Was William Wilberforce the Most Important Reason for the Abolition of the Slave Trade in 1807 and Slavery in 1823

Topics: Slavery, British Empire, Abolitionism Pages: 3 (977 words) Published: January 19, 2012
William Wilberforce is the name that most people in Britain immediately associate with the fight against slavery. Although he favoured a more cautious and gradual eradication of slavery, he was a key representative of the anti-slave trade forces. Gracious, witty, and devoutly religious. Wilberforce has become a convenient national hero, with 20,000 people attending a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of his death. His house has been turned into a museum and his larger-than-life statue has a prominent place in Westminster Abbey. This demonstrates that he had a big influence on the people around him at the time. Wilberforce certainly deserves some credit for the banning of the British slave trade in 1807 and the act that emancipated Britain's slaves that was finally passed in 1833. His charm, personal kindness, reputation for integrity and deep conservatism on most issues gave him influence with his fellow MPs that few others in parliament had. But was the abolition of the slave trade and slavery primarily the work of this likeable, saintly man and his circle of similarly religious friends? Today, most historians see the long struggle to end the slave trade as much more complex and unruly than simply being the work of Wilberforce alone. Many people played an important part of the abolition of slavery the white middle class campaigners. Granville Sharp was a great campaigner against slavery. He took in a badly beaten slave and nursed him until he was fit and well but then his old master saw him and captured him wear he was to be shipped away to Jamaica as a slave. Granville Sharp took the slaves master to court and the judge the Lord Mayor of London said that he had not stolen anything so shouldn’t be made to go away. Sharp fought for many black people in court and saved many of them. Sharp didn’t manage to get slavery abolished but he started the campaign against slavery. His court cases raised a lot of awareness in the public eyes and this could have made...
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