In many countries around the world slavery was a part of life. Slaves were brought from foreign countries to work in factories, on plantations in fields as well as perform household duties. Many wealthy families owned numerous slaves who looked after all the menial labor tasks. Many of the world’s great civilizations were built on the back of slaves. Fortunately, people slowly came to the realization that owning people, and forcing them to work, is wrong and many countries around the world started to abolish slavery.
The Abolition of Slavery in the USA
Slavery was a large part of the way of life in the United States for the years preceding the founding of the United States in 1776. Even after this time plantation owners in the South of America continued to use slaves to work their crops, as house servants and to look after their children. The first colony to acquire slaves was a colony in Virginia, North America in 1619. At the beginning slaves were people who worked to pay for their transport to the colonies of America, but by the 18th century courts and legislation made meant that only Africans and blacks could be owned as slaves. During the 1770’s through to the 1860’s people begun to question the morals of owning slaves and many political discussions and abolition demonstrations began to happen. Federal legislation banned the trans-Atlantic slave trade and passed other laws to protect the rights of slaves. Slavery became such a contentious issue that it contributed to the American Civil War. On December 6, 1865 slavery was finally abolished in the United States of America.
The Abolition of Slavery in Britain
The British had many slaves all over the British Empire. They used them to work and harvest crops such as sugar and tobacco. Due to a court case slavery became outlawed in Great Britain in 1772. However, the transportation and exploitation of slaves continued within the Empire. In 1807 a law was passed called the Slave Trade Act and prohibited the transportation and sale of slaves. A 100 pound fine was given for each slave that was found on a ship. This act had profound influence on other countries that traded with Britain and many other countries such as Sweden and the Netherlands also abolished slave trading. In 1833 an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom was passed abolishing slavery throughout most of the British Empire.