Global Christianity

End of the Slave Trade (1807)
and Slavery (1833) in the British Empire

Global Christianity

Humanitarian reforms brought about by Christian political activists in England.

William Wilberforce worked to abolish
the slave trade in the British Empire

The slave trade was deeply embedded in the economies of England, the Americas, and much of Europe; many merchants, ship owners, bankers, and politicians feared an economic collapse if the slave trade were abolished. But others, particularly eyewitnesses of the slave trade, were so appalled that they resolved to put a stop to it. Leading this crusade was William Wilberforce (1759-1833), a Member of Parliament whose evangelical convictions made him an exemplar of humanitarianism. Wilberforce and a cadre of like-minded reformers worked tirelessly to raise public awareness of the cruelties of the trade and to pressure Parliament for reforms. After years of setbacks and defeats, the slave trade was abolished in the British Empire in 1807. It took 26 more years of agitation to abolish slavery within the British Empire. In the U.S., the movement to end slavery, abolitionism, also involved many Christian activists.

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