Why Was Slavery and the Slave Trade Abolished?

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Why were the slave trade and slavery abolished? In 1807, the slave trade was abolished by the British Parliament. It became illegal to buy and sell slaves, but people could still own them. In 1833 Parliament finally abolished slavery itself, both in Britain and throughout the British Empire. Why, when the slave trade and the plantations in the West Indies seemed to be making so much money, were they abolished? It was due to a mixture of white campaigners, slaves and economics of the slave trade which finally brought slavery to an end. In 1765, Granville Sharp helped a black slave called Jonathon Strong who had been abused by his owner and was going to be taken to Jamaica. Jonathon took the case to court and won and then fought for other slaves and stopped them from being sent back to the West Indies. He was also involved in other court cases, such as the case of the slave ship Zong. In 1779, William Wilberforce was also involved with fights for slaves. He was a Member of Parliament and made many speeches in Parliament. Thomas Clarkson was also a member of the group and collected the information concerning conditions aboard slave ships. He used this to persuade people how awful the trade was and soon huge petitions were started. In 1788, petitions were flooding into Parliament by the white working class campaigners in Manchester who sympathised with the slaves. Over 10,000 working class campaigners signed the petition. It was a huge petition, especially considering there was only 75,000 people in Manchester. Lots of big meetings were held about it. Even in 1807, after the slave trade was ended, the campaigns did not stop. They did not just want the slave trade abolished, they wanted slavery to be illegal and abolished completely. Over 1,500,000 people signed the new petition in 1814. This was the biggest petition of the time. In the 18th century lots of the black slaves in Britain thought they were being unfairly treated and asked to be treated like ordinary human beings. Most of them even demanded to be paid a wage. Some of the other slaves decided to run away, or simply refuse to work. This caused some chaos in the industries. The slave owners would then go to the court, in hope to get their slaves back, but the legal system in Britain meant that all the laws surrounding slavery were unclear.

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