Main abolitionist arguments

The abolitionists put forward various arguments to support their cause of banning the slave trade. These can be grouped into the following areas:


Adam Smith wrote that enslaved people were the most inefficient and costly form of labour. Sugar could be produced more cheaply by paid non-slave workers in India. British trade in India and the Far East was growing rapidly.


Enslaved people were denied their freedom and human rights and many British sailors died on the triangular trade.


The Bible taught that people should treat each other with kindness and love. Slavery broke the rules of the Ten Commandments.