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During  the  Enlightenment  and  the  French  Revolution,  there  were  many  different  attitudes  toward  the  institution  of  slavery.  The  resolution  of  slavery  undoubtedly influenced  on  politics,  economics  and  social  life.  The  slave trade  relationship  between  Europe,  west  Africa,  and  the  Indies  has  a  great  affect  on  European  economics  during  this  period.  Without  slaves  the  landowners  in  the  new  world  were  not  able  to  produce  the  sugar,  coffee,  and  tobacco  for  export  to  Europe.  African  slaves  were  strong,  because  they  were  used  to  working  in  the  hot  conditions  of  the  Indies,  as  long  as  they  had  originally  came  from  a  very  hot  climate  in  Africa.  The  issue  of  slavery  did  have  a  great  impact  on  the  French  politics  during  the  Enlightenment  and  the  revolution.  The  Declaration  of  the  Rights  of  Man,  issued  by  the  National  Assembly  during  the  French  Revolution  declared  the  equality  of  all  men.  Arguments  were  raised concerning  the  use  of  this  statement  in  the  French  colonies  in  the  West  Indies,  which  used  slaves  to  work  on  the  land as  was  mentioned  above.  As  they  had  different  interests,  the  philosophers,  slave  owners,  and  political  leaders  had  different  thoughts  as  to  the  universal  equality.  Many  of  the  philosophers,  the  leaders  of  the  Enlightenment,  were against  slavery.  They  claimed  that  all  people  had  a  natural  dignity  that should  be  recognized.  Diderot,  for  instance, brought  up  the  fact  that  the  Christian  religion  was  fundamentally  opposed  to  Black  slavery,  but  employed  it  anyway  in  order  to  work  the  plantations  that  financed  their  countries. “ Philosophers  influenced  by  the  ideals  of  the  Enlightenment  like  equality,  liberty,  the  right  to  dignity,  tended  to  oppose  the  idea  of  slavery.  On  the  other  hand  the  political  leaders  and  property  owners  considered  slavery  as  an  element  that  supported  the economy. “ (Walvin,  1992) These  people  believed  that  if  slavery  and  the  slave  trade  were to  be  abolished,  the  French  would  lose  their  colonies,  commerce  would  go  down  and  as  a  result  the  merchant  marine,  agriculture  and  the  arts  would  decline.

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One  of  the  most  significant  manifestations  of  the  Enlightenment  was  the  antislavery  movement  in  England.  Slavery  was  prohibited  within  the  country in  1774.  Beginning  from  1807,  a  determined  movement  fought  for  abolition  of  the  slave  trade.  It  was  led  by  William  Wilberforce  (1759-1833),  Hannah Moore  and  other  Anglican  Evangelicals,  along  with  many  Methodists and  Quakers.  Wilberforce  steadily  introduced  bills  into  the  House  of  Commons  that  would  have  diminished  the  slave  trade.  His  efforts  were  rewarded  in  1807  when  the  trade  was  ended,  although  he  and  his  companions  had  to  continue  to  struggle  for  twenty-six  more  years,  before  they  could  achieve  abolition  in  the  British  colonies.  By  1783,  antislavery  movement  has  spread  among  the  British  public.  The  Quakers  founded  first  English  abolitionist  organization  and  continued  their  influence  on  the  movement.  In  1787,  the  Committee  for  the  Abolition  of  the  Slave  Trade  was  formed,  referring  to  the  Abolition  of  the  Atlantic  slave  trade.  There  were many  people  who  were  fighting  the  slave  trade :  some  African,  some  European  by  descent.  “ Wilberforce  and  the  Clapham  Group  were  fighting  for  abolition,  but  their  efforts  were  not  in  vain:   the  ‘Abolition  of  the  Slave  Trade  Act’  passed  by  the  British  Parliament  on  25  March  1807  and  the  slavery  Abolition  Act  on  23  August  1833.”( Blackburn,  1997)  It  had  to  diminish  slave  trade,  but  despite  the  fine  many  ships  continued  their  trade.

In  the  Age  of  Enlightenment,  slavery  could  not  co-exist  with  the  new  concept  of  equality,  supported  as  well  by  the American,  French  and  the  Bolshevik  revolutions. The  idea  of  the  working  class  being equal  to  the  upper  class  was  an  idea  that  the  working  class  endorsed,  and  considering  the  working  class  a  majority  of  the  population,  it  was  the  decision  of  the  majority. “ With  the  addition  of  working  class  representatives  in  British  parliament,  labor  laws  were  soon  enforced.  Britain's  position  of  a  colonial  superpower  influenced  smaller  countries'  view  on  the  issue.”

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