Amistad - Movie Review

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Jonathan Jones
History 11
Movie Review

The truth about the middle passage and slavery is brought to light in the movie "Amistad." In "Amistad" Joseph Cinque and fellow tribesmen from Africa are captured and put aboard a slave ship. Cinque and his companions organize a revolt aboard the ship and they take it over. Unfortunately when they try to head back to Africa they are captured and put in jail. Cinque and his people demand freedom from their captors. The ownership issue of the slaves soon reaches Queen Isabella of Spain, an American president and a few other interested parties, all battling for the slaves. A young lawyer named Baldwin is recruited by the abolitionists to fight for their cause. Baldwin and another man find a translator to bridge the communication gap between Cinque and himself. When Baldwin and Cinque talk Cinque tells Baldwin about his life back home and what the passage was like. Cinque also tells Baldwin that to save food all the female slaves were tied to rocks and thrown overboard, he also mentions that he was first brought to Cuba and then sold to the owners of La Amistad.

The trials in the court begin with Baldwin arguing against the case that the slaves were born in America. This was a problem because at this time slaves could no longer be brought from Africa, they had to be bred in America. There was overwhelming evidence showing that the slaves were brought to America illegally and that they were going to be set free. President Van Buren then decided to take matters into his own hands by changing the judge, hoping to swing the case in his favor. Fortunately for Cinque and Baldwin the new judge also sided with them, again granting them freedom. Van Buren was not going to have any of this so the prosecution brought the case all the way up to the Supreme Court. Seven of the Nine Supreme Court justices were slave owners and this created a huge bias. To help him win the case Baldwin convinces John Quincy Adams, a former...
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