Slavery Abolition Act of 1833

Before one can understand the importance of the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, an understanding of how the act came into effect must be acknowledged. The two main political parties at this time in England were the Whigs and the Tories. The Whigs were tied to political liberalism and attached to constitutional monarchy and the rights of Parliament. To sum up the political party, they were for electoral reform. The Tories were opposed to reform. They supported traditional traditional political and social institutions, meaning that they were for the monarchy, nobles, and gentry. To summarize a long history of political parties squabbling for power, the Whigs came back to power during the 1830's. They unified as a political party on the basis of moral reform, specifically, the abolition of slavery. They also campaigned on the horrors of child labor and relief to the poor. Other Acts were passed around the same time as the Slavery Aboliton Act. The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 was passed and limited reforms were passed in relation to child labor. So how did many radical changes to Parliament happen in such a short time? The radical change is thanks to The Reform Act of 1832. What this act basically did was take power away from aristocracy. Before the act, elections were controlled by high ranking, very powerful families. The act distributed voting power based on population, adding many new upper and middle class voters to the voting pool. This act gave an immense amount of power to the people. 

So what did the Slavery Aboliton Act do and what is its importance? The Slavery Aboliton Act abolished slavery in all parts of the British empire. More importatly it made the ownership of slaves illegal. However, it didn't make slavery illegal in parts of the British empire that made a lot of money for Britain. The area that still allowed slavery was the East India Company, the countries Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka) and Saint Helena. The Slavery Abolition Act was important because it purchased and freed the slaves currently in captivity, mainly in the Caribbean Sugar Islands. The act was also important because it expanded on the The Slave Trade Act of 1807 and was a success for the growing abolitionist movement and the majority of the people (middle and lower class) in government. Showing that they could and would exercize their right to change parliament and take power away from the aristocracy. 

Slavery Abolition Act 1833. (2020, September 24). Retrieved October 05, 2020, from

Whigs (British political party). (2020, September 24). Retrieved October 05, 2020, from

Tories (British political party). (2020, August 29). Retrieved October 05, 2020, from

Poor Law Amendment Act 1834. (2020, August 20). Retrieved October 05, 2020, from

Reform Act 1832. (2020, October 02). Retrieved October 05, 2020, from

Slave Trade Act 1807. (2020, September 28). Retrieved October 05, 2020, from

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

The end of the month Aug 1833