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William Wilberforce had tried and failed to persuade Parliament to abolish the slave trade for nearly 20 years. Finally in 1807, Parliament passed the bill to abolish the transportation of captives for slavery, but not slavery itself. Wilberforce argued that it was not right to own people, and sought to redefine the right of people to own property. He used his membership of the Property Owners Club to bring about change from within.

Classroom Ideas

Draw a sociogram that illustrates the links between Wilberforce, other abolitionists and MPs to better understand his connections and influence. Note what opinion each individual or group would have of Wilberforce. Look for evidence of Wilberforce’s success as a campaigner. List weaknesses in his abilities as a campaigner and provide evidence to support these.