Abolitionist Movement, reform movement during the 18th and 19th
centuries. Often called the antislavery movement, it sought to end the
enslavement of Africans and people of African descent. It also aimed to end the
Atlantic slave trade carried out in the Atlantic Ocean between Africa, Europe,
and the Americas.
The Quakers and the Society of Friends
The first whites to denounce slavery in Europe and the European colonies
were members of the Society of Friends—commonly known as Quakers.
Unlike the prevailing idea of the time that blacks were inferior to whites,
Quakers believed that all people, regardless of race, had a divine sparkinside them and were equal in the eyes of God.