Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery
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Amazing Grace tells the story of the remarkable life of the British abolitionist William Wilberforce (1759-1833). This accessible biography chronicles Wilberforce's extraordinary role as a human rights activist, cultural reformer, and member of Parliament.
At the center of this heroic life was a passionate twenty-year fight to abolish the British slave trade, a battle Wilberforce won in 1807, as well as efforts to abolish slavery itself in the British colonies, a victory achieved just three days before his death in 1833.
Metaxas discovers in this unsung hero a man of whom it can truly be said: he changed the world. Before Wilberforce, few thought slavery was wrong. After Wilberforce, most societies in the world came to see it as a great moral wrong.
To mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British slave trade, HarperSanFrancisco and Bristol Bay Productions have joined together to commemorate the life of William Wilberforce with the feature-length film Amazing Grace and this companion biography, which provides a fuller account of the amazing life of this great man than can be captured on film.
This account of Wilberforce's life will help many become acquainted with an exceptional man who was a hero to Abraham Lincoln and an inspiration to the anti-slavery movement in America.
years. Of course, history might have been quite changed had the mistake been more serious. Perhaps most scandalous of all, they waited many years before informing the press. When Wilberforce, Pitt, and Eliot finally arrived in France, the comedy, appropriately, turned farcical. They discovered that each of them had relied on the others for proper letters of introduction. In a day when society observed infinitely stricter rules than today, a lack of proper letters of introduction could be
cause had not made any significant forward progress. In 1783 another grim milestone in the abolitionist movement was marked, and it would further galvanize the abolitionists and begin to draw them together for their siege on this great human evil. It was on March 18 of that year that Olaudah Equiano came to Granville Sharp with a bloodcurdling tale of something that had happened more than a year before. It was just now making its way into the newspapers, and the agonizing and unbearable details
viciousness against the good doctor James Ramsay, whose essay on the horrors of West Indian slavery effectively launched the entire abolition campaign. He was personally despised by the slavers and had been singled out as their first target. So many savage untruths were said of him publicly that he was unable to refute them, especially given his ill health, and it is very likely that it was the stress of being subjected to such attacks that killed him. The leader in Parliament of the attack on
bill forward? Each year the defeat had been a surprise. Now, on February 18, Wilberforce again made his motion for abolition. And once again, the world-weary politicians yawned and prudently warned about the terrible dangers of being too hasty and recommended postponing all of this tiresome abolition business until the never-ending war had come to an end. The comments of one MP named Jenkinson about “suspending the question” until the end of the year seemed to set Wilberforce off, and he rose to
be creating, for so it would really be doing wherever the Slave Trade is extinct, this traffic in the persons of our fellow-creatures. We are much occupied with the grand object of prevailing on all the great European powers to agree to a convention for the general Abolition of the Slave Trade. Oh may God turn the hearts of these men! What a great and blessed close would it be of the twenty-two years’ drama! Lord Castlereagh, the foreign secretary, was already in France; if the French began to