The British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society

The British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society

After West Indian slavery was abolished in 1833, the campaign turned to the wider world and the goal of Universal Emancipation. Veteran agitators Joseph Sturge, Lord Brougham and John Scoble launched the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society at a world convention in 1840.

Throughout its long history the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society was instrumental in framing Britain's diplomatic policy of promoting anti-slavery - a policy that projected moral authority over allies and rivals, through naval power and international tribunals.

The BFASS pushed for, and prepared the 1890 Brussels conference that divided Africa between the European powers, on the grounds of fighting Arab slavers. The Society was torn between its belief in the civilizing mission of Europeans, and its brief to protect Africans. Rubber slavery in the Belgian Congo, indentured 'coolies' in the Empire, and forced labor in British Africa tested the Society's goals of civilizing the world.



James Heartfield

Hardback • Hurst • Oxford UP
May 2016 £45.00 •$65.00
9781849046336 486pp

The modern-day successor to the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society,

Can be found here

Available from Hurst Publishers in the UK

Available from Oxford University Press in the US

Available from Amazon


Key figures in the Society


Contributors to the BFASS

The Aborigines' Protection Society

British Workers and the US Civil War

The Legacies of Slavery project at University College London

London, Sugar and Slavery at the Docklands Museum

International Museum of Slavery in Liverpool

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