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The Abolition of slavery

The reasons why slavery was abolished in 1833.

There are many different reasons why slavery was abolished. Some of the reasons were economic; some were the actions of the black slaves; some were the actions of white working class people, and some were the actions of the white middle class people. I will explain how each of these things contributed to the abolition of slavery in 1833.

First I will explain the economic reasons for the end of slavery. During the 1770s the West Indies became less important for producing sugar. In 1771, 2728 slaves were imported, but in 1772, no slaves were imported anymore. This was because Cuba and Brazil started to produce cheaper sugar. The workers on those plantations were being paid for the work that they did, this meant that they worked harder because there was something in it for them. If Britain could buy sugar somewhere else for less money she would.

The second reason slavery was abolished were the actions of the black people on the plantations. Many slaves went on strike or demanded wages for their work. The slaves would burn down the crops and houses of their owners, and some ran away. An example of this is when in 1791 the slaves of St Domingue fought back. They killed the white plantation owners and set fire to the fields. French and English troops tried to stop the revolt but they failed.

Some ex-slaves in England also helped to end slavery, they wrote stories of their life on the plantations, these were then read and they made people see how awful the treatment of the slaves was. One of these people was Olaudah Equino, he wrote books and gave speeches about slavery. This is why black people’s actions helped to end slavery, if the slaves kept burning down the fields and buildings, you would be losing money, not making it.

The third reason for the abolition of slavery were the actions of white working class people. In 1788 petitions to end slavery were coming into parliament, they were signed by the working class people of Britain. In 1788, in Manchester 10,000 people signed one of these petitions. Then in 1792 there was another petition, this time signed by 20,000 people of Manchester.

When the slave trade was ended in 1807, people continued campaigning to make slavery completely illegal and free all the slaves. By 1814 over 1,500,000 people had signed a petition. These petitions were putting pressure on parliament to end slavery. This is why the actions of white working class people helped to end slavery.

The final reason for the abolition of slavery were the actions of white middle class people in Britain. Some middle class campaigners were Granville Sharp and William Wilberforce. Granville Sharp helped black slaves get freedom. In 1765 Granville Sharp saw a black man with his head swollen and he could hardly walk. The black man was called Jonathan Strong; he had been beaten so he had run away. Sharp took Jonathan to a local hospital were he recovered. Jonathan started working for Sharp but one day his old master caught him and was going to take him back to Jamaica. Granville Sharp took the case to court; he then won the case to save Jonathan.

A group of people who were against slavery started fighting for the abolition of slavery. William Wilberforce is the most remembered member. William was an MP and made many speeches against slavery in parliament. There were also other MPs that would make speeches; people were starting to notice how terrible slavery was.

I think that all the reasons had a part to play in abolishing slavery, but I think the main reasons were the economic ones. If you could buy cheaper sugar somewhere else you would. Plus the fact that the slaves were rebelling and losing the plantation owners even more money. In the end the plantation owners were losing a lot of money. This is what I think caused the abolition of slavery in 1833.

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