The Amistad Essay Research Paper What major

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The Amistad Essay, Research Paper What major conclusions can you derive in regard to the significance of the Amistad Case? In 1839, in waters off the coast of Cuba, a group of forty-nine Africans ensnared in the Atlantic slave trade struck out for freedom. They had been captured, sold into slavery, carried across the ocean, sold again, and they were being transported on what was, for millions of Africans, the last leg of the slave trade when they found the chance to seize the initiative. One of them, a man the world would come to know as “Cinque,” worked free of his chains and led a shipboard revolt. The vessel they won was a schooner that had been named, in a grim bit of irony, the Amistad (”Friendship”). The Africans tried to force two Cuban survivors to sail them

back to Africa, but the Amistad wound up instead in U.S. waters, just past Long Island Sound, where the Africans were again taken into custody. Spain promptly demanded their extradition to face trial in Cuba for piracy and murder, but their plight caught the attention of American abolitionists, who mounted a legal defense on the Africans’ behalf. The case went through the American judicial system all the way up to the Supreme Court. The Amistad Case became one of the most important slavery cases that the nation had ever seen. A case that would not only bring different anti-slavery groups together, but a case that would prove to be a corner stone in the fight against slavery. It would prove to be a case that would have many influential people step in or try to, including the

president of the U.S., martin Van Buren, and a former president, John Quincy Adams. Both cases were strong and provable, but it would be the Supreme Court that would have the final decision to free the slaves. The Amistad Case was one of the only times when three main groups of abolitionists came together to form one group in the fight against slavery. Moral Suasion, was one of the main groups that used graphic illustrations of the wrongs of slavery to turn people against it and join the abolitionists. The second group was a group that believed in using religion in the fight against slavery. They spoke out that slavery was a sin and the government should be built on the principles of God and not man. The third group believed in using government to gain supporters of antislavery,

they designed special parties to speak out against slavery. The Amistad brought together all three groups and others in the fight against slavery, they believed the Amistad Case could undercut barriers based on color and racial prejudices, the South would lose its major bases for slavery. John Quincy Adams threw himself into the Amistad case with characteristic vigor. During the period from November 1840 to January 1841 he was all about gathering and interpreting new evidence to help set the blacks free and prove a point against slavery. Above all, he seems to have relished the opportunity to attack and expose the Van Buren Administration, which he became convinced had conspired to influence the judicial outcome of the case. His arguments before the Supreme Court didn t do much,

in the end, to influence the ruling: Justice Story’s decision took up the points made by Adams’s colleague, Roger Baldwin. Still Adams’s spirited defense made strong points, gave life to the abolitionist sentiment, and helped to damage Van Buren’s credibility. Although his role in the Amistad Case was not a large one, he still proved strong points against the institutions of slavery. Martin Van Buren, who was president at the time, was not in Washington when the Amistad affair broke; he was campaigning in upstate New York. Therefore his cabinet formulated the administration’s initial response: meeting in mid-September, they arranged for federal authorities to support Spanish demands that the “slaves” be returned to Cuba to face trial as murderers and pirates. Van