Free Response about the Amistad – History Informal Essay
The Amistad Case can be easily seen as a case about 53 Africans taken from their homes, put on the Tecora taken to Cuba, and from there placed on the Amistad where the mutiny began. The Case itself has a sort of allegory; one story being a group of Africans being held for murder in the supreme court, while all along igniting the wood that started the fire for people to open their
eyes to the world around them. The hided story is how the Amistad became the bases or the foundation of just about anything that happen after the case.
Proven through discussions and research the Amistad Case can be related to an array of situations. The Amistad Case opened the world to the fact that Slavery is very much alive. Slavery doesn’t necessarily mean physically enslaved but, you can be economically enslaved, and mentally enslaved as well. The Amistad Case itself dealt with so many different issues than what was on the surface. OK it talked about slavery, great we got that, but if we go deeper then what. You learn that the Case hit Natural Rights, put “God” in question, attacked treaties previously made prier to the case, The Constitution of the U.S., Checks and Balances, and Morality. Questions such as “Are Blacks people?”, “Should Blacks be considered equal?”, “it’s slavery a necessary sin?”, “Can the President toy with the Justice system?”, “What is right and wrong?”, “Were our forefathers right when writing the constitution?”, etc.
The legal and political issues during this case were intertwined together. The fact that election time was right around the corner during the whole case led to some “fooling around” by the president. Martin Van Buren was not necessarily supporting his opinion in this case. He knew that this case was the one thing every president dreaded right before elections. Van Buren did not want to be the president in office that would be remembered as the Man in Office when the United States was spilt into North and South. Van Buren had to make sure this case went his way. He changed the Judge in the District Court of Connecticut to a younger Judge, in hopes to manipulate him, this obviously put Checks and Balances into question. After the new judge (Andrew T. Judson) decided that the Africans should be returned to Africa, shortly after, an appeal was called to the Supreme Court to handle this case again. William Holabird was arguing that the Africans should be returned to Ruiz and Montez; while Baldwin was arguing that the Africans were never property to begin with and therefore the Treaty of 1795 (Pinckney’s Treaty) would not apply. Lt. Gedney claimed salvage on the Amistad under the Pinckney Treaty, stating he risked his life to save the ship.
Religion was a big aspect during the Amistad Case. Many abolitionists for explain were trying to inflict the people morally and through their hearts than battling in the court system. John C. Calhoun stated slavery as “a good sin” and was necessary for life. This is leading to economical slavery being enforced onto people. Calhoun was making it quite clear that this Case would be the spark to the war between the north and south. Abolitionists didn’t really care of the safety of the Africans, their purpose was much greater, they were there for a sacrifice; similar to Jesus. Abolitionists and Calhoun even though were on different “sides” used religion as their method to reach to people.
There were some important people that need to get mentioned in order to show I know who’s who. Cinque is obviously the “leader” of the Africans aboard the Amistad. Coming from West Africa Cinque’s motive to return home was to be with his family. Roger Sherman Baldwin was the lawyer in the Amistad’s defense. Baldwin spent most of his time trying to show that the Africans aboard the Amistad were born in Africa and not on a slave trading felicity. Baldwin’s motives were clearly money and recognition. Mr. Justice Story was the justice from the Supreme Court that gave the opinion of the court; while Mr. Justice Baldwin gave the dissented of the court (which was only himself). James Covey and Charles Pratt were the two translators found by the professor at Yale, Josiah W. Gibbs, to help Baldwin communicate with the Africans. William Holabird was the U.S. district attorney in Connecticut claiming that the Africans should be turned over to the custody of the United States. Lt. Gedney was aboard the Washington (a U.S. Naval boat) claiming salvage on the cargo within the Amistad. John Q. Adams was an abolitionist who helped Baldwin in the Supreme Court to have the Africans returned back to Africa. Martin Van Buren was the President at the time of the case. Van Buren tried to interfere with the Judicial Branch to make sure the out come of the case benefited him.
The Aftermath of the Amistad is even more important than the case itself. Simply because of the events that followed. The Civil War has a direct correlation with the Amistad case; why if this case was never brought up a Civil War may have never of happened in America. Segregation was a form of mental slavery connected with the Amistad Case, subconsciously people separated into their own cliques or groups. The Case may have been about breaking of treaties and doing things illegal, but those aren’t important. The Amistad case opened the doors for further cases to go to trial. This case alone did not end the institution of slavery, but it sure help to get there. Now we all should know that the Africans were able to go back home, but not all of them left to go back to West Africa; only 35 went. Martin Van Buren did not win the election he had hoped to win, even after the effort he put in to manipulate the Judicial System. The Amistad case led to economical slavery. Why after the Civil War people of a race (other than white) were enslaved to certain jobs, low wages, etc.; granted this is a generalization. Not to mention Slavery was the true motive for new technology, why if you own 10 slaves and technology made it so a certain machine requires 2 slaves. What do you do with the other 8? You get more land for more slaves to use those machines. The need for more slaves was a definite yes, seeing as though plantation owners wanted more money. This led people to being economically enslaved while physically enslaving to do so. This may seem as too far of a starch but the Amistad case had an impact on being a child. The need for someone to guide you, or “control” you is mental enslavement. I guess about anything can relate to the Amistad case.
Well for being my first time doing this I’m not sure how good or bad it is (whatever that is). I know the organization of the paper is a little confusing but it states what it needs to state about the Amistad Case. This is what I know about the Amistad without all the most obvious situations.