Why was the British slave trade abolished in 1807?

On 25th March 1807 the Slavery Abolition Act was passed in Parliament, ending the legal trade in slaves throughout the British Empire. Only fifty years prior to the passing of the act, abolishing the slave trade would have been inconceivable––slavery had been central to the British economy for over 200 years, and had served as […]

Why was masturbation such a medical concern in the 19th century? 

Before the 1700s, masturbation had been condemned on specifically religious grounds. It was considered sinful because it ‘denied the “natural” function of sexuality’, i.e. procreation. As A. N. Gilbert writes, ‘[a]s a sexual act, it meshed easily with the traditional Christian distrust of sensuality and bodily pleasure.’ But by the nineteenth century onwards, doctors had […]