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Slavery Essay

1481 words - 6 pages

This essay will also argue other factors played equally an important role in British abolitionist movement and subsequent emancipation in 1833. Later, this essay will look into the importance of Christian missionaries and how they indirectly brought about the Jamaican rebellion. However, it will be acknowledged this did have an impact on the emancipation movement in Britain, but the importance of religion was far greater in Jamaica. Therefore, this essay is in two parts. Part 1 will be discussing the influences of the French Enlightenment, the economic theory of Adam Smith and the Great Reform Act. Later, part 2 will discussing how Sam Sharpe used religious beliefs to great effect to start the Jamaican rebellion. Finally, part 2 will discuss how the education of slaves was important in bringing about the Jamaican rebellion.

When looking the Abolitionist movement in Britain is important to recognise the influence of the ideas of the French Enlightenment. It is clear some members of the British Parliament voted in favour of the Bill for religious and moral reasons in 1807. One such person was the duke of Gloucester who was quoted to have made his decision on the grounds of religion but also grounds of humanity (…). This is motivations seemed to have been shared by William Wilberforce, the leading figure of the Abolitionist movement in 1807. Even though Wilberforce did not express desire to emancipate slaves, one of the aims of the main aims of the bill was to ensure sense of duty of care towards the slaves in British Caribbean colonies. Wilberforce appears to have been portrayed accurately in the Television programme The Slavery Business: Breaking the Chains, which based on documentary evidence. In this programme, Wilberforce presents the 1807 Bill to Parliament as ‘nothing less than an honour to humanity’ (…).Both Wilberforce and duke of Gloucester seem to have been influenced by the French Enlightenment. The foundation of the French Enlightenment was based on the text Encyclopédie, which included an article on the slave trade. This test points out: the slave trade ‘violates religion, ethics, the law of nature and all rights of human nature’ Although religion was one the one of the reasons 1807 bill, it could be argued by expressing the ideas of the French enlightenment Wilberforce and duke of Gloucester saw human rights as another big reason for abolition. In essence, as well as citing religion as a contributing factor that led to the 1807 Act, it is important to recognise the importance of intellectual influences emanating from France at this time.

It is also important to recognise intellectual influences in Britain. The free labour theory of Adam Smith appears to have been contributing factor in the emancipation of the slave trade. It could be argued that some of Smith’s theory is incorrect; however, there is a strong argument that his publication An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations was used by...

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