"The Culture of English Antislavery" addresses the recent lively international debate about the relation of antislavery in Britain to the deep changes of the period of the Industrial Revolution. It offers an account of the overall shape of organized antislavery from its beginnings in the 1780s, and provides fresh perspectives from which to assess opposing interpretations of antislavery.
The evolution of antislavery is portrayed as a series of changing alliances of different and sometimes conflicting religious traditions. The successive alliances of abolitionists are analyzed through the concept of a culture of reform embracing ideology, organizational and propaganda forms, and the more intimate connections and rituals which reformers used to reinforce their identity and solidarity. The result is a definition of the middle class "reform mentality" which linked the antislavery work of reformers to social improvement and to campaigns for transatlantic reform. David Turley's argument is supported in short narratives about reform in different communities at different times. In his conclusion, he relates the various elements of the antislavery coalitions to early Chartism and the popular radicalism of the 1790s.