The Fight: Consumer Action

Kritika J.

What exactly is the 'action'?

  • The Consumer Action was a boycott where people didn't use anything produced from slave labor (sugar, tobacco, indigo, rum, etc.) .
  • People who supported it often bought these goods from an alternative source.
  • It was followed to protest the Slave Trade, but mainly the abolition of slavery.
  • The outcomes were better than expected.

How did this help the American democracy progress?

The Consumer Action helped the abolition cause as it made people realize that they had the power to make great changes. After the Parliament rejected the abolition bill, the populace took the matter into their own hands; they boycotted slave-labor produced goods. Within just months, the sales dropped by one-third, which sprouted confidence and unified the abolitionists as one. Many decided to aggressively fight, and because of all pressure being put on the importing of sugar, the Slave Trade finally slowed down.

It all began with...

  • The boycott began when Quakers in America started it.
  • The Quakers encouraged people in Britain to follow them.
  • After Parliament disregarded the abolition bill, the people of Britain were on-board with the boycott as well.

Hard-core boycotting

  • In order to get thousands of people to support it, propaganda was used. Abolitionists knew that the more people there were, the more powerful the voice was. Writers wrote convincing pamphlets and spread the word.
  • Women associations were the backbone of the movement.
  • Soon, about 300,000 families boycotted the West-Indies sugar or bought it from an alternative source.
  • Aside from sugar, people didn't use cotton, indigo, tobacco, etc.
  • Shopkeepers didn't keep sugar produced from slave-labor, and they specified the certain brands if they did.
  • Soon, grocers reported that the sales of sugar dropped by one-third in just a few months.


  • After boycotting for a long time, plantation owners in the West Indies were outraged. Their profits weren't nearly as high as usual.
  • The Slave Trade, did, indeed, slow down, benefiting the slaves the most.
12 years a slave - choir song - ''roll jordan roll'' 2013