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Bold & Fearless

Politician against slavery

If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.
— William Wilberforce

William Wilberforce (24 August 1759 – 29 July 1833) was an English politician known as the leader of the movement to stop the slave trade. A native of Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, he began his political career in 1780, eventually becoming an independent Member of Parliament for Yorkshire(1784–1812). In 1785, he became a Christian, which resulted in major changes to his lifestyle and a lifelong concern for social reform and progress. He was educated at St. John's CollegeCambridge.

In 1787, he came into contact with Thomas Clarkson and a group of anti-slave-trade activists, including Granville SharpHannah More and Charles Middleton. They persuaded Wilberforce to take on the cause of abolition, and he soon became one of the leading English abolitionists. He headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807.

 

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