On this day two hundred years ago, February 23, 1807, a small man with a great mind and strong Christian convictions changed the world after years of struggle.
On this day, William Wilberforce saw his passion, the British Foreign Slave Trade Act, approved by the House of Commons in the United Kingdom’s Parliament after many years of rejection. Upon passage, and royal assent on March 25, 1807, the British Empire put its full legal and military weight behind ending the foreign slave trade.
Wilberforce was led by his Christian sense of human dignity and his passionate belief that Biblical truths would reject the inhuman treatment inflicted via the slave trade. But for Wilberforce’s actions, the foreign slave trade, particularly the slave trade between West Africa and the West Indies, would have continued unabated. After passage of the law, the British Empire engaged on a subject it has been reluctant to pursue.
A new movie comes out today abut Wilberforce’s struggle. If Amazing Grace is in your neighborhood, I encourage you to go see it.