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  • Published: 5 November 2020
  • ISBN: 9781473566361
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 400
Categories:

The Interest

How the British Establishment Resisted the Abolition of Slavery




A dramatic narrative history based on new research revealing the previously hidden side of the story of abolition

For two hundred years, the abolition of slavery in Britain has been a cause for self-congratulation - but no longer.

In 1807, Parliament outlawed the slave trade in the British Empire, but for the next quarter of a century, despite heroic and bloody rebellions, more than 700,000 people in the British colonies remained enslaved. And when a renewed abolitionist campaign was mounted, making slave ownership the defining political and moral issue of the day, emancipation was fiercely resisted by the powerful 'West India Interest'. Supported by nearly every leading figure of the British establishment - including Canning, Peel and Gladstone, The Times and Spectator - the Interest ensured that slavery survived until 1833 and that when abolition came at last, compensation worth £340 billion in today's money was given not to the enslaved but to the slaveholders, entrenching the power of their families to shape modern Britain to this day.

Drawing on major new research, this long-overdue and ground-breaking history provides a gripping narrative account of the tumultuous and often violent battle - between rebels and planters, between abolitionists and the pro-slavery establishment - that divided and scarred the nation during these years of upheaval. The Interest reveals the lengths to which British leaders went to defend the indefensible in the name of profit, showing that the ultimate triumph of abolition came at a bitter cost and was one of the darkest and most dramatic episodes in British history.

  • Published: 5 November 2020
  • ISBN: 9781473566361
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 400
Categories:

About the author

Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor is an historian of colonial slavery, the British Empire and the British Isles. He graduated with a double first in history from the University of Cambridge, where he earned his PhD - and also won University Challenge. He has since been Lecturer in Modern British History at Balliol College, Oxford, and he is currently a Visiting Fellow at the British Library's Eccles Centre for American Studies.

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