Three years after William Wilberforce experienced a religious conversion in 1784 as a young man, he began his lifelong crusade as a Christian statesman and philanthropist. He ran for and won a seat in the British Parliament for his hometown of Hull in 1780, and in 1784 he began to represent Yorkshire, a seat he retained until 1812.
Following his conversion, he rose to leadership of the Clapham Sect—a group of evangelicals active in political, philanthropic, and religious causes. Under his leadership, the "Saints," as they were called championed parliamentary and prison reforms, missionary endeavors, Bible distribution, and many other religious and charitable efforts and organizations.
Statesman and Saint is a captivating look at Wilberforce's leadership in action, particularly as it can be seen in his unrelenting forty-four-year crusade against slavery in spite of many setbacks in Parliament. He labored for eighteen years to secure the abolition of the slave trade, enduring personal criticism, deep-seated prejudice, and threats on his life for another twenty-six years before the Emancipation Bill was finally passed in July 1833. His influential book, A Practical View of Christianity, laid the foundation for the moral elevation of the Victorian Era that followed his death only three days after the Emancipation Bill was passed in Parliament.
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