A rhetorical analysis of William Wilberforce's first official proposal for the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/dj52w917t

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  • The abolition of the Atlantic slave trade was a long struggle in British Parliament between the slave trade defenders and the abolitionists. The Act of 1807 officially abolished the Atlantic slave trade, eighteen years after the initial abolition proposal to Parliament. William Wilberforce was a member of a committee that worked towards the abolition of the slave trade and the eventual emancipation of slavery. He also was a member of Parliament. Indeed, Wilberforce is most remembered for his committed perseverance on behalf of abolition. A literature review will describe the existing scholarship pertaining to the British antislavery movement and William Wilberforce. The literature review will also reveal that current scholarship does not specifically rhetorically analyze the first official proposal for abolition, presented by William Wilberforce on May 12, 1789. The analysis presented will identify how Wilberforce foregrounded the cultural norms of eighteenth century British culture and how he used refutative ironies to break apart the opposition's arguments against total abolition of the slave trade. Finally, evaluation of the analysis will support the hypotheses that William Wilberforce's May 12, 1789 proposal for the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade was the inception of debate and discussion on the abolition of the slave trade in Parliament.
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