The Business of Abolishing the British Slave Trade, 1783-1807
Drawing on previously unused sources, this work traces the personal, business, social and religious ties binding together four Quaker businessmen who became founding members of the London Abolition Committee in 1787, and who subsequently helped transform abolitionism into a national political movement. By examining the lives of Joseph Woods, James Phillips, George Harrison and Samuel Hoare, Dr. Jennings presents a new view of the factors shaping the arguments and strategies of abolitionism in Britain. She suggests links between abolitionism and the capitalist values emerging from the growth of the market economy and the developing consumer society in late eighteenth-century Britain. Closely studying the interplay between individuals and larger cultural forces, she offers an original approach to the problem of understanding the changing politics, economics and social forces in Britain during this period. The four men who form the main subject of this book placed articles in newspapers, and published circulars, reports and information about the slave trade and their reasons for supporting abolition. They helped to establish petitioning as a respectable tool and played a major role in the creation of the language and literature of the anti-slave campaign. 'The Business of Abolishing the British Slave Trade, 1783-1807' is a well-researched but readable account that will be of particular relevance to those interested in British history, eighteenth-century studies, abolition historiography, political economy, the history of social activism and social change, religious studies, and sociology. (Back cover).
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