The Eighteenth Century Abolitionism in Europe and the European Colonies were indeed almost as strong as that in the Americas. In Europe, Great Britain had the strongest abolitionist movement. The major turning point in its development came in 1787 when Evangelical Christians joined Quakers in establishing the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Led by William Wilberforce, an Evangelical member of the British Parliament, and Thomas Clarkson, a Quaker skilled in mass organization, the society initiated petition drives, mass propaganda efforts, and lobbying in an attempt to end British involvement in slave trafficking. Although opposed by English merchants, West Indian planters, and King George III—who equated abolitionism with political radicalism—the society nevertheless managed to achieve its goal. In 1807 the British Parliament abolished the slave trade and the British, through diplomacy and the creation of a naval squadron to patrol the West African coast, began forcing other European nations to give up the trade as well.
Abolitionism fared less well in continental Europe in the 18th century. Antislavery societies in continental Europe were narrow, ineffective, elitist organizations. In France, Jacques Pierre Brissot, a supporter of the French Revolution, established the Société des Amis des Noirs (Society of the Friends of Blacks) in 1788, but this group failed in its effort against the slave trade. Despite its complete lack of success, the French antislavery effort was the strongest in continental Europe. In essence the Eighteenth Century Abolitionism in Europe and the European Colonies were one of mixed effectiveness as some countries fared better than others in terms of achieving their goals.