William Wilberforce | Teen Ink

William Wilberforce

March 13, 2008
By Anonymous

I am going to write about a man who lived 50 years before Harriet Tubman did. He was a man that should not be forgotten to the sands of time. An abolitionist of slavery, much like, yet very different from Harriet Tubman. He was a white man divinely driven and dedicated his life to free the oppression of slavery. He managed to get rid of the slave trade to and from England around the time that Harriet was in her 20s. This mans name was William Wilberforce.

William Wilberforce was born on the 24th of august, 1759 in hull, as the son of a wealthy merchant in London. He studied at Cambridge University in 1760 as a bright young man. He also met and became lifelong friends with William Pitt the younger, the future and the youngest ever prime minister of England. In 1780, William Wilberforce became a member of parliament for hull, and later represented the whole of Yorkshire on many matters. His decadent lifestyle changed dramatically when he became and evangelical Christian. In 1784, he joined a respectable group called the Clapham sect. His Christian faith inspired him to be interested in social reform, especially the conditional improvements for factory workers in England.

Thomas Clark, Slave abolitionist, greatly influenced William. He and some other slave abolitionist were campaigning to end the African slave trade with England, but with very little success. William presented and represented a petition to annihilate the slave trade for 18 years! He regularly brought up anti-slave motions in front of parliament, but all failed. Many in parliament in fact supported him but were afraid to speak up. He got closer and closer every passing year but his failing health forced him to stop for a period of time. It wasn’t till he met Barbara Ann Spooner, his future wife, that he managed to regain his health and return to parliament.

Members of the Clapham sect and other slave abolitionist raised public awareness of the horrors of the slave trade. They did so with pamphlets, books, rallies and petitions; they even promoted suger made by free men instead of by slaves. But his was no easy task, it is like trying to get ride of fast food, everyone knows it is bad for him or her yet they still eat it. In 1807, the slave trade was finally abolished! But this new law did not free the already enslaved slaves in England. In 1833, Abolition of Slavery Act was passed, just a month after the dedicated William Wilberforce had passed away. All slaves in England were now considered free men and women!

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This article has 1 comment.

I am Bush said...
on Dec. 15 2010 at 10:28 am
Now that is a hero!