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How important was the Evangelical Movement to the success of the anti-slavery campaign in the years 1800 - 1833?

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The Evangelical Movement comprised several leading figures - Thomas Clarkson, Granville Sharp and William Wilberforce - united in the fight to abolish the slave trade. Brought together by their strong Christian beliefs, their attack on slavery was based on three main principals. Benevolence (treat your neighbour in the same way you yourself would wish to be treated), progressive revelation (when God's providence is revealed it would bring war and destruction to nations who have acted immorally) and Salvation (those involved in slavery could not be spared on the Day of Judgement). The individuals in the Evangelical Movement certainly had a role to play in the anti-slavery campaign but there were also many other factors involved in its success, especially after 1807. Firstly, Thomas Clarkson's prize winning essay "...Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species, Particularly the African...", published in English in 1786, attracted a lot of attention and enabled him to meet other abolitionists, including Granville Sharp. Together they were instrumental in forming the Committee for the Abolition of the African Slave Trade in 1787. ...read more.


What Sharp achieved by bringing the Somerset case to public attention is set a milestone in the legal rights of Africans and create a powerful argument for the anti-slavery movement. Nonetheless, perhaps the most important person in the Evangelic Movement was MP William Wilberforce. After being convinced to join the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, he fought diligently, heading the parliamentary campaign for abolition for 26 years, until the Slave Trade Act of 1807 finally abolished it. Wilberforce's significance lies in that he was an MP. Unlike other campaigners, he could directly introduce motions into parliament and make speeches (he was an excellent speaker) to persuade the House of Commons to vote in the anti-slavery campaign's favour. He also had a model of The Brookes made, showing that he tried several methods to increase awareness. Even though he was initially opposed to the immediate emancipation of the slaves, without his work and commitment to the cause it wouldn't have been as successful. Though there are also other factors to consider when considering the Evangelical Movement's overall significance. ...read more.


Unsurprisingly, it initially seemed to have failed, with 200 slaves killed and Samuel Sharpe executed. Nevertheless, it led to the government setting up two inquiries, the results of which, combined with the input of William Knibb (Jamaican missionary and Baptist minister who gave a detailed eyewitness account) greatly helped the anti-slavery campaign. Simply put, the government realised it could not afford the loss of any human lives, that it would not be safe for anyone in the Caribbean unless slavery was abolished. In conclusion, while not the only positive factor, the Evangelical Movement was vital to the success of the anti-slavery campaign up until 1807, with several Evangelicals making enormous contributions to both raising public awareness and getting the issue into parliament. After 1807, although Wilberforce was still important and made several contributions, the Evangelical Movement's significance decreased as other things came into play, namely grass-roots activism from women and slaves' own efforts in the form of riots. It was these that finally convinced parliament to abolish slavery in 1833. ?? ?? ?? ?? How important was the Evangelical Movement to the success of the anti-slavery campaign in the years 1800 - 1833? ...read more.

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