Abolitionism – Abstract


(eng. abolitionism, from lat. abolitio,
“cancel”) — public movement
sought to overturn any law.

A political movement
(at the end of the XVIII—XIX centuries) for the abolition of slavery,
the slave trade and the emancipation of the slaves in
Western Europe and America. One of the
the first initiators of this movement was
Spanish missionary and scholar of the XVI century.
Bartolomé de Las Casas. On his initiative
Spain was the first European powers
passed a law against enslavement
American Indians (1542), which
however, it was soon canceled. However,
this act was one of the reasons the beginning
bulk export of slaves to America from
Africa. In the eighteenth century against slavery were
the English sect of the Quakers, and by the end of
the same century condemnation of slavery
became part of the European movement
Education. In this era abolitionist
called those philanthropists, who, not
taking direct involvement in activities
political parties tried by
public preaching and printing to promote
the destruction of slavery. By the early nineteenth century
most governments of the European
countries recognized the need to eliminate

In 1807-1808 was
prohibited the importation of African slaves in the United States
and the British colonies. By 1833, it was
completely banned slavery in
The British Empire, including
of the British West Indian economy
which for centuries was built on slave
work. But in the US slavery was prohibited
only in 1865 (see the thirteenth amendment
to the U.S. Constitution).

European movement
anti-slavery was one of the reasons
the liberation of Russian peasants from
serfdom in 1861
now slavery is prohibited
international law.

Abolitionism in the British Empire

The last remnants of the
serfdom disappeared in England
at the beginning of the XVII century, but in the enlightened
XVIII century, slaves from Africa, Asia and America
still served in the wealthy homes of London
Edinburgh as a domestic servant.
Moving to the American colonies,
the British often took with them a servant
and slaves from India[1][2]. Since
they were not sold into slavery in the territory
In the UK, their legal status before
1772 remained uncertain.

At the end of the XVIII century.
The UK hosted several
noisy trials, shake
perceptions of the legality of slavery and
served as a precedent for subsequent
the struggle of the abolitionists in court
bodies[3]. So in 1772 a
Charles Stuart tried to grab his
a runaway slave named James Somerset
and exiled him to Jamaica to work on
the sugar plantations. While in London,
Somerset was baptized and his godparents
the parents appealed the decision
a slave owner in court, requiring compliance with
the British law of Habeas corpus. The judge
Murray in his judgement of 22 June 1772

The status of slavery
is that currently impossible
to prove it in court, based on
common sense or common
considerations on the nature or politics; it
must have a legal basis; no …
one owner never could take
slave power and to sell abroad for
he shies away from his
duties or for any other
reasons; we can’t say it
permitted or justified in any
the law of this realm, so this
the person must be released.

— Quoted from
the publication in the newspaper the General Evening Postfrom
21-23 June 1772[4]

Although from the point of view
of law, this decision sounds pretty
uncertain, contemporaries found it
condemning slavery as unlawful
state cheovek, which led to
released in the UK over
10 thousand slaves[5] and became the basis
the later opinion
that slavery is legal in other British
possessions (particularly in the Northern
America), in the British
Islands expires[6]. Case
Somerset has also helped to develop
the movement of abolitionists around the
the English-speaking world[7]. Slaves one after
others started to walk away from their masters
and to confirm their right to freedom in
courts. However, in Scotland the fact
time existed and legitimate
hereditary slavery[8],
and only in 1799, ceased
the existence of a special law,
adopted by the British Parliament.

In 1787, the campaign in
Parliament for the abolition of the slave trade
headed by well-known British philanthropist
William Wilberforce. In 1807, she brought
to the adoption of the Act on the prohibition of the slave trade,
but in 1833, and for a total ban
of slavery throughout the British Empire.

Abolitionism in the United States

The beginning of mass
movement is usually attributed to the 30-th years.
XIX century., when I started to publish the newspaper
“Liberator” (Liberator), and was founded
The American society of struggle against slavery.
By 1840, the movement has developed two currents.
The majority of abolitionists, headed
William garrison believed that slavery
must be combated, without resorting to force.
The minority, headed by F. Dugassa,
advocated the use of armed
force. John brown unsuccessful
an armed attempt to free slaves
in 1859

the existence of the Republic of abolitionists
despite the fact that stayed away
from a practical policy, had
by a vigorous and principled
agitation extremely important influence
the development in the United States
of free institutions. But at the same time
American abolitionists accused
that their activity poses
the threat of the Union of North and South, contrary to
The U.S. Constitution, which left
the issue of slavery in
the discretion of individual States.

A dramatic breakthrough in the fight
slavery is associated with the presidency
Abraham Lincoln.

Abolitionism as
a political movement has exhausted itself
after September 22, 1862, was
adopted the emancipation Proclamation and
December 18, 1865 the thirteenth amendment
to the Constitution. 30 Mar 1870
The fifteenth amendment to former slaves
was given the right to vote.

However, in the modern
philosophy, for example, in the works
English philosopher David Pierce,
the word Abolitionism acquired another
the value indicating the movement, the followers of
which are for deliverance from
the suffering of all living beings of the biosphere.

Cm. also Allman
against bout — a precedent-setting case in
The U.S. Supreme court (1859).


Among the prominent
representatives of the movement William Lloyd
Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Harriet
Tubman, John Brown, Wendell Phillips,
Harriet Beecher Stowe, John Hopkins, John
Rockefeller and Abolitionist.
traditionally called white opponents
slavery, although a significant role in the movement
played and Negros, including some
runaway slaves.

Abolitionism in France

The movement for the abolition
slavery in the Caribbean colonies of France
began in the late XVIII century, after the Haitian
revolution. The largest contribution to abolitionism
in the XIX century. introduced Victor Seller,
thanks to the activities which
April 1848 slavery in France was

Soldiers of abolitionism

Contemptuous from the point
of view of southerners nicknamed the soldiers of the Union army
in the Civil war 1861-1865.

The underground railroad

  • “Underground
    dear” in the United States in 1850 was called
    a secret organization of abolitionists,
    ferrying runaway Negroes from the South to
    The North was not slavery.


  1. Paul
    Heinegg, Free African Americans of Virginia, North Carolina,
    South Carolina, Maryland and Delaware
    , 1999-2005, “WEAVER
    FAMILY: Three members of the Weaver family, probably brothers, were
    called “East Indians” in Lancaster County, [VA] [court records]
    between 1707 and 1711.”; “‘The indenture of Indians (Native
    Americans) as servants was not common in Maryland…the indenture of
    East Indian servants was more common.”, accessed 15 Feb 2008

  2. Francis
    C. Assisi, “First Indian-American Identified: Mary Fisher, Born
    1680 in Maryland”, IndoLink, Quote: “Documents available from
    American archival sources of the colonial period now confirm the
    presence of indentured servants or slaves who were brought from the
    Indian subcontinent, via England, to work for their European
    American masters.”, accessed 20 Apr 2010

  3. Slavery,
    freedom or perpetual servitude? – the Joseph Knight case. National
    Archives of Scotland.

  4. This
    version is taken from a letter to the London General Evening Post
    of 21-23 June 1772, headed by the following. “To the Editor
    of the general evening post. SIR, The following is as correctly my
    Lord M–d’s Speech on the Negro Cause, as my memory, assisted by
    some notes, could make it: it begins after the stating of the
    return. Your’s, & c. A CONSTANT READER.” The letter is
    somewhat at variance with other sources reporting on the words of
    the Mansfield Decision (including the citation in the previous
    section of this article). Such inconsistencies are perhaps to be
    expected given the enthusiasm which abolitionists propagated the
    decision, and the spin which they sought to put on it in relation to
    their campaign. See Slavery in England and the Law

  5. Heward,
    Edmund (1979). Lord Mansfield: A Biography of William Murray 1st
    Earl of Mansfield 1705-1793 Lord Chief Justice for 32 years
    p.141. Chichester: Barry Rose (publishers) Ltd. ISBN 0-85992-163-8

  6. S. M. Wise,
    Though the Heavens May Fall, Pimlico (2005)

  7. Peter
    P. Hinks, John R. McKivigan, R. Owen Williams (2007) Encyclopedia
    of antislavery and abolition
    pp. 643. Greenwood Publishing Group,

  8. The Records of the
    Parliaments of Scotland to 1707. — University of St. Andrews.


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