Explaining Costly International Moral Action: Britain's Sixty-Year Campaign against the Atlantic Slave Trade Author

(s): Chaim D. Kaufmann and Robert A. Pape Source: International Organization, Vol. 53, No. 4 (Autumn, 1999), pp. 631-668 Published by: The MIT Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2601305 . Accessed: 16/09/2011 14:26
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Moral ExplainingCostlyInternational Campaign Action:Britain'sSixty-year Slave Trade AgainsttheAtlantic
ChaimD. Kaufmann Robert Pape and A.

Whendo states international moralactions? Although states, private pursue costly international and Nations often engageinrelatively inexpensive charities, theUnited almost never pursue moral such aid relief, states efforts, as development or disaster inmoreexpensive international moralgoals requiring costs significant in national to The security. United States passedup theopportunity come,lives,orrisks national and from Somalia after losingthelives of eighteen to bombAuschwitz withdrew and to is soldiers, no one did anything save Cambodia.This question particularly suchas ethnic cleansing and important todayas theworldfacesmoralchallenges, to authoritarian human abuses.Thesechallenges likely be especially are costly rights rather andrisky becausethey state or confronting governmentslocalwarlords require than or impersonal natural forces poverty. In thisarticle developa theory costly of international moral action investiby we in Britain's effort to the history: examplerecorded modern gating mostexpensive the slavetrade from 1807 until final successin 1867.Britain carsuppress Atlantic its of riedoutthiseffort despite domination boththeslave tradeand worldsugar West In production, which was basedon slavelabor. 1805-1806thevalueofBritish of incomeof Great Indiansugarproduction equaled about4 percent thenational the sacrificed theseinterests, the Britain. efforts suppress slave trade Its to brought more into with Atlantic maritime and powers, costBritain country conflict theother 2 of income lives as well as an averagenearly percent national thanfivethousand for annually sixty years. in relations twoOf the three mostimportant traditions international theory, and on material interests therefore realism liberal and institutionalism-focusstates' moral action be cannot offer muchadviceon howcostly international might accomLilach Gilady, Norberto are Ourthanks owed to Mlada Bukovansky, Evangelista, DeSousa, Matthew BruceRussett, Allan BruceMoon,Norrin Alexandra Sean Kay,John Mearsheimer, Ripsman, Guisinger, Wendt helpful for comments Van Andrew Stephen Evera,andAlexander Stam, Stigler, Bradley Thayer, Institute Peace; theRockefeller of andadvice.Research this for article supported theUnited was States by and for Princeton andDickeyCenters, Dartmouth University; College;theCenter International Studies, for theGipson Institute Eighteenth-Century Studies, Lehigh University. International 1999,pp. 631-668 Organization 4, Autumn 53, ? 1999byThe 10 Foundation theMassachusetts of and Institute Technology

632 International Organization plished.The third, constructivism, morepromise offers because it focuseson the waysin whichpolitical discourse shape states'conceptions their can of interests; indeed, distinct a constructivist approach international to moralaction emerging. is However, whilethelogic of thisapproach does notimply limit thescale of any on goalsthat might achieved, be most constructivist empirical work focuses explainon ingmoral efforts had low material that costsand so maynotidentify conditions the under which states takeon much will more expensive moral projects. Absent testing, we cannot knowwhether causessufficient explain to undemanding efforts likely are to be similar thosethat to couldexplain drastically moredemanding efforts, as such British or anti-slavery themost difficult today's of international challenges. moral of Ourinvestigation British anti-slavery that finds existing theories notexplain do thecase. Constructivist accounts international of moralaction focusheavily the on ethical beliefsthrough interaction. spreadof cosmopolitan transnational However, themobilization British for of abolitionists their cause as wellas their willingness to less by other-regarding than accepthighcostsweredriven cosmopolitanism by a and to their parochial religious political imperative reform domestic society; suppressionoftheslavetrade one part a wider of to was in program rootoutcorruption all of Transnational efforts persuasion political at and assistance aspects English society. no domestic coalition whicharenotemphaplayedvirtually role,whereas politics, sizedintheexisting roleat several theories, playeda decisive points. moralaction.First, This case suggests two lessonsforcostlyinternational we Even whenan international moralcause enjoys cannot leave outdomestic politics. its strong support, chancesof beingenactedas statepolicymayoften dependon the one facwhether domestic balanceof political powerforces of themainstream the Secondand moreimportant, tionsintoa "saintly logroll"with moralactivists. theBritish case offers possibleanswer thepuzzle of whycostlyinternational a to the to univermoral action so rare. is Perhaps levelofcommitmentanother-regarding to costsfor moral a salist ethic wouldbe needed motivate society accept that to a high effort is neveravailable.Thus costly to designed benefit onlyforeigners virtually when emerges an included of it action as international moral maybe most likely part a program aimedmainly domestic at moral reform. we is Our analysis dividedintofourparts. First, explainwhywe shouldstudy the effort suppress slavetrade specify costsBritain to the and Britain's paid.Second, as for we evaluate major the to relations approaches international theory explanations of British including motivathe the Britain's behavior. we Third, explain outcome the case, ofthe we a tions the of major actors thedeterminants keydecisions. and Fourth, develop and newtheory costly of international action discuss moral possible testing strategies moral andimplications thelikelihood future for of international action.

Why Study the British Case? the first To formulatetheory costly a of international moral action bestcase to study bethe slave trade, is Great Britain's effort from 1807 to 1867 to suppress Atlantic

Explaining Costly MoralAction 633 cause ithas themostextreme value on thedependent variable: mostexpensive the international effort modern moral in world history, most thecostpaidbyone with of country. secondreason study case is that mayalso be themostsuccessful, A to this it atleastinitseventual results. permanently It transformed a major international moral norm, virtually eliminatingpreviously a important branch international Deof trade. in spitesomeinternational ofwomen SouthandSoutheast sales Asia,trade slaves in remains close to zerotoday. this In part define we costly international moral action, measure overallcost to Britain thesuppression the of effort (including lives lost, national security risks, economic and costs),and showthat costsof other the wellknown moral actions notapproach do of those Britain's anti-slave trade campaign.

Definition MoralAction of We define international action onethat an moral as advances moral a rather principle thana selfish interest. moralactions, involve Manyor mostinternational however, mixedmotives; moralaction part a policythat also designed advance of the is is to selfish interests as theacting such state's wealth power. atleastsomesuchcases or In themoral maybe nothing act than sideeffect thepursuit interest-or a of more of a coverfor it. rhetorical To avoidconfusion define we whatwe call a costly international moralactionas onethat notonly is on but explicitly justified moral grounds also,on balance, injures of thematerial interests thecitizens theacting of suchas wealth, oflife, loss or state, national In or security. addition many most citizens should recognize thepolicy that has costs,even if their estimates magnitude vague.An examplewouldbe of are untied of development whichunliketied aid has littleexpectation returning aid, ' commercial benefits thedonor.Similarly, to humanitarian interventions military by with or in states little no strategic economic or interest theparticular would dispute whereas thosethat also involved interests wouldnot.Thus national qualify, security WorldWarII does not theUnitedStates'liberation occupiedcountries of during in observers U.S. intervention Kosovo meetsthis qualify; disagreeas to whether standard. that Within state, cannot the we reasonably require thecostsofthemoral foreign be acrossall sections society, itshould leastbe thecase of but at policy spread evenly that most the important political groups-andespecially policy'sstrongest supportas costsshared society a whole.If a ers-pay at leastsomeof thenetmaterial by all or small groupmanagedto shift others of thecosts of thepolicy, even to to on of rather a than wouldbe better described a hijacking thestate as profiteer it,that to moral action. supporters themoral The of are genuine policy, however, likely gain do. of domestic sincethewinners anypolicycontest political influence, typically material benefits so Therefore, longas thesupporters' political gainsdo notalso yield

1. Lumsdaine usesa similar definition. Lumsdaine 1993,29.

634 International Organization costs,we cannot excludesuch shareof theoverall material sufficient erasetheir to moral action.2 awaythepossibility costly of cases; todo so woulddefine CostsoftheBritish Effort Suppression slave trade In British anti-slavery meetsthisstandard. theearly1800stheAtlantic and other WestIndiansugar was flourishing neverbefore, weretheBritish as as on their laborsupply. During 1790s,771,000slaves the colonies that depended itfor and the States, wereimported theEuropean coloniesin theWestIndies, United into producpeakin the1780s,andin 1805sugar Brazil, justslightly belowtheall-time Empire dominated trades; both of The tion reached newhigh 310,000,tons.3 British a between 1791 and 1805,and 52 of British shipscarried percent slavestransported British coloniesalso produced percent theworld'ssugarin 1805-1806-and 55 of WestIndiantradewas worth At bothpercentages wererising. thistimeBritain's with with empire, the evenaboveitstrade Ireland.4 trade more than ofitsother all the two the Parliament abolished slavetrade through billsin Nevertheless, British stateto emancipate own its becamethefirst 1806 and 1807, and in 1833 Britain follow initial British that nations wouldquickly expectations other slaves.However, For all were suitweredisappointed.5 sixty yearsalmost of thecostsof suppression to borneby Britain, whichtooktheinitiative cajole, bribe,and,wherepossible, all It nations compliance. also provided into coercetheother nearly of slave-trading thenavalstrength neededto policeslave trade maintaining squadrons suppression, for purpose. and off West South DespiteagreeAmerica, intheCaribbean this Africa, it in found easy ment several states various at times stoptrading slaves,slavers to by withtheresult thatthetradecontinued to simply shift from one flagto another, acrossthe unabated. average 525,000slavesperdecadewereshipped An of almost from to the slavetrade Atlantic 1811to 1850.In theendtheeffort suppress Atlantic states mainremaining wouldlast sixty the slave-importing either yearsuntil three to their bans own did their emancipated slaves,as France in 1848,ordecided enforce British coeras onfurther imports, Brazildidin 1850 andCuba in 1867,bothunder 80 efforts accounted eliminating for British cion.In theend direct approximately French and with rest the eliminated of through independent percent theslavetrade, to slaves.6 American decisions stopimporting for Because in Persistence the anti-slavery policywas veryexpensive Britain. in of decision 1807 and others notfollowBritain's did lead,theeffect itsabolition
all by it moralaction a state, does notanswer questions our can 2. Thus,although definition identify supporters. motives domestic of about possible mixed which withdrew from all except Haiti, 3. Thisrepresents record levelsfor ofthemajorslaveimporters, 1977, in after revolt 1791.See Tomich1990, 15; Eltis 1987,248-49; andDrescher a theslaveeconomy 71,78. in overseastradepeakedat 21 percent 1803-07. See WestIndies' shareof Britain's 4. The British 1977,15-37. Anstey 1975,38-57; andDrescher in no States banned imports 1808buttookalmost stepsto stoptheuse ofitsflagin the 5. The United 1929,27. trade until 1862.Mathieson 6. See Eltis1987,249; andBethell1970,254-66.

Explaining Costly MoralAction 635 in emancipation decision 1833was tocutoff itself, notothers, but from economic the benefits theslavetrade slavelaborforthenextseveral of and decades.ThusBritain suffered absolute relative both and economic losses.Mostserious, British efforts to the suppress slave trade metwith suspicion from other the majormaritime powers, especially France theUnited and States, leading a series foreign to of policy disputes thatinvolved least some riskto British at national security. Finally, number a of British and lost lives. sailors, soldiers, civilian officials their Lives. The organization suffered heaviest that the losses,mainly from disease,in anti-slavery efforts theRoyal Navy's WestAfricaSquadron, was whichoperated from1819 to 1869 and had virtually other no mission. The Caribbean and South American also had some losses connected anti-slave to trademissions. squadrons Deathrates werealso highamong army the garrisons Sierra at Leone andelsewhere inWest Africa, numerous in inland expeditions, among and of officials theCourt of MixedCommission Sierra at Leone. Overall, slavetrade the effort cost suppression about5,000British lives.7 The equivalent a country size oftheUnited for the States wouldbe about55,000lives. today the Nationalsecurity. Attimes anti-slavery into Britain conflict campaign brought with other the maritime FranceandtheUnited who major powers, especially States, saw British as British control overoceanic anti-slavery patrols coverforextending trade. Thisled to difficultiesBritish in with relations eachofthese includcountries, the in ingwarscareswith United States 1841 andwith Spainin 1853;disputes with in theUnited States overCuba,SantoDomingo, Central and America the1850s;and a short against war Brazilin 1850.8 The single mostserious consequence Britain's for national security resulted from in the Rightof Searchcontroversy France,whicherupted 1841 because of with French overtheRoyalNavy'sstopping French merchantmen under popular anger of in an 1831mutual search was to agreement; 1845Britain forced agreetosuspension of theagreement. dispute, turn, This in of contributed theinability Britain to and France repair to their Entente of had beenshaken when Cordiale 1830,which already France Britain and sidesinthe1840Eastern Crisis overEgyptian supported opposite in The loss influence Syria. relations remained Anglo-French poorforseveral years. ofFranceas an allyforced Britain seekan alliancewith to Russiain 1845,which it otherwise wouldhavepreferred avoidbecauseRussiawas itsmostserious to ideoThisalliance, turn, in Warby rival. contributed theCrimean to logicalandstrategic the Tsar encouraging NicholasI to act moreconfidently against Ottoman Empire thanhe probably wouldhave had he understood Britain, that its despite relatively him with wouldsideagainst overtheStraits poorrelations France, dispute.9

7. See Mathieson 1929,52-56; andLeVeen1977,79. 8. See Soulsby1933,51-53; andCorwin1967,112-13. 9. See Jennings 1988,146-55;Curtiss 1979,31; andBullen1974.

636 International Organization which previously had domiEconomiclosses. Anti-slavery forced British interests, for natedboththeslave tradeand thesupplyof goods exchanged slaves in West French, Africa, giveup thosemarkets, to whichwerepickedup by theAmericans, and others. at for Spanish, Moreimportant, a timewhenworlddemand sugarwas to production while rising continuing imports and slave allowedcompetitors expand in reducing costs,Britain's abolition efforts causedproduction itsownWestIndian abolition the of coloniestodecline coststorise.In thefirst and years thirty-five after slavetrade, British WestIndiansugar fell 25 whereas production bynearly percent, in 210 percent. Britain's production competing slave economies roseby morethan share world of fell 55 in by sugar production from percent 1805to 15 percent 1850.10 costsfrom antithe all of suffered economic net Virtually elements British society the middle-class Protestant Dissentslavery effort, certainly including mainly urban, British taxpayers for paid erswhoformed coreof theabolitionist the movement.11 for consumers higher prices sugar other and government efforts against slavery; paid who traded and manufacturers, and merchants, bankers tropical produce; shippers, also withtheWestIndiancoloniesor withAfricalost business;their employees British often suffered. addition, many In for merchants facedpopular hostility years inCuba,Brazil,andother slaves.'2 regions continued import that to in to Although Dissenters achieve did political gainsattributablepart anti-slavery, promised them either most theissueson which of they confronted establishment the The no obvious or rates. only economic benefits onlytiny benefits, as on church such issue in dispute and between Dissenters the (and themiddleclass generally) the was but establishment had genuinely that largeeconomic implications freetrade, conflicted anti-slavery,we explain with as later. Perhaps pursuit this of goal actually theonlypeoplein theentire whobenefited weretheslavesthemselves and empire the EastIndian Egyptian who with WestIndian and agricultural producers competed the slavecolonies. estimate overall We economic toBritish cost metropolitan society of incomeoversixty of theanti-slave tradeeffort roughly percent national at 1.8 from 1808to 1867(see Table 1). years to International MoralActions Comparison Post-1945 whencompared Mostinternational moral with British the campaign against efforts, of or theslavetrade, efforts behalf refugees war, on of havenotbeencostly; famine, incomes the of sumsin relation thenational to natural disaster cost typically trivial almost noneof their and donor citizens, mostly wealthy countries, place in danger risks. involve no virtually international security is of Thenearest to of modern analogue thesuppression theslavetrade thepractice so a international development whichsince 1949 has becomeregularized, that aid,
10. See Drescher 1977,78; Tomich 1990,15,24; andEltis1987,6. and 11. Williams argues that sugar islandslavery actually decline that was in and abolition emancipationserved progress British the of capitalism. Williams1944.This "declinethesis"is nowregarded as discredited. Temperley See 1977;Anstey 1975,50-52; Drescher 1977;andEltis1987. 12. See Temperley 1985;andEltis1987,60.

Explaining Costly MoralAction 637

the 1808-67 CoststoBritain suppressing slave trade, for
Percentage national of income (yearly average) 0.05 0.09 0.08 0.55 0.17 0.54 0.23 0.24 1.78

Sourceofloss Suppression effort, including diplomatic, legal,andnavalcosts Emancipation indemnity planters to Lostcustoms revenues Slave trade, including supplies slavetraders to Reducedexports West to Africa Reducedexports British to WestIndies Sugar-carrying trade Higher sugar prices British for consum'ers Total and Source:Kaufmann Pape 1999.

.E -EEi... -..

~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~~ ...... ....
E E-E E ........EEE ..... . ; -E fi--E ..

. ... .;....


anti-slavery ~~~~~~British

untied aid Average Norwegian development aid Average OECD untied development 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2.0

of income Percentage national

moralefforts Costsofpersistent international

for Untied number countries given of have fifty development every year nearly years. countries and aid byOrganization Economic for averaged Cooperation Development tied of 0.23 percent GNP from 1975 to 1996 (0.33 percent including aid); themost of of donor generous country, Norway, gave an average 1.00 percent GNP,roughly of efforts. the 0.81 percent untied.13 magnitudes these Figure1 illustrates relative

International RelationsTheoryand British Anti-slavery
Realism of the to Froma realist viewpoint mostobviousreaction justification anyforeign is to see themoral claimas a deceptive coverfora on policyaction moral grounds
13. See Lumsdaine 1993,48, 106-107,255,263; andOECD 1990-98.

638 International Organization
14 In policyactually driven self-interest. fact, by American, French, other and observersdidat times suspect British anti-slave trade efforts, especially pressure rights for to search suspected slaveships, actually as aimedatincreasing British control the of seas. The outerconstraint realist on theories' toleration moralactionis thatthey for must incur riskto thestate'ssecurity. not any Specifically, states shouldalwaysbe deterred from pursuing moralgoal to thepointof offending statethathas a any significant military powerandwhosealliancechoicein a future might war conceivStatesshouldalso notacceptanyadverseshift relative in ablybe affected. wealth, becauseeconomic poweris thebasis of military power. Together theseimperatives imposealmostimpossibly difficult requirements costlyinternational for moralaction:first, important all the be military powers must participate; second, costsmust shared them.15 equallyamong

efforts notyieldBritain did Absenceof countervailing benefits. Anti-slave trade in material either wealth power. or someadvocates anynoticeable benefits, Although ofsuppression in argued thepolicywouldhelpexpand that British trade with Africa 16 did other Britain acquire series navalbases did a of goods,this notoccur. Although inWest these hadvirtually utility no their against use Africa, beyond slavery, being thousands milesawayfrom sea routes of the between Europeandthevaluablecoloin nies and markets theCaribbean, North America, Brazil,and India.The stations yielded little no netcommercial or benefit; first tobe gained heldsignifithe spot that the cantfuture economicpotential was Lagos in 1861.7 Arguably, WestAfrican in stations someusefulness during "scramble Africa" the1880s, the for acquired later, but could as potential and intotheinterior, thisbenefit coalingstations entry points in nothavebeenforeseen 1807oreven1860. the moralaction? A possible realist for Exporting costsofdomestic explanation not British efforts suppress slave trade others to the of (although foritsown withfrom trade foremancipation) that the or is Britain to the drawal sought reduce costs in ofitsownmoral action denying slavestoitscompetitors production tropical of by produce. In fact thetime on Britain by beganexerting heavypressure therestof theslave in in trade thelate1830s,themaineconomic effect further of reductions theavailabilfor that ityofslavelaborwouldhavebeenhigher prices tropical produce wouldnot of Almost onlygroup the havebeenin theinterest mostsegments British of society.

useful, morally driven 14. Traditional realists argued although that moral arguments couldbe tactically foreign policy wouldbe fundamentally misguided. Morgenthau 1948. it to of coalition; 15. Ifevenonepower notparticipate,wouldgainrelative themembers themoral did the realist approaches thusshould prohibit evena jointAnglo-French-American to suppress slave effort trade becauseoftherelative gainstouninvolved powers suchas Prussia, Russia,andAustria. 16. Mitchell Deane 1962,311,366. and a 17. Lloyd 1968, 149-62. In thedays of sail, thesea routeto India followed wide arc acrossthe Atlantic theBrazilian the to coastandthen backtoward southern ofAfrica. tip

Explaining Costly MoralAction 639 thatwouldhave benefited was significantly theWestIndianplanters, who by this time no political had influence.18 As for international relative gains, thelate1830stheonly by remaining significant slave importers Cuba and Brazil.Cutting slave imports thesecountries were off to sooner wouldprobably havedamaged their economies relative Britain's, there to but is little evidence that British policymakers wereconcerned aboutgainsrelative to suchweakstates. Did Britonsrealizethecostsofanti-slavery? British anti-slavery couldbe consistent if withrealism it weresimply mistake-that if British a is, elitesand the publicwereunawarethattheir choicesharmed their material interests. Although abolitionist leadersdid usuallyminimize prospective the costs of each new step, of in opponents anti-slavery alwaysenergetic publicizing were them, costestiand mates disinterested wereusually thepessimistic on side.19 elites abolitionby Further, ist overoptimism repeatedly was abolition thetrade not of did exposedby events: nor improve slaveconditions, did apprenticeship; countries notcooperate other did in suppressing trade evenrespect the or Britain's efforts; free-grown and sugar was notas cheapas slave-grown. Thereis strong evidence that Britons understood theanti-slavery that effort was at of that expensive. First, leastsomesupporters abolition explicitly recognized they wouldpayfor One 1789petition it. from Sheffield cutlers that said eventhough 769 to to wereso convinced theinhumanity of of they expected lose exports Africa, they theslave trade that it of wanted eliminated. Numerous theurbanartisan and they who must in interests petitioned haveseenthemselves thesameposimanufacturing in tion. EvenLiverpool, center theslaveandWestIndiatrades, 1806replaced the of MP itslong-time General Banastre Tarleton, famous a voicefor WestIndiainterthe a candidate.20 est,with pro-abolition in Second,the?20,000,000 indemnity appropriated 1833 to compensate planters foremancipation considered shocking was a sumfora British Parliament preoccuIn wheretaxeswerealready pied witheconomy. an environment highbecauseof debt of to Britain's ?800,000,000 national (about percent GNP,compared roughly 225 were 65 percent theUnitedStatestoday)and bothMPs and popularagitators for off was to a callingfortaxrelief, paying thisindemnity projected require 4 percent across-the-board risefor years.21 tax ten in the the debates oversugar duties theearly1840sshowed BritThird, extensive freelaborwas less efficient slave labor.Protecting than ish publicthat free-grown and consumers averageof between million ?5.5 an ?5 (British) sugarcostBritish Britons for 1835 to 1846-a costthat million yearfrom per accepted elevenyears

slavetrades this for the aggressive efforts suppress foreign to did 18. The WestIndiainterest support 1944,175. reason. Williams 19. Anstey 1975,368-69. 20. Rose 1911,459. 1995,35; andGreen1976,119. 21. See Hyam1993,79; Butler

640 International Organization before dutieswereequalized.22 the Britons also paid morefortropical goods both before and after theseyearsthanif theBritish WestIndieshad been allowedto to continue import slaves. on Finally, several occasionsBritish elitesweremadeawarethat slavetrade suppression offended important naval powerssuch as theUnitedStatesand France. From1840 to 1845 French newspapers wereroutinely of accusations full against Britain's motives attacking slavetrade; 1845 several in the in warned in case of that warBritain wouldstir slaverevolts French in up colonies. William Hutt askedCommonsin 1845howBritons wouldfeelif"British vessels, engaged smuggling, in had beenchased, burnt, sunk, runashore American Russianshipsofwar?"23 or by or LiberalInstitutionalism Liberalinstitutionalism, realism, like on concentrates explaining based materially behavior so cannot and the of toward explain sources motivations international moral action. Institutionalist somewhat more the approaches however, are, about optimistic of possibility suchmotives beingtranslated stateactionbecausethey into holdout more the hopeofsolving necessary international An cooperation problems. international institution embodied moral the that norm couldraisetheprobability action of intwoways.First, couldreduce it suspicions states' that moral actions wereactually covers self-interest. for burden to free-rider Second,itcouldmonitor sharing reduce problems. Institutionalist approaches, however, cannot the helpus understand suppression of theslave trade, since Britain's effort not supported existing was international by norms institutions instead and but was carried in opposition them. out to Norms of state and of of sovereignty, especially freedom theseas,prevented Britain from simplyapplying overwhelmingly its superior navalpowerto stamp theslavetrade. out Theinternational ofthedayso favored law offree merchant rights passagefor ships that mostslave traders couldescape British interference simply changing by flags, until unlessBritain and couldobtain bilateral mutual search with agreements every other never maritime nation-which happened. the that wisdom internathat Further, British experience suggests theconventional tional to shouldenhance willingness individual the of states pay costs cooperation formoralactionmaynotbe right. Multilateral actionsnecessarily entailconcerns about burden that downward on to as sharing exert pressure willingness contribute, theissueforeach state becomesframed "Are we paying as morethanourshare?" the from or Paradoxically, absenceof cooperation others, even activeopposition, the in mayactually of helpto strengthen determinationa state engaged international moral if as iteventually in the did action theissuebecomesframed nationalistically, British showtheworld." case,as "We must

22. See Hyam1993,85; Porter 1843;andTemperley 1972,78. 23. Jennings 1988,145-67,200-201; quoted Temperley in 1972,177.

MoralAction 641 Explaining Costly Constructivist Theories Constructivist approaches, sincethey treat conceptions interest variableand of as changeable, farbetter are suited than realism liberalism explaining or to moralaction. Indeed, international moral action thesubject an important is of stream conof structivist there somevariation hypothesized in theorizing.24 Although is causalprocesses, two elements sharedby mostof thisliterature: are transnationalism and

Transnationalism. Mostconstructivist accounts international of moralactionfocus ondiffusion principled of ideas,especially transnationally: "Preferences not may be inherent states maynotbe weddedtomaterial in and conditions.... Other actors are setting and shaping interests states."26 greatest of The agendas, defining tasks, emphasis been on therole of nongovernmental has "transnational advocacynetworks"that assisteach other influencing in bothby helping domestic states target groups transform to publicandeliteopinion policy and agendas wellas byactivatas inginternational governmental organizations other and states exert to external presA related feature constructivist of explanations international of moralactionis low to of state. Mostfocuson one relatively attention thedomestic politics thetarget of twopathways whichprincipled by ideas couldbe converted statepolicies. into One ofthese simply theprincipled maydiffuse is idea that so through society widely then that becomesa generally it which influences Another accepted norm, policy.28 in concerns effects" which moral whofind their own "boomerang policyadvocates states societies or use transnational to unresponsive "end runs"involving linkages in advocates other who their and institustates, then pressure ownstates international In tions coercetheoriginal to state intocompliance.29 contrast, that target pathways on more between morally a committed and depend coalitions minority other, powerin fuldomestic factions who see their interests other terms have received political little relatively attention.

1993; Lumsdaine 1993; Klotz 1995a; D'Anjou 1996; Finnemore 24. See Nadelmann 1990; Jackson 1998. 1996a,69-88; Finnemore 1996b;andKeck andSikkink internal sources issueareas, suchas national security, emphasizes 25. Someconstructivist inother work 1993;andCheckel influence. Katzenstein See 1996;Berger ofideational change more than transnational 1997. 26. Finnemore 1996a,11-12. 1996a,73-82; and 1998, 12-26, 206-209; Finnemore 27. See Nadelmann 1990; Keck and Sikkink Thomas1993,83. role than do 28. Lumsdaine that"broadworldwide sympathies" a larger in aid decisions play argues that domestic politics interests. 1993,179. Klotzargues evena "well-specified particularistic Lumsdaine the Rather, keyis remains insufficient explaining for U.S. sanctions against SouthAfrica." explanation consensus on constrains choices."Whena newdomestic that "thelegitimation certain of goalsandmeans norms. Klotz1995b, norms become constrained actinwaysconsistent those to with emerges, governments 458,462. 29. See KeckandSikkink 1998,12-13; andKlotz1995a,165.

642 International Organization feature constructivist of theories moral of Cosmopolitanism. A secondcommon policyare usuallyconsistent witha actionis thattheprincipled ideas influencing human beingsare of equal inherent worth cosmopolitan moralethic-theidea that the to stem from their common andthat moral obligations individuals each other of in whichoverrides obligations narto membership thecommunity humankind, of class, race,or state. Further, moralactivists rower communities as a church, such ownparochial viewofthegoodis superior cannot operate theprinciple their on that to thevaluesof theothers whomtheyseek to help or impose"benefits" the that recipients notrecognize such.30 may as in Whereas political serves cosmopolitanism primarily a normative as philosophy of constructivist accounts international moral action employ as posiit theory, many tivetheory: ideasthat cosmopolitan content are in moral projects basedonprincipled arepredicted be easierto implement policythan to as projects based on more paroin chial ideals. Cosmopolitan ideals are claimedto have competitive advantages and discourse. to norms mayreduce capacity the moral political Appealing universal ofrecalcitrant to barriers transnational to influence basedon appealsto regimes erect or As interests. Ethan Nadelmann writes, narrower valuessuchas nationalism state "In virtually moral therelevant moral every case [oftransnational entrepreneurship], viewsare "cosmopolitan" nature.... Therein their in lies power, whereas for the . "state"bothpoliticizes and dehumanizes outsider,. . "cosmopolitan" the moral viewstranscend state, the the and the thereby depoliticizing individual emphasizing of of bonds.31 existence aninternational common moral society human sharing beings aid development "bothreflected furand David Lumsdaine argues international that of of thered recognition human the and solidarity, international community, worldMartha Finnemore "Once people wide moralresponsibilities."32 arguessimilarly: in there no logicallimit is to equality, beginto believe,at leastin principle, human and theexpansion human of rights self-determination."33 In principle, of and cosmopolitanism, the noneof theelements transnationalism, of to domestic politics maybe essential constructivneglect (material interest-based) moral in isttheorizing aboutinternational action; practice, however, theseelements In the we an modelof dominate existing literature. theconclusion suggest alternative to that rolesboth ideasandtodomesinternational action assigns moral major costly but on links ethics. ticpolitics doesnotrely transnational orcosmopolitan of moralactioncontains Giventhattheuniverse costlyinternational onlyone ask constructivist theories interof existing clearly qualified case,we must whether invesnational moral action be fairly can evaluated basedon an evenhighly detailed in the of instance yes,for reasons. is two one First, tigation that case.Theanswer this in case contains mostoftheantecedent conditions arecentral thecausal that British theories-the of had human concept universal dignity been logicoftheconstructivist
30. On cosmopolitanism, Beitz 1979;Goodin1988;andNussbaum see 1996. 31. Nadelmann 1990,483-84. 32. Lumsdaine 1993,290. 33. Finnemore 1996b,174. See also Donnelly1993, 30-32; Jackson 1993, 123-25; and Keck and Sikkink 1998,26-28, 204-205.

Explaining Costly MoralAction 643 gaining ground Western in moraldiscourse, transnational advocacynetworks were quiteactive, they use cosmopolitan and did moral reasoning promote to anti-slavery efforts; case should this therefore an easytest constructivist be for theories internaof tionalmoralaction.Second,although there no detailedstudy British is of antislavery from constructivist ofview,several a point authors this in literature claim do the that case supports theory.34 their British anti-slavery efforts a substantial pose challenge constructivist for theories ofinternational action, moral becausethese modelsshould expect case toexhibit the twofeatures itdoesnot. that First, British anti-slavery policyshould havebeendeterminedby the spreadwithin British societyof cosmopolitan ideals regarding the fundamental dignity equality people,until new moralconsensus and of a emerged thatwas strong enoughto drivestatepolicy.Second,the successof anti-slavery mobilization should havebeenoverwhelmingly not and home-grown self-contained, butrather of an international normative discourse which in transnational advopart all haveinfluenced, likely societies should and accelcacynetworks linking Western in the of efforts all ofthem. erated, progress anti-slavery In fact, British abolitionists driven were more parochial by religious political and than imperatives by cosmopolitan universalist or concems, and theysucceededin their getting policyagendaexecuted bycreating national less a moral consensus than becauseof luckin coalition-formation opportunities. Efforts transnational by advocatestoaccelerate pace ofBritish the less no anti-slavery on balance, than good. did,

There three be are that to British questions must answered explain anti-slavery policy of how did themoral or anyother instance costly international moralaction:First, to activists impulse originate, especially, werethemoral and, why prepared payhigh howweretheactual decisions pursue to the coststocarry their out program? Second, how did thefaction committed the to international moralproject made;especially, to moral from idealistic less factions prevail? Some of project gainenough support in themaindecision that are points listed Table2. Therearethree decisions must key of action this in be explained understand to British moral case: theabolition theslave in in tradein 1807, emancipation 1833, and Britain's persistence the slave-trade the werepolicy effort to suppression through 1840sandbeyond. Third, whatextent decisions influenced transnational interactions? by of thatBritish was the Our investigation finds anti-slavery primarily product a that beliefsand identified as movement heldparticular parochial religious slavery evils which wouldfacedivine oneofa setofinterconnected for England punishment ifleft the and nineteenth domestic uncorrected. During lateeighteenth early centulies,
1998,41-51. 1990,491-98; and Keck and Sikkink 34. See Finnemore 1996b,170-72; Nadelmann that of Ray Ray saysthat British abolition a result "moralprogress." 1989,411-13. D'Anjou argues was but to of itssuccesswas due to elitemanipulation massbeliefs, he does notassignweightings transnaversus domestic efforts. tional D'Anjou 1996.

644 International Organization slavery Mainparliamentary initiatives regarding


Initiatives pursuit anti-slaveiy in of 1791-1805 1806 1807 1811-28 1833 1838 1839 1845 Initiatives against anti-slavery 1841 1846 1850

to (all Severalmotions abolishslavetrade unsuccessful) to captured colonies Abolition slavetrade recently of of Complete abolition slavetrade measures Various enforcement Eventual emancipation Immediate emancipation of ships Unilateral search Portuguese of ships Unilateral search Brazilian duties (defeated) Motion equalizesugar to duties Equalization sugar of Motion withdraw to African squadron (defeatedt)

within and Britain to theriseofa number led of social,economic, religious changes program reform to English Protestant Dissenter sectscommitted a wide-ranging to At society, partof whichwas anti-slavery. the same time,the same societal one led balanceofpowerin British domestic politics, changes to a fine, evenprecarious held the so that several at Dissenters thebalanceofpowerbetween twomain points and on of of program. parties couldinsist enactment much their in British Our findings be summarized fourmainpoints. can First, anti-slavery networks was an inside-out, an outside-in not Transnational advocacy phenomenon. in politics. American had almost effect thetrajectory anti-slavery British no on of on ideas at thevery activists onlythemostminor had influence British abolitionist of mobilization noneat all on itssubsequent and political beginning theanti-slaveiy harmed its whereas British the movement actually was by successes, anti-slavery French connections. valuesplayeda muchsmaller rolein Blitishanti-slavery Second,cosmopolitan of action OnceBritons than constructivist theorists moral might expect. recogmany denied. nizedAfricans fellow as human their couldnotbe completely beings, dignity is "Saints"35 of of the However, actualcontent theanti-slavery program theBritish of than cosmobetter described aninstance cultural as imperialism ofother-regarding other nations British abolitionists hopedtopersuade politanism. Similarly, although in to cooperate anti-slavery by efforts, werein no waydeterred therealization they did their views. that Western many "peersocieties" notshare British were to the abolitionists willing acceptvery Third, reasons whyso many thousands miles away werenotbased on their of highcoststo correct injustices on moralcommunity, rather their but of to paroacceptance obligations a universal members themiddle of nachialidentities Protestant as class,andtheir Dissenters, comwith tional as identity Englishmen. Theysaw slavery, together theoverlapping
in in 35. Originallyderisive for trade a term thesmallanti-slave contingent theHouseofCommons the to 1790s,later applied abolitionists generally.

Explaining Costly MoralAction 645 plex of theplanters, aristocracy controlled the that British politicallife,and the hierarchy theestablished of Church a singlebodyofcorruption, as immorality, and arbitrary power that threatened soulsofall Englishmen hadtobe defeated the and in order redeem nation. to the Anti-slavery overseas was one component a program of forredemption home.The spiritual political at and stakesin this"struggle the for soul of England"were so greatthatany material losses seemedunimportant by the in Fourth, although Saintswerenevera majority British favorable politics, coalition dynamics several at points enabled them enact to their In program. 1807the aristocratic ruling elitesaw that Tory the satisfying Saints'demand abolition for of Britain's slavetrade wouldenhance their somewhat tarnished political legitimacy. In 1832Dissenters Saints and the provided decisive margin Whigvictory parliafor and them demand to mentary reform, allowing of coloemancipation Britain's remaining nial slaves.Throughout 1830s and 1840s,thecombination theusually the of close balanceof British and and politics thenumber mobilization skillsoftheDissenters made it saferforBritish to governments energetically pursuesuppression abroad than todo so. Bythe1840sthe not policy mayalsohavebeensustained institutionby and of alization, simple inertia, theidentification internationallytheprestige the of British state with anti-slavery. Ourassessment that, is the ofdomestic overall, configuration political power played themostimportant in determining role British behavior. The Dissenters' commitment anti-slavery bothreligious political to had and sources, without but favorable domestic circumstances British the statealmostcertainly political could nothave beenbrought payhigh to coststo execute anti-slavery the internaprogram. Finally, tionalpolitical constraints onlya veryslight had at of impact themargins British behavior. TheSourcesofBritish Anti-slavery of By themiddle theeighteenth had century, slavery longbeen seenas immoral by mostBritons theessentially on that the cosmopolitan grounds it violated basicright ofall mentoliberty. 1772court A case established anyslavewhotouched that British soil automatically becamefree, and attempts principled at defense slavery of died out.36 universalist was sufficientpersuade to However, although logic to Englishmen as this regard slavery immoral, did nottranslate a willingness takeaction. into to Prior theearly1780sthere no significant to was for either constituency action against theslavetrade overseas or slavery. core was from numa Religionand anti-slavery. The abolitionists' support drawn berof Protestant Dissenter movements grewin theeighteenth earlyninethat and teenth centuries satisfy needsoftherising to the urban middle classeswhofelt alienatedfrom Established the Church. Theseincluded oldernonconformist suchas sects
36. Anstey 1975,92-125.


646 International Organization as and Dissenters (Unitarians), well Quakers, Baptists, Congregationalists, Rational "evanand Methodist sects. Thereformist as thenewer Methodist Connection other Church supported also anti-slavery.37 gelical"faction within established the approached majority England, 1807the a in by Although Dissenter the sectsnever and totaled about3.5 percent three largest (Methodists, Congregationalists, Baptists) oftheadult 6 by 1830s.Prior 1832,Dissentto population about percent themidand were ershadlittle However, becausenonconformists espeaccesstopolitical power. farmers, middle classes,artisans, yeoman and ciallyconcentrated amongtheurban comprised of Reform Bill,after 1832they many whom gainedthevotebytheGreat 21 power anestimated percent theelectorate often thebalanceofpolitical of and held between major the parties.38 order all that a TheProtestant Dissenter movements believed God's planfor divine must relyon on earth revealed is the faculty reason.Individuals of through human their ownreason, on fallible authorities and (suchas Church hierarchy) pursue not becauseitkept Africans, who Slavery was condemned their ownmoral betterment. the as God's children also possessreasonand therefore potential grace,from for salvation. John As religious Wesley-theleaderofthelargest evangelical achieving in in on Connection-argued his Thoughts Slamovement England, Methodist the if in was natural [with] justice"andthat the very 1774,slave-holding "inconsistent couldnotbe worked otherwise werebetter all thoseislandsshould that "it tropics remain uncultivated forever."39 of as of recognition Africans children God can Although Dissenter abolitionists' be described cosmopolitan, as their for slaves was not.Rather, program liberated derived from a visionwhoseauthority they sought imposeon theworld particular to in of abolia parochial belief their ownsuperior understandingGod's will.Dissenter they sought for, cultures; instead, tionists little had knowledge orrespect African of, their of and toelevate ownmodels piousChristians responignorant savagestomeet siblecitizens, wellas docile,productive as workers.40 zeal stamped Whypay highcostsforanti-slavery? TheDissenters' tosee slavery of as out at almostanycostrested their on perception Englishsociety besetby a and of multitude interconnected corruption, religious oppression evils,including in rule withtheir autocratic at home,and slavery thecolonies, particular together but not them individuals belief an activist whowouldpunish only in God as religious for to these evils.41 also England a nation failing combat as

1995,2:441. 37. See Drescher 1987,esp. 115;Semmel1973,124-36; andWatts was aristocratic, 75.1 century nonconformism 0.0 percent of 38. The class makeup earlynineteenth The corresponding laborers, "others." and farmers, and percent middleclass and artisan, 24.9 percent respectively. Anstey See and 34.4 as figures society a wholewere1.4 percent, percent, 64.2 percent, for 1976,31-39,63-67. 1981,51; andGilbert 1975, 159, 193-95.Wesleyquotedin 1991,18-25; andAnstey 39. See Brinton 1973,26-32; Turley Semmel1973,95. 40. Temperley 1980,335-50. see nationalism, Colley1992. religiosity English and between Protestant 41. On theconnection

MoralAction 647 Explaining Costly the that so that existence Manynonconformists believed sinswereinterconnected, argued corrupt Englishinstitutions. all Unitarians of slavery wouldprogressively that encolonies, theluxuries Britons and that growing corruption theplantation in of to joyed because of them, werebeginning stainthe social and politicalfabric of was to Britain. Conversely, elimination slavery expected makeiteasierto reform Christians minister Robert Robinson argued 1789that in institutionshome. at Baptist rights such as againstencroachments natural on shouldwage a general offensive whoseendresult be civilandreligious will liberty.42 slavery aimed In addition anti-slavery, Dissenters supported most also other causesthat to emancipation. to limit including parliamentary reform Catholic and arbitrary power, the Law Later, many Dissenters supported Anti-Corn League,notonlybecausethey in both believed free trade se butalso becausethey thecorn saw lawsas enriching per themselves.43 including and at of of landlords theChurch theexpense therest society, fears werereserved theAnglican for establishment, Dissenters' greatest domestic Acts them pay to which them Test required oppressed through andCorporation that in in churchyards; chapels, be buried Anglican and Anglican tithes, marry Anglican and other offices. andbarred them from universities, military commissions, various of patronage, with of Theysaw theAnglican clergy part thenetwork ruling-class as their advancement noteven and to many devoting mainenergy socialand financial in residing their assigned parishes.44 with was its interference The mosttelling evidenceof thedecayof theChurch After nonconformist became sects increaswork slaves. 1790many missionary among in in activity, especially theWestIndies.The colonial inglyinvolved missionary nonconformist missions becausetheir teachings governments, however, persecuted to Dissenters therefore the saw tended subvert to slaves' willingness bear slavery. minismissionaries thecolonial and Anglican planters harassed evenkilled who and and their whosebenefices weresupported thesameplanters whocondoned by ters, The Church as the endangering Englishsociety. behavior, epitomizing corruption on Nonconformists thearistocratic saw evenownedtwoslaveplantations Barbados. in them a kind bondage home of at Church keeping as authorities theEstablished and of between their ownsituation that theslavesin thecoloand and so saw a parallel that was seenas evidence their religious rights nies;thelawlessuse ofpowerabroad athomemight further be endangered.45 the the Thusfor to was Dissenters opposition slavery a wayofcombating planters, rule at and based autocratic oppressive AnglicanEstablishment, aristocratically Tories saw itthesame and by home-all ofwhom supported weresupported slavery. wouldnotstop that predicted theDissenters way;in 1833 theDuke of Wellington

Priestley. Bothquotedin Turley1991,25-26. See also Joseph 42. Similarly, Unitarian philosopher and 1991,136 1987,112; Turley Drescher 1991,116. 1973,83; andTurley 43. See Hurwitz 1968,66-72. 1973,85-88; andHarvey 44. See Blackbum 1988,135-36;Hurwitz 45. See Caldecott1970, 19; Cowherd1956, 58-59; Semmel 1973, 163, 181; Walvin 1981, 70; Drescher 1987,115-22;andMidgely1992,55, 75, 104-107.

648 International Organization "untilthey have accomplished their ends,whicharethedestruction theChurch, of andNegroemancipation."46 The strongest all theabolitionists' of concerns, however, fearforthefateof was their country. MostDissenters believedin an activist God whorewarded punand ishedpeopleand nations according their to merit. Thusthe1783 Quakerpamphlet that initiated mass anti-slavery agitation Englandargued in that was thegovernit ment's duty bring"terror evil doers"; otherwise just individuals the to to not but nation itself couldbe punished itssins:"can itbe expected this for that great iniquity willgo unpunished?"47 in Granville the of Sharpargued 1774 that immoral practices Britain's autocratic ruling class,including lewdness, adultery, slavery, other and immoralities associated withslave trading, woulddestroy entire the empire:"The impending evils which threaten coloniesabroadandthegeneral the misunderstanding British ofthe constiwhichpresagethemutual tution whichat present prevails home(circumstances at destruction both)may... be lookeduponas a justpunishment God."48 of from who werealso Conservatives supported abolition, mainly Anglican evangelicals, motivated fearof divinepunishment. a famous by In sermon 1787,evangelical in minister ThomasClarkson that Britain faceda choicebetween reform and argued In askedwhyEngland, whathe saw as its perdition. 1807 James Stephen despite still of essentially domestic just institutions, facedthecalamities warand possible I "If revolution, answered: God has entered judgment and into withus, we must, repeat, toAfrica tothe look and West Indiesfor sources hiswrath." the of Further, the loss ofthe American colonies 1783was seenbymany evidence God's wrath, in as of in whichhelpsto explainwhytheanti-slavery movement becameprominent the 1780sandnotbefore.49 this of all Abolitionists maintained theme retribution throughout their campaigns. In 1832ThomasBuxton that werenotaboltoldtheHouse of Commons if slavery in boththepeopleofEngland ishedthere wouldbe civilwarin thecolonies, which and often andHeavenitself wouldfavor slaves.Buxton other the abolitionists quoted I "I for when remember God that Thomas Jefferson: do,indeed, tremble mycountry A is is just and thatHis justicemaynotsleep forever. revolution amongpossible wouldsidewith insucha struggle."50 us the has which events; Almighty no attribute for offered evenas an explanation whyantiThe danger England to was sometimes In Russell countries. 1851 Unitarian abolitionist had slavery to be spreadto other we endeavor reform to or LantCarpenter that argued "either must America, America willcorrupt us.",51

1973,87. 46. QuotedinHurwitz 1991,21-22. 47. QuotedinTurley 48. QuotedinDavis 1975,395. [1808] 1968, 1:424-25,2:583-84; Stephen1807, 115-16; Colley 1992, 354; and 49. See Clarkson Drescher 1987,64-65. 1926,267-68. 1973,38-41; andKlingberg 50. See Hurwitz 1984,134. 51. QuotedinStrange

Costly MoralAction 649 Explaining whynotonlyDissenters all but These arguments enabledabolitionists explain to and the Englishmen should willing paythecostsofanti-slavery, why claimsby be to or this defenders theslavetrade of that abolition its wouldcostmoney harm orthat moral survival more was impornational interest besidethepoint. nation's were The tant than merely any material loss. a in Mobilization. After fewfalsestarts theearly1780s,in 1787theLondonComto amongabolimittee theAbolition theSlave Tradewas founded coordinate for of launched nationwide a propationist groupsnationwide. Abolitionist committees reporting horrors the the of gandaoffensive pamphlets, of tracts, correspondence and its supplied virtually slavetrade callingfor abolition. and Although nonconformists all of theorganizational and behind abolition, many for yearsthey energy funding in sects avoidedpublicleadership becausemostnonconformist practiced roles, part in In that of involvement politics. addition, because "quietism," is, avoidance direct of theknownaffinity manyDissenters a rangeof reform of for causes,it seemed relatively conservative prudent present thepublicleadersof themovement to as for lackofsympathy democratic Anglicans suchas Thomas Clarkson, whoseknown of to demands helped makeanti-slavery appearless threateningthedefenders privian minister Tory, and becametheSaints'leader lege;William Wilberforce, Anglican inParliament. in 1830didDissenter take Only organizations overtheadministration ofthemovement.52 initialtarget was specifically abolition the slave trade, the of The movement's of as whichwas expected doomtheinstitution slavery well.In 1788 abolitionist to from the 102 to demandcommittees around country generated petitions Parliament and ingan endto thetrade, with probably morethan 60,000signatures, in 1791-92 20 with about390,000signatures slightly than less 519 (or they presented petitions instances mass of of malepopulation).53 Thesewerethefirst major percent theadult in of and placed abolition as petitioning a form popular political pressure Britain which couldnotthereafter disit be from on firmly Parliament's legislative agenda, lodged. Abolished Slave Tradein 1807 Britain the Why into Indian In 1807Great Britain banned slaveimports itsWest all colonies, prohibin slave traders itedits citizens from and engaging theslave trade, bannedforeign of Thisoutcome theresult a sixteen-year was of from campaign usingBritish ports. who combined with needsoftheconservatives the on popular pressure Parliament, ruleby demonstrating a of to dominated Parliament enhancethelegitimacy their of to degree responsiveness publicconcerns.

raisedfor of a provided largepercentage thefunds 94, 52. See Turley, 119-21.Quakersin particular 1972,39-40. Temperley abolitionist campaigns. 1987,82. 1975,266,274-75; andDrescher 53. See Anstey

650 International Organization powerin Britain the at Politicalpowerin nineteenth-century Britain. Political between oligarchic conservatives, turn thenineteenth of century tightly was balanced and middle-class rewho controlled formal the institutions government, mainly of who wereincreasingly to change.Before formers radicals, and mobilized demand Bill all theexpansion thefranchise theGreat of by Reform of 1832nearly members of ofParliament weregentlemen, evenafter 1832election percent Comand the 32 malescouldvote. monsMPs werebaronets sonsofpeers, or whileonly1 in 7 adult access to political power, reSince themajority theBritish of publichad no direct form causessuchas anti-slavery no hopeoflegislative had successwithout supthe port theparty of controlling government.54 the and the issuesofpolitical constitutional reform During 1790sandearly1800s,five reform expandthefranchise to to and dominated British politics: patliamentary (1) to that allowedfamily hundreds of patronage control eliminate "rotten boroughs" of to seatsintheHouseofCommons, reduction theRoyalPrerogative chooseand (2) of and on dismiss governmentswill,(3) repeal thedisabilities Catholics onDissentat and of ers(theTestandCorporation Acts),(4) anti-slavery, (5) regulation industrial of and measures relief theworking for classesandthepoor. working conditions other on issuesdefined main four groupings. strongest The group Positions these political in Parliament a conservative (Tories), also supported the by was aristocratic faction the who controlled governAnglican Church hierarchy usually theCrown, and by 1784to 1830,as illustrated ment all buta yearanda halfofforty-six from for years in in Figure Toriesalso had an overwhelming 2. majority theHouse ofLords.Tory minister 1801from (prime opinion ranged broadly "Ultras"suchas LordSidmouth (1828-30), whoop1804),LordLiverpool (1812-27), andtheDuke ofWellington to end as viewpoint posedall reform "thethin ofJacobinism," a Tory"pragmatist" to for extensive demands more that willing entertain concessions deflect was to some WilliamPitt(primeminister reform. Leadersof thisgroupincluded 1783-1801, DukeofPortland Perceval (1809-1812),andGeorge 1805),the (1807-1809),Spencer Canning (1827).55 the was force Theonlyother significant inParliament, Whigs, also aristocratically ideas than to basedbutmore receptive Enlightenment andmoreoptimistic theConfrom above. for socialandpolitical servatives abouttheprospects managing change in to was middle-class demands order The essenceof Whigstrategy to conciliate moreextensomewhat radicals. they isolatethemoreextreme Accordingly, favored to but constitutional reforms werenotsympatheticworkingsive, judiciously chosen, in wereCharles James Fox mainleaders theparty Parliament of class demands.The in minister until death 1806,LordGrenville his 1806-1807),and,beginning (prime inthe1820s,EarlGrey.56 in of had Two additional broadstrands opinion considerable support thecountry reform societThe was of butnotinParliament. first composed mainly middle-class
1978,6-20; andBeales 1969,86, 117. 54. See Harvey 1963,97-99. 1958,157,238-335; andDerry 55. See Anstey 1975,305-18; Turberville 1980,101-18. 56. Ditchfield

Explaining Costly MoralAction 651


Whig/Liberal of "Ministry All theTalents"

1784 1790



1820 1830 Year



1860 1868

FIGURE 2. British governments, 1784-1868

ies in themajor in more reforms theWhigs, than and towns interested still extensive mainly their for substance thanforpolitical stabilization. Those who had thefranvotedfor The of chise,however, typically Whigcandidates. secondwas composed numerous moreradicalsocieties based on middle-class working-class and constituuniwhodemanded further-reaching still constitutional encies, change example, (for versalsuffrage) well as workplace as and measures relief the for of regulation other urban rural and poor.57 Nonconformists heavily were represented among both reformthe in ersandradicals. Table3 summarizes policy of preferences themaingroupings at time. British politics this few side Prior 1806-1807very inParliament firmly to were committed either of to theslavery issue. On averageWilberforce could counton aboutthirty "saints"in and to out Commons (bothConservatives Whigs)whowerecommitted anti-slavery in ofreligious of the conviction, a handful bishops theLords.58 plus Similarly, West Indiainterest, despite economic its importance, never was strong politically. comIt the in and absentee landlords merchants prised planters (mostly residing England), in or involved theslavetrade other WestIndian and a shippers trade, sometimes few in of and also trades. Estimates theWest oftheindustrialists workers involved these in Indiainterest's hard-core from abouttwenty thirty-six to support Commons vary in 1796-1807,from to in and twelveto thirty-fivefifty-six themid-1820s, from nineteen 1833.Accordingly, political in the fortunes theslaveinterest of on depended numbers conservatives back them of to based on class thewillingness broader of of the and interest.59 affinities, private property principle, perceptions imperial where Tories the had maCoalitionpolitics. In an environment usually a working in and in couldnever abolition jority Commons an overwhelming majority theLords, of could be persuaded consent it. to to pass unlessa largefraction conservatives out did of as However, Pitt pointed in 1795,thisascendancy notallowthedefenders
1968,79-96. 57. See RoyleandWalvin1982,48-56; andHarvey 1973,93. 1975,277-78,282-83; andHurwitz 58. See Davis 1975,375-78;Anstey 1926, 118; and 59. See Anstey1975,296-98; Higman1967, 3, 18; Butler1995, 8-10; Mathieson Hurwitz 1973,58.

Organization 652 International

1790s toearly1800s political groupings, of Issuepositions main
"Ultra" Tories "Pragmatic" Tories Second No Minor Yes Varied No Reform societies

Whigs Weakest Yes Moderate Yes Yes No


Strongest Parliamentary strength of prerogativeNo Reduction royal No Reform Parliament of emancipation No Religious of No Abolition slavetrade relief No Working-class

Yes Extensive Yes Yes Varied

Yes Universal suffrage Yes Yes Yes

buildup revoof risking eventual an without indefinitely privilege blockall reform to lutionary frustration.60 than other on reform it For theconservatives,was easierto concedeon abolition (whichwas opposedby the Crown)or on issues such as CatholicEmancipation demands.61 whichwas expected lead onlyto yetfurther to reform, parliamentary Abolition came close to passingin 1788-92butdid notsucceedbecauseToryand Bills to abolishthe vulnerable. aristocratic legitimacy thenonlymoderately was in in weredefeated Commons 1791butpassedin 1792and 1793,onlyto slavetrade was all that abolition so popular in At point sidesbelieved be tabled theLords.62 this for that had for it that couldnotbe delayed long.It was noted, instance, Parliament the of had by peoplethan signed petitions 1792.63 beenelected fewer In principle moreliberal the Toriesand theWhigscouldhave madea logrolled and and working-class at radicals, reformers, compromise theexpenseof middlein In to republicans happened somedegree the1830sandlater). theenvironment (as the neither couldtrust other's side good oftheFrench Wars, however, Revolutionary traditional Fox and theWhigssaw theToriesas aimingto destroy English faith. of which the could notforgive pacifism theFoxites, whileconservatives liberties, saw they as Francophilia.64 in and insteadto strengthen Both sides sought themselves, abolition, different a offeredway sides.Forconservatives, this seemed offer toboth to anti-slavery ways, reformers from thus to dividing "respectable" to appearresponsive publicopinion, was with reform For progeneral radicals.65 theWhigs, anti-slavery consonant their
of be in that abolition 1807can thus seenas a form top-down 1926,111.Davis argues 60. Klingberg Davis 1975,377-402. socialcontrol. downthelastWhiggovhad to emancipation brought opposition Catholic 61. RoyalandAnglo-Irish passing in in ernment 1783 and also sankPittin 1801 and Grenville 1807-the lastjust weeks after abolition. [1808] 1968,466-68; andDavis 1975, 62. See Pollock1977,105-108;Rose 1911,431-53; Clarkson 427-32. see 1788-1789,17:495,501; passageofabolition, Parliament of 63. On eliteexpectations theeventual Davis 1975,433; andWalvin1985,49. 1972,349. 1985,352; andDerry 64. Rose 1911,86-89; Jupp represhad moderates supported conservative-sponsored Whigsandmiddle-class many 65. Although own to it against as dangerous their turned overtime they increasingly yearsofthewar, sionin theearly

Explaining Costly MoralAction 653 gram theelement provoked and that leastresistance; abolition simply most was the theWhigscouldget.Forreformers radicals thecountry a whole,itpromand in as ised access to theorganizational strengths theanti-slavery of committees a time at whenthey themselves lackedcomparable structures subject repression.66 not to Bothsidesunilaterally assisted abolitionists. the Precisely becausethey werereligiously motivated, Saints the couldnotconcedeanything slavery, they on and lacked on issue and so had nothing trade. to Thusbothconservatives and unity anyother had reformers to settle "saintly for logrolls," settling whatenhanced for legitimacy couldgleanfrom association with popular the they causeofabolition.67 The FrenchRevolution. From1793to 1805further progress blocked was because theFrench the France Revolution, execution Louis XVI, andthewarwith of frightenedtheCourt, conservatives and into revogenerally, opposing reform risking all as lution home. Thisincluded few at abolition, sincealthough abolitionists repubwere In licans,all republicans supported abolition. addition, new Frenchregime the in with abolished abolition seemconsistent revolutionary ideas.68 slavery 1793, making in in As theinternational domestic and crisesdeepened (including unrest Ireland thelate 1790s),thegovernment turned repressive to Mostreform measures. groups weresuppressed their and leaders of than were arrested, meetings more fifty persons mailwas opened, thelegaldefinitions offenses and of suchas treason, banned, sediof tiouslibel,and riotwereexpanded. The extent repression somewhat was constrained Whigresistance wellas Pitt's as reluctance pushtraditional proto by legal cessestoofar.69 was than Eveninthis the repressive environment, causeofabolition less damaged it interelectoral religious or even the reform, though woulddirectly injure economic estsofsomeconservatives. occurred This becausea fewconservatives were partially and because theimpactof abolishing slave trade the Saintsthemselves partially wouldbe feltmainly the overseasand so wouldnotdirectly challenge domestic on order. religious The abolitionism unlike political organizations which depended, Pitt secularreform werenotrepressed. permitted Wilberforce introduce to groups, billsnumerous for he abolition times evenvoted them, and madeita although never billswerenarrowly in in measure. Abolition defeated Commons 1795, government 1796,1798,1799,1804,and 1805.70 threats declined, had whilewartime Success. By 1806 revolutionary government had the repression increased urgency publiclegitimacy. the of First, revolutionary in the threat receded had after French was Empire established 1804,andNapoleon's
1982,119;andMcCord1991,19-20. liberties. Smith See 1990,212-15,221; RoyleandWalvin 66. Fladeland 1984,xii,10, 13. 67. Drescher 1994,142. 1975,323. 1991,118-119;andAnstey 68. See Walvin 1985,45-46; Turley 1978,79-83. 69. See Derry 1963,9-11,71; andHarvey [1808] 1968, 1988,310; andClarkson 1926, 122-25;Blackburn 70. See Walvin1981,65; Klingberg 2:472-88.

654 International Organization reintroductionslavery 1802 helpedto reframe of in abolition a demonstration as of British moralsuperiority rather thanas a dangerous French experiment. Second, eventhough waron theContinent notgoingwell-Napoleon hadjust dethe was feated Austrians Russiansat Austerlitz December1805-the security the and in of Britain itsempire actually and had improved Britain's with gradual conquest most of ofFrance's overseas possessions thedestruction Franco-Spanish and of navalpower atTrafalgar November in 1805.Third, government the in changed. Pitt's death Januin ary1806resulted "The Ministry All theTalents," broadcoalition of a dominated byCharles Fox's Whigs, also including but LordGrenville (previously considered a moderate Tory) prime as minister wellas theultra-Tory Sidmouth. as Lord In May 1806Parliament abolished slavetrade theFrench the to possessions seized earlier thewar. in After Whigg the werefurther strengthened theNovember by 1806 elections, slave tradewas abolished the in totally February 1807. The WestIndia interest stoodno chance, sincethey beendiscredited decadesofexposure had by of theslavetrade's abuses,wereabandoned theCourt thebishops, by and and,forthe first time, faceda government determined pass abolition. to Although 1806parthe tialabolition was initially bill as presented a simplematter national of interest-to avoidstrengthening French WestIndian that be at possessions wouldlikely returned theendofthewar-thiswas a thin pretense fooled one.WhenGrenville that no was accusedin theLordsof disguising abolition under interest speciousnational arguments, replied: he I "Werethis true, should gladindeed, ofthedisguise, of be not but theabolition."'71 Emancipated Slavesin 1833 Britain Its Why In 1833Parliament passeda billproviding all slavesin itsWestIndiancolonies that wouldbe freed 1840, and thenin 1838 accelerated timetable, the the by freeing slaves immediately. These outcomes weretheresult two mainfactors: the of (1) for from dramatic in popular rise demand parliamentary reform about1829to 1832, in of of sparked largepart theeconomic by depression 1829-31;and(2) thegrowth theProtestant Dissenter sectsin thedecadesprior 1832 andtheir to effective highly not but politicalorganization onlyforslave emancipation also forparliamentary of reform other causes.Thiscombination to theinstallation a Whig led and popular Bill in of government 1830,enactment theGreatReform in 1832,and thena new in a government 1833with hugeWhigandanti-slavery majority. The declineof Toryrule. Until1828 or 1829,Toryrulewas relatively secure. in to felt However, 1828 Wellington compelled popular by pressure allow through to Parliamentmotion repealtheTestandCorporation a Acts;andin 1829,facedwith in Catholic emanthe of he possibility serious uprisings Ireland, personally promoted was of Partof thecostof theseactions, cipation. however, alienation manyof his
71. See Jupp1985, 383, 386-87; Anstey1975, 367-402; Drescher1977, 149-52, 214-23; and Drescher 1994,144-48.

MoralAction 655 Explaining Costly Ultra-Tory supporters. in 1829 theeconomy intodepression, theharThen fell and vests 1829and 1830were of poor. this In environment, enthusiasm parliamentary for reform spreadamongalmostall classes.Commercial interests wanted moreurban representation, workers, agricultural as did and interests expected gainmore to seats for larger the In counties. 1830there weretwenty-two county meetings, middleand class and working-class radicalorganizations mobilized acrossthecountry an on unprecedented scale. By summer 1830 there wereindustrial disturbances, the and rural violence known the"Captain as of Swing"riots spread across most thesouth of thecountry.72 The nexttwoyearswereconsumed with struggle parliamentary the over reform. Before Great the Reform becamelaw inJune 1832there weretwogeneral elections (August 1830andMay 1831),three changes government, reform largeof three bills, scale rioting whenthesecondbill was blockedbytheLordsin October 1831,and, whenit appeared April1832 that third might popular in the bill fail, societies organizedon sucha scale that many feared revolution. dispute The also established that neither king theLordscouldlongdeny willofthemajority Commons. the nor in the Thereformed Parliament in elected December 1832had a Whiggovernment majorityofnearly hundred, five including RadicalandIrish allies.73 Construction the anti-slavery of coalition. Abolitionists' that expectations the in of abolition 1807wouldleadtheother Atlantic example British to powers abandon In theslave tradewerequickly a disappointed. June1814 abolitionists organized that a petition campaign gathered record 750,000signatures, successfully compelto lingthegovernment energetically pursueuniversal abolition theslave trade of in the but obtained useful few concessions during peace negotiations Vienna, Britain from others. the EvenBritish subjects continued trade to under other and flags British to Most important, abolitionists found that neither ports fitout slavers.74 stopping further imports ameliorative slave nor WestIndianplantregulations causedBritish ersto treat their slavesanybetter, leaving stain thenation's thus the on moral record as dirty before. as in Abolitionist leaders therefore time emancito begana secondcrusade 1823,this the British Although government rule. defeated emancipation an pateall slavesunder billin 1823,itsalternatives-more for ameliorative and regulation vagueprocedures ultimate with for emancipation "due consideration" private seen property-were as and for delaying tactics,75 emancipation continued gainsupport four to reasons. First, theabolitionist movement itself was better Antiorganized. 1831 thenational By
72. See McCord1991,130-31; Mitchell 1967, 180-223;RoyleandWalvin1982,144-46; andWells 1985,124-65. 73. See Wells1985,138; Smith 1990,256-69; McCord1991,131-39;Thomis Holt1977,86-88; and andGash 1979,366. 74. Abolitionists for enforcement gotit.In 1811importation slaveswas made and of pushed stronger punishable fourteen by years'transportation, in 1824 theslave tradewas madepiracy. and After 1812 slaveregistration wereprogressively laws in instituted theWest Indian colonies, in 1828intercolonial and transport slaveswas prohibited. Higman1984,7-8, 79-80; andKlingberg of See 1926,145-48. 75. See Hurwitz 1973,31-32; andButler, 1995,7.

656 International Organization to Slavery Society was connected 1,300local societies raisedmoney, that organized distributed and the public lectures, literature, organized masspetition drives 1823, of 1824, 1826,1830-31,and 1833.Abolitionists tookadvantage theorganizaalso of tional propaganda and opportunities offered heightened by publicinterest politics in becauseof thereform controversy.76 Abolitionism becamea middle-class also and Dissenter movement an evengreater to degree than 1792 or 1807.77 in Manyabolitionists fought parliamentary also for reform Catholic and emancipation, helping to create broadallianceofreform a constituencies. weakest in theanti-slavery The link was coalition working-class radicals, whoseleaders accusedmiddle-class abolitionin theCaribbean istsof caring for moreforblackslaves than evenmoreexploited white "slaves" athome. Thisclassdivide was mitigated thegrowth theseveral by of Methodist movements attracted that than greater working-followings did "Old Dissent"sectswhilebeingequallycommitted anti-slavery.78 to Second,WestIndian mistreatment and planters continued discredit to themselves their ofmissionaries by of their harsh responses realandimagined to slaveplots, disgusting sections the wide After slaverevolt Jamaica 1831,planter-led a in in militias killed hundreds of public. burned Methodist Baptist and and to blacks, churches, madean abortive attempt try twomissionaries court martial.79 societies in by intervened elecThird, anti-slavery tion campaigns support to candidates extracting to pro-emancipation by pledges vote forslave emancipation by publicizing and succandidates' Abolitionists positions. a ceededin making emancipation majorissue in theelections 1830, 1831,and of the 1832. Duringthe 1832 election, anti-slavery a journalThe Tourist published national of "pledged"and "irredeemable" list and 140 candidates, between and200 candidates werereturned.80 pledged Dissenter votesexerted direct control overthecomposition Parliament. of Finally, After Great the Dissenters about21 percent theelectorate, of and Reform, composed in townswereamongthegreatest nonconformist predominately gainers seats.In where 1830and 1832election returns Dissenter votescanbe identified, favored they from to 30 percent to 97 to 3 percent. 70 WhigsoverTories margins by ranging up S. F. Woolley that election 1832thenonconformists of estimates "in every borough the of mostdecisivewas theswingin the formed backbone themajority." Perhaps the voteofWesleyan Dissenter and somewhat sect morethan8 Methodists, largest to conof most tended support percent theelectorate. Although Wesleyans relatively

1992,52. 76. See Green1976,111-12;Anstey 1981,48; Drescher 1987,127; andMidgley sponsored nonconformist by 77. Prior 1826,lessthan percent anti-slavery to 5 of petitions wereopenly share declined from percent 13 congregations, in 1830-31,70 percent but were.Meanwhile Anglican the in ofthe1788 petitions 3 percent 1830-31. See Drescher to 1987, 127; and Midgely1992,65. Thomas in the never renounced Church, Buxton, whosucceeded Wilberforce theabolitionist as leader Parliament, and meetings. Watts 1995,2:444. buthismother hiswifewereQuakers he attended and Quaker the emancipation. Klingberg 1926,248-49. 78. Irish leaders MPs later and repaid debtby supporting 1984,210-16. On working classanti-slavery, Hollis 1980,296,304; andHempton see 79. See Klingberg 1926,194-203,232-62; andHurwitz 1973,53-54. 80. See Hurwitz 1973,49-51, 56-58; andAnstey 1981,50.

Explaining Costly MoralAction 657 they werealwayssolid supporters anti-slavery, of servative causes and candidates, in issue.81 andin theelections theearly1830sthey voted mainly basedon this the pledgedto emancipation, Apprenticeship, 1833. Even withthegovernment to in had newParliament proved slowto act.In April1833Buxton tothreaten bring in the to hisownmotion getViscount to Althorp, Whigleader Commons, agreetofix to a dateforintroduction a bill.In May 1833 abolitionists of submitted Parliament twicethe with 1.5 signatures, almost 5,020petitions emancipation nearly million for in hundred delegates appointed anti-slavery by number voters Britain. of Overthree societies overtheBritish in to all Isles assembled Londonandmarched 10 Downing emancipaStreet. Parliament abolished then slavery, although fears that immediate to for civil society to a provision a led tionwouldleave slaves unprepared enter of to of period "apprenticeship" five sevenyears.82 ?20,000,000 compensation slave owners. for to The apprenticeship provided bill on Mostabolitionist leadersas well as therank-and-file opposedcompensation the in place,while that couldbe no legitimate property peoplein thefirst grounds there out radicals owntaxes.The wealthy planters oftheir working-class opposedpaying bill becauseParliament its largely (including Whig compensation nevertheless passed, to was of classeswhowereloath set majority) still dominated members theupper by of to detrimentalprivate property, regardless thereason.83 anyprecedent was Slave 1838. By 1836-37 apprenticeship failing. Immediateemancipation, their of and ownersdid not improve treatment apprentices, the slaves no longer mobilization wanted work to under coercion. 1837abolitionists In beganyetanother As to end campaign seekan immediate to apprenticeship. in 1832-33,publicmeetA nationwide. keyargument that was the weregenerated ingswereheldandpetitions In continued. March the was had country beencheated; ?20,000,000 paid,butslavery received 215 votes in to 1838 a motion Commons end apprenticeship immediately of was followed a the outof484 eventhough leaders both by parties opposedit;this the of and intense round petitions public meetings, whereupon governnew, more yet in 1838.84 ment gavein andendedapprenticeshipAugust Years Persisted Sixty Britain Why for for slavetrade sixty in to the years WhydidBritain persist itseffort suppress Atlantic success?For theyears costsand,formostof theperiod, meager despite escalating all is Britain at warwith was virtually theslave1808-14,no explanation required.
1994, 14-20; Phillips1992, 287-89; and 81. See Gross 1980, 66, 84; Woolley1938, 244; Jenkins men of 95 1833petition drive, percent all Methodists, andwomen, 1981,214-21. In theenormous Anstey one. signed 1972,17-18; 1926,286-92; Temperley 1987,94; Klingberg 82. See Buxton1849,249-65; Drescher andGross1980,69-71. 1849,267-283. 83. See Butler 1995,11; andBuxton 1973,74-76. 1972,30-41; andHurwitz 84. See Temperley

658 International Organization trading nations wouldhaveattacked and their shipping anyway. Fromtheendofthe warin 1814until early1830s,British the efforts concentrated on amelioration, more andthen emancipation, Britain's colonial of own slavesthan suppressing slave on the trading others. of OnceBritain's slaveshadbeenemancipated, however, anti-slavery the movement increasingly turned attention suppressing twolargest its to the remaining Atlantic slave trades, thoseto Cuba and Brazil,as well as expanding goals to seek the its elimination slavery of From1835onward, abolitionists in worldwide. the succeeded of to causinga succession British governments progressively escalatetheeffort to compeltheAtlantic maritime nations cooperate to withBritain's anti-slavery crusade.Theywereable to do this primarily becausebythis time political the power of themiddle who the class,mainly Dissenter constituencies formed coreoftheabolitionist had movement, becomemoreor less permanently entrenched. Subsequent British governments, whether Whigor Conservative, could notresistabolitionist demands absent countervailing mobilization-which mass occurred once,over just in sugar duties 1846. Failureand persistence. Theskeptics abolitionists' predictions internaof early of in tional cooperation weresoonproved right. Although 1814theBritish government effort negotiate seriesofbilateral beganan extended to a slavetrade abolition treaand all in ties, nearly oftheother Atlantic slave-trading agreed principle end states to thetrade, the including United States(1808), France(1815), Spain(1817), Portugal (1817), andBrazil(1826),nonewouldagreetotreaty provisions couldbe genuthat in inelyeffective preventing use of their the flagsin slaving. The mostimportant of search" of that was provision theBritish sought a "right mutual allowing warships to either country searchshipsflying other the flag;otherwise RoyalNavypatrols wouldbe helplessto stopslaversof foreign Since noneof theother registration. navalefforts their countries would,or could,putforth seriousanti-slaving of own, all on Other mutual searchas an infringement their they resisted sovereignty. key of of and included Courts MixedCommission, requirements consisting bothBritish to to seizedshipsandcrews, theability condemn and theother countries' officials, try with for evenifnotactually slaveson shipsobviously equipped slavetrading caught board.Such concessions were obtained had littleeffect, since slaverssimply as that to that States.85 changed those flags werestill usable,often oftheUnited The lonelasting successduring first the effort thirty-five ofthesuppression years hadlittle do with British under liberal to France the Monarpressure. Although July in so search 1831,British seizures French of chyagreedto mutual shipsgenerated in the muchresentment the agreement suspended 1845. However, that was after in Revolution 1848,France all February unilaterally emancipated itscolonialslaves. from trade, thelate 1840s slave exports the DespiteFrance'sfinalwithdrawal by from increased morethan78,000 annually-onlyslightly to WestAfricaactually
1926, 142-63; Bethell1970,61; and Mathieson1929. Sweden 85. See Fladeland1966; Klingberg in unilaterally 1814,andHollandin 1815. abandoned slavetrade the

Explaining Costly MoralAction 659 fewer than all-time the peakin the1780s-largelybecausein 1846Britain repealed its system discriminatory of dutiesagainst non-British sugar, leadingto dramatic increases sugar in production slavedemand BrazilandCuba.86 and in Faced with sucha Sisyphean task, Britain couldhavereversed course, France as had whenit abolished boththeslave trade slavery and itself 1793 onlyto restore in bothin 1802. Or Britain couldhave takentheAmerican pathof simply enforcing or the into (with more, less,energy) ban on imports itsowncolonieswhileignoring therest theproblem. of Britain Instead, responded successive to setbacks progresby its nasively escalating anti-slavery effort, including slaveemancipation, aggressive val efforts to against slaveships, a decades-long and effort bribe, cajole,andcoerce all theother slave-trading nations. Although costsin money, lives,andinternational resentment continually escalated, Britain never wavered. Escalation, 1835onward. Escalation British of anti-slavery efforts three took forms. from averFirst, Britain greatly increased anti-slavery its patrols West off Africa, an in before1835 to aboutfifteen 1835-43 and age of less thantenshipson station aboutthirty from 1844totheearly1850s.Second,thegovernment underwrote indeIn initiatives theabolition of societies. 1840 theBritish Foreign and Antipendent to the a aboliSlavery Society persuaded government nameDavid Turnbull, strong in as to tionist, consul-general Havana to pressure Cuban authorities register the of of so existing slavesandto widenthejurisdiction theCourt MixedCommission new slaves couldbe identified freed and even after that landing. The effort a was in of a blacksandan disaster; bloodyslaverevolt 1844led toharsh suppression free of for 1845 law forbidding searches plantations illegalslaves. Similarly, Buxton's African Civilization for Societyobtained government support an armed expedition in River 1841-42that aimedtocivilizea region trade and route up theNiger heavily from The used by slave traders. expedition failed,withheavyloss of lifemainly

after about1835British becamemoreaggressive. Third, diplomacy Spainagreed in to a modeltreaty thatyear.In 1839 Parliament authorized Royal Navy to the In searchPortuguese whichled in 1842 to a satisfactory shipsunilaterally, treaty. of the 1841Britain asserted "right visit"to checkwhether a slavers flying U.S. flag entitled itbutbackeddownin thefaceoffierce to Whenin werelegally opposition. noticethat intended withdraw it to from 1826 treaty, its Parlia1845 Brazilserved of went ment search Brazilian vessels.In June 1850Britain passeda law authorizing than undeclared against war warfurther everbefore, a waging short Brazil,sending slave shipsand slave watersand harbors, shipsintoBrazilianterritorial burning inland.In September 1850 Brazil on and even mounting entrepots shore, pursuits in the In ratified 1826 treaty. 1858 Britain finally began to applyslave warrants the the reaction raisedfears that Cubanwaters withdrew but after harsh American

1972,161-64. 86. See Jennings 1988,9, 144-96;Eltis1987,251; andTemperley 1980,134-55;andEltis1987,92-93. 87. See Porter 1843;Lloyd1968,48; Murray

660 International Organization in United States might seizeCuba.88 Finally, 1862theUnited States agreed mutual to search, in 1867Cubabanned and further imports. slave Abolition's politicalstaying power. Abolitionists able to keepBritish were antislavery moving forward twomainreasons. for The first simpleinertia. is After the of was in Slave TradeDepartment theForeign Office established 1821,anti-slavery gradually becameincreasingly routinized institutionalized and in British foreign and colonialpolicy.89 Abolitionist societies the and gainedskillat lobbying government, a fewcommitted in of most abolitionists served directly thecorridors power, imporwho from tant, James Stephen, helda series high of postsintheColonialOffice 1821 to 1847.LordPalmerston, foreign secretary from 1830 to 1841 andprime minister from 1855 to 1858 and 1859 to 1866,also generally supported anti-slavery. Some leadersmayalso have cometo feelthat Britain beenidentified had internationally with so wouldbe harmed anti-slavery firmly for longthat and so national prestige by to failure continue well as to achieveultimate as success.Arguments thisform of in an in helpeddefeat attempt Parliament 1850to withdraw African the Squadron.90 for The secondandmore important reason thepersistence expansion aboliand of in tion, however, involved Dissenter power domestic politics. From1835through the rest theanti-slavery of period, balanceofpolitical the power between Conservathe tivesand theWhigs/Liberals consistently was in narrow fragile; thenational and elections heldfrom 1835to 1857thegapbetween twomajor the parties' share the of 4 national voteranged from to 16 percent, muchsmaller than Dissenter the share of of theelectorate. between 1832and 1865thenumber voters declined Indeed, slightly the whereas Dissenter share likely increased, becauseboth number Dissenters the of in society thepercentage them middle- upper-class and of in and occupations rose the substantially during period.91 in Thusanysubstantial change howDissenters votedwas likely be decisivein to which wouldholdpower, British and werewellaware determining party politicians ofthis fact.92 MostDissenters free and of favored trade many theother reform causes associated with Whigs-Liberals, thisalliancewas alwaysfragile the but becauseof theDissenters' commitment anti-slavery. to British eliteswere overriding Although the of constant quiteawareofthecostsofanti-slavery, facing mismatch Dissenters' and insistence theabsencemostofthetimeofmobilized opposition, generally they found the acquiescence safestpolicy.93 Some analysts that British abolitionism 1840beargue essentially collapsedafter causeofleadership with issue,andtheconflict the infighting, publicfatigue between
88. See Mathieson 1929, 128-35; Soulsby1933, 51-77; Bethell1970, 94-95, 327-41; and Lloyd 1968,170. not As to 89. Although in thenavy. late as 1849-50,senioradmirals continued complain thatthe African more Squadron drained needed resources from critical missions. 90. See Turley 1991,68; Green1976,81; andTemperley 1972,177-82. 91. SeeAnstey 1981,51; Craig1989,1-10; Gilbert 1976,31, 37; andWatts 1995,2:595. 92. Jenkins emphasizes anti-slavery church-state that and issuesmaderelations between nonconformistsandother parts theliberal of coalition frequently volatile. Jenkins 1994,60. 93. See Craig1989,1-10.

MoralAction 661 Explaining Costly over trade, brought bythe1841-46dispute on liberal valuesofanti-slavery free and is British colonialsugar.94 argument exaggerThis thediscriminatory favoring duties all andfilechoseanti-slavery ated.Mostabolitionist leadersandnearly of therank of MeldowntheWhiggovernment Viscount overfreetrade and in 1841 brought to dudiscriminatory bourne overthequestion. government The proposed eliminate However, sincebythis time hadbecomeclearthat it tieson grain, timber, sugar. and as WestIndieswas notas efficient slaveproducfree-labor production theBritish in foreign sugar. most To tionelsewhere, slave-grown repealwouldmeanimporting but this in committed abolitionists, wouldnotonlybe immoral itself would also in increasethedemandforslaves in Cuba and Brazil,delay emancipation those own freecolonies, and undermine credibility Britthe of harm Britain's countries, proved unableto to abroad.95 a result, government As the ain's opposition slavery merits the of debatefocused thefreetrade budgetary on or keeptheparliamentary on wholly abouttheimpact theslave trade. bill; instead debatebecamealmost the chose to support abolitionist the WhenRobert posileader, Peel, theConservative Although a the and tion,thirty-three MPs abandoned government it fell.96 Whig five popular pocket-book issue,repealof thesugardutieswas delayedforanother The 1850attempt withdraw African to the the initiative Squadron, lastserious years. of was against aggressive pursuit anti-slavery, defeated. Unimportance Transnational of Influences a test common constructivist in The British case provides partial oftheproposition, of moral that elite theories international play action, transitional networks an imporAmerirole. There were extensive contacts efforts mutual and at assistance among tant movements. transnational efforts were and anti-slavery However, can,British, French to in no case significantly and damaging theantihelpful in twocases wereactually causeinthetarget country. slavery can influThe strongest that be madeis for case Quaker, American, particularly distributed movement. American ence on theearliest Quakers stagesof theBritish A in Benezet's Caution Warnand controversial literatureEngland, especially Anthony of this ing to GreatBritain(1767). Although book did notreacha largenumber from for Thoughts Slavery. it his on TwoAmerican borrowed Quakpeople, Wesley the in ers werealso thefirst petition British to Parliament 1783.97 Fromthispoint, British was not The enterprise. moral however, anti-slavery a national, international in that British nonconof society animated logicandperception emergency English to their formists evangelicals action, and and accomorganizational capabilities, their in weretheir own. plishments British politics and transatlantic of There was also extensive correspondence, exchange literature, from 1800sonward American of the aimedat assisting abolisometimes personnel
94. 95. 96. 97. views,see Turley 1991,129-30;andRice 1981,412-17. Temperley 1972,153-67.Foropposing 1972,142-60;andGash 1965,185. 1985,96-97; Temperley See Temperley 1972,150. See Watts 1956,157;Gash 1965,215; andTemperley 1995,2:529; Cowherd 1975,239-40. 1987,62-64; andAnstey 1972,20; Drescher See Fladeland

662 International Organization tionism, including first the world anti-slavery convention, in Londonin 1840.98 held No outside however, aid, couldchange structural the problems facing American the in movement. Ending slavery theUnited States wouldhaverequired Constitutional a amendment therefore agreement three-fourths oneofthestates, and the of which plus in was plainly impossible. Mostimportant, slaveinterest theUnited the States commandedvastlygreater wealthand politicalpowerthanin Britain well as the (as of backing southern churches) thus and couldonly subdued war.99 be by IfAnglo-American abolitionist cooperation unimportant, was Anglo-French cooperation efforts counterproductive. were Although early British abolitionists eager were to follow example theFrench Amisdes Noirs(founded the of Les 1788) andClarkin sonvisited in France 1789,as theFrench Revolution escalated 1791-93theassociation anti-slavery republicanism of with becamea serious liability. Transnational radicalintellectuals as ThomasPaineandBritish such radicalorganizations as such theLondonCorresponding so British conserSociety discredited anti-slavery among and themselves of vatives that late 1792 pamphlet a accusedWilberforce Clarkson It tooktheBritish beingJacobins.100 anti-slavery movement morethan yearsto ten from consequences itsinitial of with recover the association France. In theother direction, although British Foreign the and Anti-Slavery Society conto tributed and assistance French a of money organizational abolitionists,largepart French on opinionremained alwaysresentful British of government pressure the of the of issueandsuspicious British motives. Especially after decline Anglo-French in relations 1840-41,French abolitionists cameunder extreme to pressure dissociate from or admit France that was themselves British organizations ideas,norcouldthey in anyway "behind"England. themid-1840s, of thearguments finally In one they to had its resorted was that France better lest emancipate slavespreemptively Britain in of stir insurrectionsa future French war. came up emancipation in 1848as part that not of and year'ssurge revolutionary republican idealism, becauseof mobilization byanti-slavery organizations.'0'

Theoretical Implications
action that is Themainimplication theBritish for of case theories costly of moral we interact. Transnamustexplainhow ideational and domestic dimensions political does notappearto be critical costly for international moralaction. tionalinfluence None of thefour transnational influence efforts observed hereexerted meaningful on statebehavior, either because theinternal influence target politicalchallenges at or itselfdelegitimated were too difficult, because foreignness attempts transnational persuasion.
1984. 98. See Fladeland1972;andStrange 99. McKivigan1984,18-35. 100. See Klingberg 1926,97-99; andAnstey 1975,276-78. 101. Jennings 1988,195-208.

Costly MoralAction 663 Explaining moralaccosmopolitan idealsmayhelpexplaininexpensive Similarly, although international moralacgenuinely costly to tions, they appearinsufficientmotivate wealthor security fraction their of to a tion.For individuals sacrifice noticeable a of other wouldrequire degree committhe of purely advance condition a distant to by ideal discussed somemoral cosmopolitan ment closerto themodelsof a perfect of in case, andthepaucity we philosophers to thebehavior observe theBritish than evidence that levelofcomthis is international moral actions itself other expensive must mitment be rare. A "Saintly "Model Logroll moralactionrequires First, solvingtwo problems. Obtaining costlyinternational high "saint" be willingto pay genuinely committed whywould even a morally international moral are any As relations anarchic, costly costs? longas international to of staterelative other states. action must reducethematerial strength theacting Therefore even saintscannot moralactionunlessthey pay highcostsforforeign If is is and believethat their ownsociety corrupt inneedofreform. thehomesociety confront external forcesthatare both already just,and since it will undoubtedly of the and enoughto threaten achievements themorally morally imperfect strong both the that advanced then state the maynotdissipate strength maybe needed state, couldbe usedtopromote goodinthefuture toprotect ownachievements that its and to norms. SomeBritish conservaare or after opponents defeated converted better the of but basedon reasoning was slavery immoral, opposedabolition tivesagreed that then its own society corrupt, protecting as thisform. however, saintssee their If, it in be as material run well-being theshort cannot as important remaking intoa more and thatcould serveas a virtuous thatwould actually deservehappiness society beacontoothers. the movea of is anti-slavery Second, although majority saints imaginable, British is ment The majority. central problem one ofcoalinever cameclose to an electoral will whoarenotthemselves whatcircumstances ruling tion formation: under elites, a of motivated themoral ally by cause,nevertheless with faction morally primarily committed saints? is by they complicated thefactthat Formation such "saintly of logrolls" further in must from logrolled coalitions, whichthesides trade differently typical operate a issues.In contrast,group allieswith faction a that for favorite support each other's mobilized ofsaints must program becausegroups but, acceptthecostsofthesaints' on cannot count on a causearenormally cohesive other not around moral they issues, on else. thesaints votewith to them anything 102 factors. is of of Thustheformation saintly logrolls likelyto be a function three their holdon power elite.The more the needsoftheruling precarious First, political their to the andthemore intense their oflosing fear power, greater incentive bargain. can association that the political legitimacy therulers gainfrom Second, enhanced
102. Stratmann 1997.

664 International Organization is a of with saints their the and program. This,in turn, partially function thegeneral of moral and of the conpopularity thesaints' arguments especially whether specific charges tentof the saints'program wouldhelp shieldtheelite againstparticular moralaction thus are morelikely be to against their legitimacy. Programs costly of if or do to domestic balanceofpolitical adopted they notthreaten upsettheexisting 103 to the economic the faction allywith can more power. Third, extent which saintly on thanone mainpolitical whosesupporters' positions faction. Moralmovements other issueslie nearthemiddle thepolitical of spectrum havegreater will leverage than to the those whoseloyalties confined one end.Thus,although anti-abortion are society most that nearly approaches the movement perhaps group American is the in combination unwavering of commitment substantial and numbers British of abolitionthat a place ists, theory our suggests itwouldhaveto occupy different in theAmerican politicalspectrum thanit does fora "saintly logroll"to form. Just early as to to nineteenth British century WhigsandToriesbothpreferred makeconcessions to with abolitionists to each other, than Democrats wouldhave to prefer cooperate movement than theanti-abortion rather with moderate Republicans. Generalizability is from single from samecase cannot the Sinceourtheory developed a case,evidence be usedto estimate generalizabilityother its to pastcases orfuture opportunities.104 moralacThe nextstepis to identify comparable nearly or comparable costly any all of werealmost less than tions. certainly costly Although butthefirst thefollowing candidates include and deBritain's reasonable American French anti-slavery effort, British Dutchefforts end suttee, and to certain instances of cisionsto end slavery, doand aid decolonization, thedevelopment policiesof theworld'smostgenerous moral action was considered We cases where costly nor, Norway. shouldalso study to Auschwitz. butnotpursued, suchas the Allies'failure bomb If ourtheory that somefuture moralactions stands it implies costly maybe up, than multilateral rather by state, agreement, pursued unilaterally a single by powerful rather reflecting spread an internathe of than andmaybe driven primarily internally from state that is to a moral consensus. tional likely emerge Theymayalso be more a moralproject partly is domestic undergoing upheavalof whichtheinternational caution that moral international Thesepossibilities should us somefuture sideeffect. societieswill sensibilities Western or actionsmaynotbe ones thatcosmopolitan welcome.

in wouldnotbe felt Enhad that Tories, anti-slavery theadvantage themaineffects 103. ForBritish Of wouldsuffer, thesewereverysmallconstituencies). but and glanditself (planters some merchants of as enhance power theruling the party, has that program sideeffects couldactually course, themoral if in becomes more likely. for Whigs 1833,itsadoption the see to new case studies generate theories, VanEvera1997,esp. 88. 104. On theuse ofsingle

Explaining Costly MoralAction 665 References

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