The abolitionists set in motion Britain's first, mass social movement. Their rallying themes of liberty and equality influenced reforming campaigns for the right to vote, to form trades unions and the feminist movement. Their techniques of consumer boycotts and petitions are used to this day.
Eric Williams, the Trinidadian historian and Prime Minister, suggested that European traders would have gone to the moon in order to secure slaves for their profitable plantations. In his lifetime Thomas Clarkson must have felt he covered a similar distance rallying support and gathering evidence.