Explain the reasons for the abolition of Slave Trade
Abolition of slave trade
The first European country to abolish slave trade was Britain in 1807, also forbid the practice of slavery in all British colonies in 1833.
Reasons for the abolition of slave trade is still controversial, which led to the rise of two school of thought which were Eurocentric historian who believed the abolition of slave trade caused by Humanitarian reasons and Afrocentric historian who believed that abolition of slave trade was caused by economic reasons.
The economic reasons for the abolition of slave trade;
1. Industrial revolution in Europe: during the 19th century European nations invented new machines which produced quality and cheaper goods in the industries, slaves become useless where by activities which were done by many slaves replaced by machines especially in Britain.
Hence European nations abolish slave trade in order to use slave as labours and source of markets in African continent. Example British stopped slave trade in order to expand market for her finished goods in West Africa.
2. The competition of sugar production between British and French: at first British sold their sugar for high price because they monopolized sugar market.
Surprisingly in the last quarter of 18th century the French West Indies increased the sugar production on large scale, and sell their sugar very cheap.
Due to this fact French took British monopoly on sugar production and sales in America and Europe. This led to the fall of sugar production in West Indies.
Hence slaves became useless, the British started the abolition of slave trade by expecting that it will increase French coast of labour and it will force French to raise the price of sugar and British would retain their monopoly.
3. The American independence: after American independence in 1776 British lost its production of tobacco, sugar and minerals which produced by using slaves.
This led to the abolition of slave trade because American also started to fight against slave trade. Example America abolished slave trade in 1808.
4. Constant riots and strikes, this encouraged abolition of slave trade because slave revolts made slaves dangerous and very expensive to maintain.
Example of revolts includes 1803 French island the modern Haiti which destructed industries, plantations and kill their masters. Also revolt occurred in Jamaica in 1831 and Barbados 1816.
This affected capitalist economy and later made Europeans to abolish slave trade.
5. Slaves become expensive: during the 19th century Europeans realized that free labours in European industries were cheap and efficient compared to slave labours.
Also slaves were very expensive in terms of transportation and accommodation. Therefore abolition of slave trade become unescapable.
On the other hand the following are the humanitarian reasons for the abolition of slave trade;
1. The evangelical reason, they stated that all human being are equal and all human being created by image of god. Hence slave trade were evil, which were against the will of God.
This made Europeans to send missionaries in Africa in order to stop slave trade and spread Christianity. Supporters of this reason includes Sharp, Thomas Clarkson, William Wilberforce etc.
2. The role played by intellectuals and writers, these writers helped in the abolition of slave trade where by those writers such as Rousseau insisted European to abolish slave trade.
Also Adam smith argued that hired labour was cheaper and more productive than slaves and Daniel Defoe emphasized the concept of brotherhood and liberty of ma. Hence abolition of slave trade.
3. The French revolution, the French revolution of 1789 insisted the slogan of fraternity, liberty and equality. Therefore this created important factor for the abolition of slave trade.