Introduction | Somerset Case | The Zong Case  | Abolishing the Slave Trade | Ending Slavery | "Time of the Ancient Mariner | Blake's Plates for Stedman | "To Toussaint L'Ouverture"

Ending Slavery

Though the efforts of abolitionists are undoubtedly partly responsible for the eventual end of slavery, there were other actual events and experiences which definitely propelled the issue forwards. Revolts and insurrections, such as the “Baptist War,” which accounted for both British lives and property, helped to expedite the end of slavery. The “Baptist War” was the name given to a slave insurrection which occurred in Jamaica in late 1831 and early 1832. As Michael Craton tells, the slaves involved in the revolt were met with “exemplary savagery” on the part of the white slave-owners and government, resulting in the deaths and executions of hundreds of slaves. This event is largely believed to be responsible for Parliament’s passing of the first Emancipation Act later that year.

On August 1st, 1834, Parliament voted to partially free slaves in return for monetary compensation to plantation owners. It was partial freedom because only children under six were completely freed, while other slaves became “apprentices”. The complete abolition of slavery, granting full freedom to all slaves, came on July 31st, 1838.

After this point, Britain’s foreign policy fully embraced the concept of abolition, and the British navy often apprehended and liberated the slave ships of foreign countries.

John Stromski

Select Bibliography

Craton, Michael. “Proto-Peasant Revolts? The Late Slave Rebellions in the British West Indies 1816-1832.” Past &
85 (1979): 99-125. Web. 5 April 2012.

Walvin, James. “Ending it All: The Crusade Against Slavery.” Black Ivory: Slavery in the British Empire. 2nd ed.
     Malden: Blackwell Publishers, 2001. Print.