Abolitionists

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About
The abolitionist movement was as diverse as the slave-sugar complex. It included slaves, free or freed blacks, English workers, Quakers, reformists, free traders, and others who hated slavery and identified sugar as its root cause and the symbol of its evils.
As the movement set out to work through legally sanctioned means by lobbying parliament from the late eighteenth century to 1807, when the slave trade was abolished, its members were split on whether to demand an end to the institution of slavery itself, or only an end to the slave trade that fed the institution. Most blacks and a great number of women supported immediate emancipation, but, for the sake of solidarity, they acquiesced in their leaders’ more cautious, “gradualist” positions.