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William Wilberforce

William Wilberforce


William Wilberforce was a British politician, philanthropist and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. A native of Hull, Yorkshire, he began his political career in 1780 and became the independent Member of Parliament for Yorkshire and a close friend of Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger.

In 1785 he underwent a conversion experience and became an evangelical Christian, resulting in changes in his lifestyle and in his interest in reform. In 1787 he came into contact with Thomas Clarkson and a group of anti-slave trade activists, including Granville Sharp, Hannah More and Lord Middleton. They persuaded Wilberforce to take on the cause of abolition; and he soon became one of the leading English abolitionists, heading the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade until the eventual passage of the Slave Trade Act in 1807.
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