The Shift Towards Complete Abolition of Slavery in the British Empire

TLDR The abolitionist movement in the British Empire shifted towards advocating for the complete abolition of slavery, rather than just the abolition of the slave trade. This shift was fueled by factors such as the expansion of slave colonies, persecution of anti-slavery activists, boycotts of slave-grown sugar, political opportunities, and the recognition of slaves as fellow human beings.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The second part of the podcast episode discusses the shift in the abolitionist movement towards advocating for the complete abolition of slavery, rather than just the abolition of the slave trade.
04:40 The British Empire has expanded its slave colonies in South America, including Demerara (now Guyana) and Mauritius, and the slavers, resistant for economic reasons, are supported by the London Society of West India Planters, led by Charles Rose Ellis, who is best friends with influential politician George Canning, and while the abolitionists initially advocate for gradual emancipation, Canning's support for amelioration gives them hope for progress.
08:57 The West Indian planters themselves are drafting the resolutions that the government will adopt, and the London Society of West Indian planters, which includes about 100 MPs, is a powerful interest group that lobbies and influences the conservative press.
13:16 A Methodist preacher in Barbados, Shrewsbury, faces persecution and is chased off the island by a pro-slavery Anglican mob, becoming a martyr for the anti-slavery cause and reinforcing the belief that action against slavery should be taken quickly.
17:38 Elizabeth Hadrick, a kick-ass woman and Quaker, organizes a widespread boycott of slave-grown sugar as a means to hurt the West Indians economically and promote the consumption of sugar from other colonial territories cultivated by nominally free workers.
22:21 William Wilberforce calls for a royal commission to investigate slavery, which should have been a turning point in the abolitionist movement, but the report is heavily influenced by a pro-slavery character and the political context is not favorable, until the issue of Catholic emancipation splits the Tories and creates an opportunity for the Whigs to support emancipation.
26:46 The abolitionist movement gains momentum as the West Indies profits decline and the Duke of Wellington, a strong supporter of slavery, loses power, leading to the formation of the Anti-Slavery Agency Society and increased support for immediate emancipation.
31:12 The rebellion led by Sam Sharp in Jamaica in 1832, and the violent response from the pro-slavery colonial church union, highlights the growing recognition in Britain of slaves as fellow human beings with shared values, and the concern in Parliament about losing control over the colonies.
35:48 London realizes that if slavery persists in Jamaica, they may lose the colonies altogether due to the larger slave population, leading to the need for reform and negotiations with the white interests for an indemnity of 20 million pounds.
40:28 The British government negotiates a 20 million pound indemnity and the apprenticeship system in order to pass the emancipation of slaves through Parliament.
44:38 The apprenticeship system that followed the abolition of slavery was essentially slavery in all but name, with enslaved Africans forced to continue working for the same masters on the same plantations, and it wasn't until August 1, 1838 that slavery in all of its residual forms was properly abolished.
Categories: History

The Shift Towards Complete Abolition of Slavery in the British Empire

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