Another important reason that helps to show why the slave trade was ended in 1807 was because of the actions of black people themselves, both slave and non-slave. Their actions were important because they drew attention to how slaves were being treated. This had the effect of influencing public opinion as well as encouraging white middle class campaigners, such as William Wilberforce and black campaigners, such as Olaudah Equiano to continue their fight for change. This meant that by 1807, Parliament was under increasing pressure to abolish the trade. Some former slaves who had run away also eventually helped to end slavery. They wrote stories of their life on plantations which were soon read. For instance, Olaudah Equiano published a book in 1789, about his life story as a slave. This turned many people against slavery, as he described, first-hand, the brutal way he was treated. Furthermore, many slaves went on strike and demanded wages for their work; The slaves would burn down the crops and many houses of their owners. Many slaves also killed white plantation owners and set fire to the fields. Soon, French and English troops attempted to stop the revolts but failed in the process of doing so. The actions of black people, although necessary, could not change the law, but still had an important role because the actions of the slaves which involved burning down the farms and plantations made many owners soon realise that they were losing money rather than actually earning it.
It is also very important not to forget the role played by politics and economics in the eventual abolition. Changes to economic thinking also contributed to the ending of the slave trade throughout the British Empire because the cost of slaves increased as fewer became available from Africa. Also the price of sugar declined as production grew, so this meant that the profits for the plantation owners were decreasing. For instance, in 1771, 2728 slaves were imported into Barbados, but by 1772, none were sold. Also William Beckford, a poet and travel writer, commented in 1790 that, "without slaves crops would decline as would the population." This shows that the slave trade was becoming increasingly unsustainable and less profitable. As well as this, the idea that slaves were bad for the economy was also starting to emerge. Millions of freed slaves, it was argued, would ‘’benefit the general economy as well as the employer’’. The influential economics writer, Adam Smith, in his book 'The Wealth of Nations' pointed out that ‘‘slavery hindered, rather than helped wealth creation as slaves are unused consumers. If free they could buy goods and so help the wider economy prospers and employees, through new sales of goods to millions of new consumers’’. However the role of economies was also related to the roles of ordinary people and their petitioning. This was because they could put extra pressure on the politicians, who could not so easily ignore the demands of the mass of people. For example, in 1788 petitions began to flood into parliament calling for abolition. In Manchester in 1788 over 100,000 people signed a petition. In 1792, this figure grew to 200,000 petitioners. Many meetings were held, with huge numbers of people gathering to hear abolitionist speakers and campaigners. Indeed, even when the slave trade was abolished in 1807, the campaigning of ordinary people continued, in an effort to end slavery. For example, in 1814 more than 1.5 million people signed petitions to get slavery banned throughout the British Empire. The actions of ordinary people were so important that their efforts gave further weight and credibility to the wider abolitionist campaigning of Clarkson, Sharp and Wilberforce in London.
In conclusion, it seems clear that what really abolished the slave trade throughout the British Empire in 1807 was the interaction of a wide variety of factors. On their own, each factor could not have brought about the major change that occurred in 1807. However, on balance, it is still possible to argue that what really changed the law was the action of white, middle class campaigners, mainly because they were able to co-ordinate the protests and national campaigning. Without the government, together with the help of black people, ordinary members of the public in their millions, the economic arguments and the influence of new ideas, abolition would have been a more difficult issue to resolve.