Feed the hungry with just one click.
Help save the rain forest with just one click.
Help a child with just one click.
Donate free mammograms with just one click.
The Emancipation Act
Freedom, More or Less

On August 1, 1834, the Emancipation Act came into force, after fifty years of bitter debate in Britain over the morality and profitability of slavery. It did not abolish servitude, but it was the first significant promise of freedom.

This act did not make a difference to the more than half million slaves in Britain's Caribbean colonies, for although the Emancipation Act outlawed slavery in theory, the slaves had to wait another four years for the most elementary liberties.

The government was afraid of liberating half a million slaves without controls, while the planters did not want their estates to collapse, as forced labour would no longer be available.

The Emancipation Act simply transformed the slaves into apprenticed labourers for a further four to six years. The only slaves to be immediately free were those under six years old, while the incubus of slavery persisted for the others.
back to top

Books

British Slave Emancipation: The Sugar Colonies and the Great Experiment, 1830-1865, William A. Green. Clarendon Press, 1991.
Buy it in textbook binding: Amazon.com
Buy it in paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca

French Reaction to British Slave Emancipation, Lawrence C. Jennings. Louisiana State University Press, 1988.
Buy it in hardcover: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca

Guide for the Study of British Caribbean History 1736-1834 Including the Abolition and Emancipation Movements, Lowell Joseph Ragatz. Da Capo Press, 1932.
Buy it in hardcover: Amazon.com

Liberating the Family?: Gender and British Slave Emancipation in the Rural Western Cape, South Africa, 1823-1853, Pamela Scully. Heinemann, 1998.
Buy it in hardcover: Amazon.com
Buy it in paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca

Slavery, Abolition, and Emancipation: Black Slaves and the British Empire: A Thematic Documentary, Michael Craton, James Walvin, and David Wright. Longman Group United Kingdom, 1976.
Buy it in hardcover: Amazon.com

Search for 'slave emancipation' on Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.
back to top

Links