William Wilberforce

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Wilberforce, William,

1759–1833, British politician and humanitarian. He was elected to Parliament in 1780 and during the campaign formed a lifelong friendship with William PittPitt, William,
1759–1806, British statesman; 2d son of William Pitt, 1st earl of Chatham. Trained as a lawyer, he entered Parliament in 1781 and in 1782 at the age of 23 became chancellor of the exchequer under Lord Shelburne.
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, whose measures he generally supported in the House of Commons. In 1785, during a tour of the Continent, he became converted to evangelicism—a decision that affected his entire outlook and caused him to withdraw from fashionable society. He pressed unsuccessfully for more humane criminal laws and, joining with Thomas ClarksonClarkson, Thomas,
1760–1846, English abolitionist. He devoted most of his life to agitation against slavery, and the voluminous information that he gathered on the slave trade helped to influence Parliament.
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 and others in the campaign for the abolition of the slave trade, was for 20 years parliamentary leader of this movement. He also organized (1802) the Society for the Suppression of Vice and took part in other evangelical activities for social improvement. Abolition of the slave trade by the British Parliament was achieved in 1807. When it became apparent that the measure would not cause the natural demise of slavery, Wilberforce directed his efforts to the suppression of the institution throughout the British Empire. A bill to this effect was passed a month after his death. Wilberforce wrote A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians (1797), a work that enjoyed wide popularity both in Britain and on the Continent.


See his correspondence (1840); biographies by R. I. and S. Wilberforce (1835), R. Coupland (1923, repr. 1968), and O. M. Warner (1962); study by G. Lean (1988).

References in periodicals archive ?
When in need of inspiration, remember William Wilberforce, a monument to perseverance.
And a government, that somehow thought the country wanted it to spend time abolishing the House of Lords when there was no consensus to do so, will see its zeal directed to the abolition of the terrible evil that William Wilberforce thought he had abolished for good way back in 1835.
Polly, 44, says it was an idea of the anti-slavery campaigner, William Wilberforce, which is behind the law of Ecocide that she submitted to the United Nations in 2010.
Of the men who made up this group William Wilberforce remains the best known and most written about.
I started off with a cartoon of William Wilberforce because we forget that at the time people took the mick out of him.
In the 2006 film Amazing Grace (directed by Michael Apted), loan Gruffudd makes a fantastic hero, standing a full eight inches taller than the real William Wilberforce and--to lapse shamelessly from objectivity--being rather more likely to set the hearts of ladies afire.
Bush signed the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 in an Oval Office ceremony Dec.
The 2007 bicentennial celebrating Britain's anti-slave trade act witnessed a spate of biographies of William Wilberforce (1759-1833), the British politician and philanthropist at the center of the antislavery campaign.
The massive anti-slave movement led by William Wilberforce, the Peasants' Revolt, the Tolpuddle Martyrs who gave us the trade union movement, suffragettes who gave the women the vote, and the Chartists who helped us on the road to democracy.
His story tells the tale of the anti-slavery activities of well known abolitionists Thomas Clarkson, William Wilberforce and religious leader John Wesley.
In 1779, William Wilberforce introduced a bill in Parliament that would outlaw the trade of African captives into slavery in the British possessions in the Caribbean.
Released in the 200th anniversary year of the passing of the Bill that outlawed the slave trade in Britain and its Empire, the film is a moving account of the life of anti-slavery pioneer William Wilberforce.