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ABOLITIONIST MOVEMENT Beginning in the 1780s during the time of the American Revolution there arose in Western Europe and the United States a movement to abolish the institution of slavery and the slave trade that supported it Advocates of this movement were called abolitionists From the 16th to the 19th century some 15 million Africans were kidnapped and shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas They were sold as laborers on the sugar and cotton plantations of South and North America and the islands of the Caribbean Sea see Slavery and Serfdom In the late 1600s Quaker and Mennonite Christians in the British colonies of North America were protesting slavery on religious grounds Nevertheless the institution of slavery continued to expand in North America This was especially true in the Southern colonies By the late 1700s ideas on slavery were changing An intellectual movement in Europe the Enlightenment had made strong arguments in favor of the rights of man The leaders of the American Revolution had issued a Declaration of Independence in 1776 This document also enunciated a belief in the equality of all human beings In 1789 the French Revolution began and its basic document was the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen There was a gradual but steady increase in opposition to keeping human beings as private property The first formal organization to emerge in the abolitionist movement was the Abolition Society founded in 1787 in England Its leaders were Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce The societys first success came in 1807 when Britain abolished the slave trade with its colonies When slavery itself showed no signs of disappearing the Anti-Slavery Society was founded in Britain in 1823 under the leadership of Thomas Fowell Buxton a member of Parliament In 1833 Parliament finally passed a law abolishing slavery in all British colonies Slavery had been written into the United States Constitution in 1787 but
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