although the jacobins prohibited slavery for a brief while in the wake of the french revolution, britain was actually the first country to abolish the slave trade in 1807 and then slavery in 1833.
before this was achieved, however, many heated debates and a parliamentary battle took place. abolitionists organized mass petitions as well as a sugar boycott, while slaves rioted in the caribbean. this book covers the three british campaigns for abolition - the first one going from 1787 to 1807 and leading to the abolition of the slave trade, the second one from 1807 to 1833, when abolitionists strove to obtain gradual emancipation and slaves became "apprentices", and the third one, from 1833 to 1840, when planters were granted financial compensation for the loss of their slaves and apprentices became free at last.
the international military and economic context, the evolutions of the british empire, the religious and human factors, the slaves' riots, and the planters' and merchants' interests - all have to be taken into account as essential components of the british debate on slavery, yet, even today, the main question remains unanswered: did economic factors outweigh human ones in the abolition of slavery ?.