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  • L’abolition de l'esclavage est, au Royaume-Uni, un processus particulièrement précoce qui trouve son aboutissement en 1833. Il s'explique notamment par l'émergence dès la fin du XVIIIe siècle d'un puissant mouvement abolitionniste, notamment dans les milieux non-conformistes. Ces sociétés visaient, dans un premier temps, à abolir uniquement la traite, en escomptant que son abandon entraînerait le dépérissement progressif et graduel du système esclavagiste fondé sur elle. La propagande très efficace diffusée par ces sociétés abolitionnistes rencontra un écho certain au sein de l'opinion publique britannique, écho concrétisé dans la production de pétitions spectaculaires comme les affectionnaient les milieux radicaux britanniques de cette époque. Ces pétitions étaient ensuite présentées au Parlement pour appuyer l'action de ceux de ses membres qui militaient pour l'abolition, tel William Wilberforce.L'abandon de la traite fut obtenu en 1807, celui de l'esclavage lui-même en 1833, notamment grâce à l'action de l'Anti-Slavery Society. Cependant, dans le souci de préserver l'équilibre économique des colonies antillaises britanniques, la loi opta pour une sortie graduelle de l'esclavage. Ainsi, pendant une période, variable selon les catégories d'individus, d'« apprentissage » de la liberté, les esclaves devaient fournir un travail non rémunéré à leur ancien maître. L'émancipation définitive et généralisée n'intervint que le 1er janvier 1838.L'abolition de l'esclavage dans ses colonies incita encore davantage l’État britannique à mener la politique de répression de la traite à l'échelle internationale qu'il avait initiée dès 1807. Le Royaume-Uni imposa ainsi petit à petit l'abandon de la traite à ses ennemis vaincus ou à ses alliés redevables, via des accords bilatéraux. Dans ce cadre, la Royal Navy (et en son sein le British African Squadron), prit largement en charge pendant plusieurs décennies la chasse aux navires négriers au large de l'Afrique, ce qui, malgré le coût de l'opération, ne fut pas sans contribuer à l'établissement et au renforcement de l'hégémonie britannique sur les mers et dans l'espace africain. Malgré des dérives, la politique britannique constante visant à étendre au monde entier l'interdiction des traites négrières qu'elle s'était elle-même imposée, tarit progressivement les flux qui en étaient issus.
  • Abolitionism in the United Kingdom was the movement in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to end slavery, whether formal or informal, in the United Kingdom and its colonies.In Western Europe and the Americas, abolitionism was a historical movement to end the African slave trade and set slaves free. Later, in the 17th century, English Quakers and evangelical religious groups condemned slavery (by then applied mostly to Africans) as un-Christian; in the 18th century, abolition was part of the message of the First Great Awakening in the Thirteen Colonies; and in the same period, rationalist thinkers of the Enlightenment criticized it for violating the rights of man. James Edward Oglethorpe was among the first to articulate the Enlightenment case against slavery, banning it in the Province of Georgia on humanistic grounds, arguing against it in Parliament, and eventually encouraging his friends Granville Sharp and Hannah More to vigorously pursue the cause. Soon after his death in 1785, they joined with William Wilberforce and others in forming the Clapham Sect. Though anti-slavery sentiments were widespread by the late 18th century, the colonies and emerging nations that used slave labor continued to do so.The last known form of enforced servitude of adults (villeinage) had disappeared in England by the beginning of the 17th century. In a 1569 court case involving Cartwright, who had bought a slave from Russia, the court ruled that English law could not recognise slavery, as it was never established officially. This ruling was overshadowed by later developments. It was upheld in 1700 by the Lord Chief Justice John Holt when he ruled that a slave became free as soon as he arrived in England.In addition to English colonists importing slaves to the North American colonies, by the 18th century, traders began to import slaves from Africa, India and East Asia (where they were trading) to London and Edinburgh to work as personal servants. Men who migrated to the North American colonies often took their East Indian slaves or servants with them, as East Indians have been documented in colonial records.Some of the first freedom suits, court cases in the British Isles to challenge the legality of slavery, took place in Scotland from 1755 to 1778. The cases were Montgomery v. Sheddan (1755), Spens v. Dalrymple (1769), and Knight v. Wedderburn (1778). Each of the slaves had been baptized in Scotland and challenged the legality of slavery. They set the precedent of legal procedure in British courts that would later lead to successful outcomes for the plaintiffs. In the first two cases, deaths of the plaintiff and defendant, respectively, brought an end before court decisions. The Knight case was decided in favor of the plaintiff, the former slave.African slaves were not bought or sold in London but were brought by masters from other areas. Together with people from other nations, especially non-Christian, Africans were considered foreigners, not able to be English subjects. At the time, England had no naturalization procedure. The African slaves' legal status was unclear until 1772 and Somersett's Case, when the fugitive slave James Somersett forced a decision by the courts. Somersett had escaped, and his master, Charles Steuart, had him captured and imprisoned on board a ship, intending to ship him to Jamaica to be resold into slavery. While in London, Somersett had been baptised; three godparents issued a writ of habeas corpus. As a result, Lord Mansfield, Chief Justice of the Court of the King's Bench, had to judge whether Somersett's abduction was lawful or not under English Common Law. No legislation had ever been passed to establish slavery in England. The case received national attention, and five advocates supported the action on behalf of Somersett.In his judgment of 22 June 1772, Mansfield declared:"The state of slavery is of such a nature that it is incapable of being introduced on any reasons, moral or political, but only by positive law, which preserves its force long after the reasons, occasions, and time itself from whence it was created, is erased from memory. It is so odious, that nothing can be suffered to support it, but positive law. Whatever inconveniences, therefore, may follow from a decision, I cannot say this case is allowed or approved by the law of England; and therefore the black must be discharged."Although the exact legal implications of the judgement are unclear when analysed by lawyers, the judgement was generally taken at the time to have determined that slavery did not exist under English common law and was thus prohibited in England. The decision did not apply to the British overseas territories; by then, for example, the American colonies had established slavery by positive laws. Somersett's case became a significant part of the common law of slavery in the English-speaking world and it helped launch the movement to abolish slavery.After reading about Somersett's Case, Joseph Knight, an enslaved African who had been purchased by his master John Wedderburn in Jamaica and brought to Scotland, left him. Married and with a child, he filed a freedom suit, on the grounds that he could not be held as a slave in Great Britain. In the case of Knight v. Wedderburn (1778), Wedderburn said that Knight owed him "perpetual servitude". The Court of Sessions of Scotland ruled against him, saying that chattel slavery was not recognised under the law of Scotland, and slaves could seek court protection to leave a master or avoid being forcibly removed from Scotland to be returned to slavery in the colonies.But at the same time, legally mandated, hereditary slavery of Scots persons in Scotland had existed from 1606 and continued until 1799, when colliers and salters were emancipated by an act of the Parliament of Great Britain (39 Geo.III. c. 56). Skilled workers, they were restricted to a place and could be sold with the works. A prior law enacted in 1775 (15 Geo.III. c. 28) was intended to end what the act referred to as "a state of slavery and bondage," but that was ineffective, necessitating the 1799 act.
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  • Les traites négrières, essai d'histoire globale
  • L'abolition de l'esclavage : cinq siècles de combats XVIe-XXe siècle
  • Les traites négrières
  • Les traites négrières en Afrique
  • Abolition de l'esclavage et colonisation
  • Le débat sur l'abolition de l'esclavage : Grande-Bretagne, 1787-1840
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  • L’abolition de l'esclavage est, au Royaume-Uni, un processus particulièrement précoce qui trouve son aboutissement en 1833. Il s'explique notamment par l'émergence dès la fin du XVIIIe siècle d'un puissant mouvement abolitionniste, notamment dans les milieux non-conformistes. Ces sociétés visaient, dans un premier temps, à abolir uniquement la traite, en escomptant que son abandon entraînerait le dépérissement progressif et graduel du système esclavagiste fondé sur elle.
  • Abolitionism in the United Kingdom was the movement in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to end slavery, whether formal or informal, in the United Kingdom and its colonies.In Western Europe and the Americas, abolitionism was a historical movement to end the African slave trade and set slaves free.
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  • Abolition de l'esclavage au Royaume-Uni
  • Abolitionism in the United Kingdom
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