Factors Leading to the Abolition of the Slave Trade Essay

2527 Words Dec 11th, 2011 11 Pages
The Economic, Social and Political Factors of the Abolition of the Slave Trade by Jessica Comeau

The Trans-Atlantic slave trade had deep and far reaching affects on the continent of Africa and its people. Prior to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, there was an active slave trade within Africa, although the connotation of the word slave was not the same for the Africans as it was for the Europeans. In an African society, a slave could eventually marry into the master’s family and rise to a prominent position within the state. Similarly, in the African society slaves were often taken solely to pay off debts and once the debt had been worked off, the ‘slave’ was free to go. This understanding of the word slave did not denote an entire
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There were both abolitionists and people who were pro-slavery in the political playing field, and one side of the argument was that “…Negroes are “entitled to their freedom as clearly and absolutely as we are;””[6], with the ‘we’ representing the white population. However, it took decades before that became a majority opinion in the United States. “The development of scientific racism, the idea that blacks were biologically inferior to whites and were intellectually and morally incapable of self-government, encouraged state and national legislation that limited the rights of free blacks.”[7] Therefore, it can be seen how difficult it would have been for the abolitionists to have successfully pushed any bills through the Senate, with the majority opinion still believing that Africans were inferior to the Caucasian race.

Abolitionists in Europe, more specifically in Britain, were quickly pushing the public to hold politicians accountable for the abolition of the slave trade. In 1787 Prime Minister William Pitt became sympathetic to politicizing the subject of abolition of the slave trade.[8] As the 19th century dawned, politicians would increasingly submit petitions to the public in order for ordinary citizens to speak up about certain topics. The