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AMISTAD (THE MOVIE)

AMISTAD(THE MOVIE)

Amistadis a 1997 movie based on a true story that took place in 1839. Itinvolved the rebellion of African captives aboard LaAmistad, whichwasaslave ship. During this period, those that had been kidnapped forslave trade managed to control their masters’ ship along the Cubancoast and killed the captain. Despite their wish to be directed backto Africa, the ship was guided to the U.S. coastal where thecountry’s military captured it, which led to an international legalencounter. In 1841, the U.S. Supreme Court determined the case thatsaw the freedom of the slaves. Steven Spielberg is the director ofthis film, which portrays some slavery events that took place inearly years1.

In1839 when the Amistad incident took place, slavery was practiced inmost of the Southern states of the U.S. while the Northern region hadabolitionists that fought against it. During Jefferson’sadministration in 1808, the Congress illegalized slavery however,illicit smuggling continued. During the same period, slavery waslegal in Cuba. The authorization of slavery in Cuba was made in 1512by the king of Spain because Africans were considered strong and goodperformers at work as opposed to the aborigines2.Another country where slavery was legal is Canada notably, mostparts of the nation practiced the act until its prohibition in 1833.On the other hand, England had criminalized slavery before theincident.

Thedifferent attitudes that existed in the U.S. regarding slavery beforethe Amistad incident were the proponents and opponents of thepractice. The Northern region opposed slavery and campaigned for itsabolition while the Southern states were in support of it3.The South believed that without slavery, their economy would collapsebecause they depended on the captives’ labor to run their cottonfarms and other activities. On the other hand, the north viewedslavery as immoral and cruel. Besides, the north had startedindustrialization hence, slaves’ services were unnecessary asopposed to the south, which depended heavily on agriculture.

Thecourt ruled that the captured Africans had no owner because they hadbeen transported to the U.S. illegally. The Supreme Court’sdecision to free the Negroes was legally right. The reason for thisis that it met the stipulations of the March 3, 1819, Act4.The U.S. laws were against the transportation of captives fromAfrica it was also outlawed to bring them in the country.

Despitethe fact that slavery had been prohibited in the U.S. in 1808, theAmistad case seta new awakening in the country regarding its abolition.The case cemented the abolition lobby group that was seen asobnoxious and unpopular before. Besides, the incident brought about acentral and specific course that the abolitionists used to steertheir mission, which was to show the prejudice that slavery caused5.Also, the case brought about the commitment of religious leaders todefend captives, a practice that they could not do before. Inessence, I believe that the case had an impact on the abolition ofslavery from 1841 until 1861 during the Civil War as illustrated.

First,the movie depicts abolitionist lobby group as a passive one, which iscontrary to the historical facts. It is notable that abolitionistsparticipated actively in the Amistad case and raised funds to defendthe captives. When the court denied the slaves free passage to theirnative country, Lewis Tappan led abolitionists to organize fundraising meetings. Besides, they paid to hear Singbe’s speech, aswell as see African dances. Second, the movie shows about 50 captiveschained jointly and thrown into the deep waters this is historicallywrong because nothing like that took place on board LaAmistadship6.Nonetheless, the occurrence happened on a different ship that wascarrying slaves, the Zong. Third, Spielberg’s portray of slaves asignorant of the court’s operations is historically fallacious. Itis notable that Africans had their legal systems therefore, thedirector could have shown it in the story. On a different note, theinaccuracies noted equate to misrepresentation of the historicaloccurrence. Therefore, I feel that the movie is incorrect to thehistorical account.

Conclusion

Insummation,Amistadis a 1997 film that is based on a true story that took place in 1839.It involved the rebellion of African captives aboard LaAmistad, whichwasaslave ship. During this period, those that had been kidnapped forslave trade managed to take control of their masters’ ship alongthe Cuban coast and killed the captain. Despite their wish to bedirected back to Africa, the ship was guided to the U.S. coastalwhere the country’s military captured it, which led to aninternational legal encounter. In 1841, the U.S. Supreme Courtdetermined the case that saw the freedom of the slaves. StevenSpielberg as the director of this movie portrays some of the slaveryevents that took place in early years.

Bibliography

Amistad.1997. Film. Hollywood: Steven Spielberg.

GreatNeck, Publishing. &quotThe United States, appellants, v. theLibelants and Claimants of the schooner Amistad.&quot United States,Appellants, v. the Libelants &amp Claimants of the Schooner Amistad(January 10, 2009): 1. History ReferenceCenter,EBSCOhost

Jackson,Donald Dale. &quotMutiny on the Amistad.&quot Smithsonian 28, no. 9(December 1997): 115-123. History Reference Center, EBSCOhost&nbsp

Jones,Howard. Mutiny on the Amistad: The Saga of a Slave Revolt and ItsImpact on American Abolition, Law, and Diplomacy. New York: OxfordUniversity Press, 1988.

1 Amistad. 1997. Film. Hollywood: Steven Spielberg.

2 Ibid

3 Jones, Howard. Mutiny on the Amistad: The Saga of a Slave Revolt and Its Impact on American Abolition, Law, and Diplomacy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

4 Ibid

5 Great Neck, Publishing. &quotThe United States, appellants, v. the Libelants and Claimants of the schooner Amistad.&quot United States, Appellants, v. the Libelants &amp Claimants of the Schooner Amistad (January 10, 2009): 1. History ReferenceCenter, EBSCOhost

6 Jackson, Donald Dale. &quotMutiny on the Amistad.&quot Smithsonian 28, no. 9 (December 1997): 115-123. History Reference Center, EBSCOhost&nbsp