How great a role did the abolitionists play in ending slavery in the British West Indies in 1834?

Topics: Slavery, British Empire, Atlantic slave trade Pages: 3 (1146 words) Published: April 3, 2014
How great a role did the abolitionists play in ending slavery in the British West Indies in 1834? The abolitionists played a very vital role in the abolition of the slave trade and the abolition of slavery itself. The movement to end slavery began in 1823 with the formation of the Society for Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of Slavery and the efforts continued with the Agency Committee formed in 1831.There were other mitigating circumstances which also favored the abolitionists such as the Reform Act, the economic decline of West India sugar, social unrest of the slaves and the Industrial revolution. All these factors contributed to the gradual ending of slavery in the British West Indies. They were also aware of the huge commercial and economic power of the Caribbean planter interest. By the 1820’s it was obvious that slavery was still well established in the Caribbean. Facing this reality, the old members of the abolitionist society met in 1823 and formed the London Society for Mitigating and Gradually Abolition of Slavery. Thomas Clarkson, a member travelled ten thousand miles trying to get support and to encourage the formation of local organizations. His efforts resulted in the formation of two hundred and thirty local organizations. The main strategy was the preparation of petitions and by 1824 seven hundred and seventy seven petitions was sent to Parliament calling for the total abolition of slavery. Parliament’s response was limited choosing to focus on the improvement of the slaves’ lives by setting forth the Amelioration proposals. The responsibility for implementing the proposals was given to the colonial assemblies but little or nothing was actually done.

Many Christians complained of being abused by the plantocracy and the continuous bad treatment of the slaves. The slaves believed that the Amelioration Proposals meant freedom and this rumor caused an uproar amongst the slaves who wanted to take action against the planters for withholding their...

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