Fight For Freedom


Fight For Freedom Essay, Research Paper

In 1839, Sengbe Pieh, who later became known as Cinque, was

captured and taken as a slave. He his sold several times until

eventually he comes into the hands of Spanish slave traders. Even

though at that time, every European nation had signed treaties declaring

slaves were no longer to be taken from Africa, the profits were so large

that many Europeans flouted the laws. Cinque and the rest of the slaves

then are loaded onto the ship and carried across the “middle passage” to

Cuba where they are sold to new masters. It is there that the Africans

have their names changed to conceal the fact that they were not born

into slavery, but freed men and women who were kidnaped into bondage.

In Cuba, fifty-three Africans board the Amistad which is bound for their

owners plantation near Puerto Principe. Rations are cut due to delays,

and the Africans are subjected to beatings and starvation. During a

storm, Cinque uses a nail he found to work free the lock holding his

iron collar on. After he frees himself, he then unlocks his comrades.

Cinque then has the Africans are themselves with knives being stored in

the cargo hold. Early the next morning, the Africans attack, killing

all the crew and passengers except for two who they command to sail the

ship back to Africa. The Spaniard did everything they could to delay

the trip, hoping to attract attention from other ships. Eventually the

Amistad sails into New England waters where it is captured by an

American warship. The Africans are then placed in jail until the

disposition is decided upon. Abolitionists take up their cause,

teaching the Africans English and how to read. Spain immediately

demands that the Africans be turned over so that the Africans can be

tried for piracy. The U.S. courts refuse to extradite and a lengthy

court battle begins. The U.S. administration backs the country of Spain

while the abolitionists do everything they can to raise support for the

Africans. When District Court Judge Judson determines that the Africans

were to be returned to Africa, the White House and Spanish authorities

immediately appeal. Eventually, the case comes before the U.S. Supreme

court where John Quincy Adams joins the defense team. The Supreme Court

upheld the district courts decision that the Africans were illegally

enslaved, and therefore entitled to fight for their freedom; however,

the U.S. administration refused to finance the trip back to Africa. The

necessary money was raised by the Amistad committee and the thirty-five

survivors were returned to their home country.

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