History KS3 / KS4: Why British slave owners opposed Abolition

Historian David Olusoga investigates the resistance to abolition of slavery among British slave owners including the threat they perceived to the profitable sugar cane industry.

He deliberately contrasts William Wilberforce, leader of the abolitionists with George Hibbert, a slave owner who worshipped in the same church in Clapham.

Olusoga also refers to the family of the Victorian Prime Minister William Gladstone whose fortunes were based on sugar plantations in Guyana.

Like other slave owners he points out that they were determined to protect their sole supply of labour- slaves.

Olusoga also uses slave ledgers updated every three years from 1817 to 1834 to point out high mortality rates among slaves.

This is from the series: Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners

Contains scenes which some younger viewers may find upsetting. Teacher review recommended prior to use in class.

Teacher Notes

This could be used to supplement the study of the abolition of the British slave trade and the abolition of slavery within the British Empire itself.

It could be used to debate the causes of abolition including the disputes around the supposed decline of the sugar cane industry in the early nineteenth century as a factor used to help prove an economic motive for the abolition of the slave trade and slavery itself.

It could also be used as an example of how a historian makes use of archival evidence to support their case.

This could be used to support the teaching of migration in to and out of Britain.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching History at KS3, KS4/GCSE, in England and Wales and Northern Ireland

Also at National 4 and National 5 in Scotland.

This topic appears in OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC, CCEA GCSE and SQA.

More from the series: Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners

How British slave owners fought for compensation
The Barbados Slave Code
British slave owners in the 1830`s
The social and economic impact of slave ownership on British society