of their suffering. Many women campaigned against the slave trade.
Abolition across the world France: abolished in 1794, but brought back in 1802, then abolished again in 1848 USA: 13 th Amendment in 1865 officially abolishes slavery Portugal 1869 Netherlands 1863 Today every country in the world has officially abolished slavery: yet it still exists! The abolition of slavery wasn’t the end of the struggle for equality – it was the beginning!