To access earlier posts touching on Abraham Lincoln and/or his astrology, just scroll down to the Label Cloud in the sidebar and click on his name.
Instead of waxing lyrical further about the USA's famous abolitionist, I decided to give some space to an earlier, British politician whose name is not nearly as well-known as Abe's, but who abolished slavery in Britain, in the early 19th century, some 50 years before events chronicled in the Lincoln movie. This is not written in any "Neener neener, we did it first...." attitude. It's really just to bring a name to the fore that has been too oft forgotten.
Wilberforce's greatest achievement, as Member of Pariament for Hull, was in winning his crusade against slavery, first against the slave trade itself, then against the owning of slaves. He gave his first speech on the abolition of slavery in 1789; presented his first bill to abolish the slave trade using British ships in 1891. With 12 later bills he fought this issue for 18 years before a bill was finally passed. The Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was passed by the House of Lords on 4 February 1807; by the Commons on 23 February 1807, receiving Royal Assent on 25 March 1807. Wilberforce continued to fight for 26 years to see the owning of slaves banned as well. In 1833, just after his death, his bill passed its final reading three days before his death.
If we were to happen upon William Wilberforce in a time warp, today, he wouldn't fit into any known standard political "box". He was, in many ways, the epitome of what's now called progressive or "bleeding heart liberal". Yet in other ways he was a thorough-going right-winger, as befitted the conservative farmers and land owners of Yorkshire who had sent him to represent them in parliament. To place him in historical context these references might help: he met Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Tsar Alexander of Russia, and the future Queen Victoria, aged 1 year. He was friend and confidant of William Pitt Jr., Spencer Perceval and George Canning. He saw figures raised up or destroyed in twenty three years of war and revolution.
Sickenly horrendous details of the slave trade are these days often skimmed over at best. As a reminder this excerpt from a 1980 biography of Wilberforce by Garth Lean:
Two hundred years ago, Britain was the world's leading slave-trading nation. From Liverpool, Bristol or London her ships sailed for the West African coast; and there gathered their cargo by direct seizure, purchase from Arab traders or barter with local chiefs. Often chiefs would sell the entire population of one of their own, or of a neighbour's, villages. The British officials were just as ruthless. Once, a British military governor delivered up a hundred African guests whom he was entertaining in his fort when the slave captains arrived.
Once captured, the slaves were herded into barracoons to await the arrival of the ships. The fit were branded with their new owner's mark, while the old and deformed were often killed as useless. Many had to be flogged to force them into the canoes which took them through the surf to the slave ship. There, they were chained in pairs between decks on shelves with only two and a half feet head-room. A ship of 150 tons often carried as many as 500 slaves. The crew, who had often been press-ganged into service, generally took their pick of the women.
It was obviously in the slaver's interest to keep their cargo in as good health as possible. When weather permitted, therefore, they were taken on deck and forced to jump around under threat of the whip.
In bad weather, on the other hand, they would lie for weeks in their own filth and the stench could be smelt across a mile of ocean. By the time a ship reached America or the West Indies, ten per cent of the cargo would normally have died, while many others would be desperately ill.
On arrival a few days would be spent tarting them up for market. Their bodies were fattened and oiled, their sores disguised. Finally, they would be paraded naked through the streets and auctioned. Strong men would fetch as much as £40, while the sick and wounded were sold off in cheap lots with the women and children. Families were ruthlessly split up. Those who were too sick to be marketable were left on the quay to die. Nor was that the end of their ordeal. A third of those who survived thus far died from the vicious discipline imposed by their new owners. The process was politely known as 'seasoning'.
Wilberforce's other mission he described as "the reformation of manners".
From biography by Stephen Tomkins:
His other enthusiasms—improving morals and Christian missionary work—amount, by twenty-first-century lights, to censorship (by very punitive measures, including imprisoning and fining poor printers) and cultural colonization. He was anti-war, to be sure, but to keep England safe, he approved the kinds of tactics — suspension of habeas corpus, preemptive military strikes — that today's peaceniks abhor. He exhausted his fortune and advocated laws to improve the lot of poor working people, but he also sought to make trade unions illegal. Loyal to his friends, supportive of his family, humbly self-critical, incorruptible, and implacably abolitionist throughout a nearly half-century-long career, he was a very good man. But he was of his time and station, therefore unacceptably paternalistic to us.
His Virgo Sun at 00 degrees, Moon also in Virgo whatever time he was born, and Mercury there too denote a man of meticulous mindset, excellent communcator - which by all accounts he was: sociable charismatic and popular. Chiron (the wounded healer) lay in Aquarius, but no planet was there. Uranus was at 00 Aries- degree known as "the Aries point", thought to be the strongest degree of that sign - that should count towards his humanitarianism - Uranus being the ultimate radical and revolutionary. The fact that Uranus lies in exact quincunx , an uncomfortable 150* angle to his natal Sun, could indicate the uneasy mix within his political nature and missions.
Jupiter in Capricorn (religion, expansion) and Saturn (conservatism, legislation) in Pisces lay in harmonious sextile and in what astrologers call "mutual reception". Each is in the sign of the other's rulership, bringing about extra emphasis on both planets and both signs.
So....although the social reformer in this chart may not jump out to hit one in the eye at first glance, it is represented there, as is Wilberforce's more conservative side.
I well remember our school class being taken on a day trip, many long years ago, to look around the Wilberforce House and Museum.