Slavery in “Abolition Speech” by William Wilberforce Essay
Why is the slave trade, according to Wilberforce, bad for Africa? How does Wilberforce depict Africa and African kings?
The following article is devoted to the description of the problem of slavery and the slave trade in Africa. The author underlines its pernicious effect on Africa, and he outlines a great number of different problems connected with this phenomenon. The author states the fact that the slave trade brings only desolation and destruction to this land. He calls this country not barbaric but uncivilized, and moreover, slavery does not promote its development. Moreover, the author blames the kings of this land, accusing them of promoting slavery and the slave trade in their country. He says that it just for a king to decide whether to send his troops to the neighbor village or not. The reason very often is just a desire of a king to drink brandy. People became good in this country, and very often, they are exchanged in the process of barter. With this in mind, the author underlines that slavery gradually destroys Africa, bringing it to the barbaric stage of development where people can be taken only as a good.
What does Wilberforce mean by “the delegates from Liverpool”? Why does he hold them to be “totally incompetent” in assessing the character of the slave trade?
The author also underlines the incompetency of the committee, which is in charge of the question of slavery in Africa. He calls them delegates from Liverpool. The author underlines the fact that they have not found evidence of the pernicious influence of slavery in Africa. Moreover, having no facts, this committee supposed that slavery was a traditional state of affairs in Africa. Being deeply consumed that slavery is the main reason for wars on this land, the author emphasizes the incompetence of this committee. He points out the incorrectness of their conclusions. They judged by the fact that there were no complaints from the population of this land that is why it is impossible to fix cases of cruel attitude or other discrimination. The author states the fact that the majority of the population of Africa does not have such an opportunity; that is why it is possible to state the absence of any signs of discontent. Moreover, the author suggests that it is profitable for members of this committee to ignore the current state of affairs in Africa.
What evidence does Wilberforce emphasize to demonstrate the inhuman nature of the middle passage?
The author also points out the inhumane character of the Middle passage. He criticizes members of the Liverpool committee, which say that salves are transported under good conditions, and they are supplied with everything they need. The committee describes the transportation of slaves as a joyful voyage during which they eat, drink, dance, and are happy. However, the author underlines the horrible conditions under which slaves are transported. First of all, he says about the terrifying congestion in which these slaves are usually placed. It is made in an attempt to take as many slaves as it is possible. It is ridiculous to state the fact that someone cares about the conditions under which these people are transported. There is no food and space for them. They could hardly move. Moreover, they do not want to live in their homes, and that is why very often ships have to sail away at night for slaves do not notice departure. Describing the terrible conditions of the Middle Passage, the author gives the best evidence to prove his words. He shows a high rate of mortality, which composes about 50 percent. It is the best evidence for the authors words.
How would you characterize Wilberforce’s argument against the slave trade?
The author tries to find good arguments against slavery and the slave trade. First of all, it can be seen in the first lines of the article. He underlines the aftermath of this trade for Africa, trying to make people think about all difficulties which people who inhabit this land should overcome. He also tries to show the derogatory character of this trade. The article underlines that human beings are unequal, and some of them have the right to turn another into a commodity. Moreover, he is trying to appeal to some humanistic forces, underlining horrible conditions in which slaves are usually transported. However, it should be said that these arguments do not seem to be very convincing as they do not touch on some concrete issues. The author cogitates about the moral aspects of slavery and the necessity of its abolition; however, he does not suggest any real reason for people to think about it and be interested in the question of finding a solution to the problem of slavery.
What is the broader significance of Wilberforce’s speech?
Being not very convincing, this article, though, has a great significance. Taking into account the period of history in which it was made, it is possible to call it even revolutionary. Slavery was a common thing at that time, and it was impossible to imagine that it could be abolished. Moreover, slaves often were not considered to be the same human beings as the other people were; that is why the authors words about inequality and sympathy can be taken as the first signs of approaching a new era. His attempt to draw peoples attention to the question of slavery should be taken as an innovative thought which was way ahead of its time. That is why it is possible to speak about the great significance of this speech for the development of the humanistic movement.