What is slavery and why was it abolished?

This outstanding lesson is designed to be an introduction to Britain and the Slave Trade and help students understand not only the origins of slavery, but the difference between a wage earner and a slave and why slavery was eventually abolished. Now this might seem like a lot to ask, but this lesson has been carefully crafted and field tested by experienced teachers. The lesson opens by explaining the origins of slavery in classical times. It them moves on to compare and contrast the rights and freedoms of slaves with serfs, indentured servants and finally wage earners. This is all linked into the wider context of British history. The lesson then rounds off with a source analysis of Adam’s comments about slavery and why it was expensive, inefficient and costly compared to employing wage earners. This helps to provide a broad overview within which you can then explore the slave trade and its eventual abolition.

This lesson is suitable for the full range of ability. However, I have produced a simpler SEND card sort version which can be downloaded from my TES shop. When you purchase this resource you will be able to download a two page worksheet as well as a fourteen slide PowerPoint. The worksheet includes information, sources and activities. The PowerPoint includes aims, objectives, differentiated outcomes, starters, plenaries, templates, information slides, historical sources to support the lesson. Please see the detailed preview that I have uploaded.

The aims and objectives of this lesson are:

Theme: Rights & Freedoms
Know: What is the origins of slavery?
Understand: How has the way that people have been employed changed over time?
Evaluate: Why was slavery abolished?
Skills: Change & Continuity, Source Analysis, Cause, Consequence & Collaboration

WILF – What Am I Looking For?
Identify & describe: The origins of slavery and what is a slave?
Explain: What is the difference between a slave and a wage earner?
Analyse: Why was slavery abolished?

If you like this resource then why not check out my other resources on this topic in my TES shop, where many have been bundled together to provide you with further savings. You can also follow ‘The History Academy’ on Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube and Facebook for the latest updates or even to get in touch and chat about how you have used this resource or to ask questions. We aim to produce cheap and affordable resources for either the price of a good cup of coffee or a happy meal so that you can spend more time doing the things that you want.

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Kind Regards


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About this resource


Created: Aug 25, 2019

Updated: Sep 4, 2019


pptx, 5 MB



docx, 1 MB



JPG, 118 KB


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