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Last Updated: Tuesday April 03 2007 16:11 GMT

People power

Citizenship Government

Anti-slavery meeting in Exeter, 1841


People in the UK are marking the 200th anniversary of a ban on slave trading. The legislation was brought about with the help of a mass movement of ordinary people.

Students learn about the British ban on slave trading and compare it to high profile campaigns today. What motivates people to behave in this way? What do students want to change, and how would they go about doing this?

Learning aims
  • Overview of the slave trade
  • Role of popular action in ending the trade
  • Mass movements today

Which are the issues that you would stand up for? Look at some comments from our readers and see if the group agree that these issues are worth campaigning for.

Look at this example from Press packer Shetal who got involved in the Send My Friend to School campaign. Do students have any experience of feeling like this and getting involved in a big campaign?

Main activity

Imagine being kidnapped from your home, separated from your family and robbed of your identity. This was just the start of the ordeal for the tens of millions of African people transported to The New World as part of the slave trade.

Map of the journey taken by slaves

A campaign of mass action by ordinary people in the UK, and rebellions by enslaved Africans generated the political climate necessary for a ban.

To find out how ordinary people to got involved in changing the law in this way students can research the slave trade using our special section, and then answer our online quiz.


Why is it important to make a stand against injustice?

Teachers' Background

Here are some links for researching this issue.

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