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Anti-Slavery Movement


Anti-Slavery Movement is a formal or an informal movement intended to end human slavery. Historically, the main purpose of Anti-Slavery Movement was to free slaves and end slave trade which had deepened its roots in most nations. The African slave trade during the colonial era attracted great attention all over the world and thus Enlightenment Rationalist Thinkers and Christian Religion saw slavery as a violation to human rights. This led to formation of anti-slavery movements in various nations to abolish the practice of human slavery.

The attempt to abolish slavery was in 1542, when the Swedish Monarch enacted an anti-slavery law that would have ended colonial human slavery if it was enforced. During the 17th century, an Evangelical Religious Group and the English Quakers formed an anti-slavery movement to condemn human slavery in African nations. This Anti-Slavery Movement led to the First Great Awakening of 18th century. During this period, Enlightenment rationalist thinkers such as James Edward Oglethorpe criticized slavery for breaching human rights. Though Anti-Slavery Movement was wide spread by the end of 18th century, due to the emerging countries, the colonies such as Portuguese, Britain and French continued the use of slave labor.

Role played by the Colonies

After the United States were established by the American Revolution, northern states formed an Anti-Slavery Movement to bring slavery to an end through gradual liberation. Northern States declared a freedom suit; all human being are equal to confront slavery. The Anti-Slavery Movement spread over the northern states which controlled the growth of slavery in the new states.

In 1807, Britain prohibited the importation of the African slaves in their colonies and by 1833; slavery had been abolished in British Empire. In 1808, the United States criminalized slave trade all over the world and as a result of American Civil War in 1865; slavery was abolished in United States.

Religious contribution

In late 1820 and early 1830, the Second Great Awakening through Christian religion encouraged Anti-Slavery Movements that played huge role in social reforms. Slavery was considered as a sinful practice. The leaders of the Anti-Slavery Movement in the Second Great Awakening such as William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass demanded instant slavery abolition although they were ready to support a gradual liberation program.

Religious Anti-Slavery Movements expressed the strong beliefs that all man before God’s sight are equal and termed slavery as violation of the God’s commandments. However, this movement was highly confronted by the owners of the slave who argued that slavery was an optimistic for both slaves and masters.