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AMISTAD AMISTAD is a true story of the Spanish slave ship La Amistad whose cargo broke their chains in 1839 traveling towards the northwest coast of America Much of the story involves the courtroom drama about the slave who led the revolt Joseph Cinque Djimon Hounsou On July 2 1839 La Amistad was sailing from Havana to Puerto Pricipe Cuba when the ships unwilling passengers 53 slaves recently captured from Africa revolted Led by Cinque they killed the captain and the cook but spared the life of a Spanish navigator so that he could sail them home to Sierra Leone The film however portrayed that the slaves only killed the captain and left the cook and navigator alive The navigator instead managed to sail to Amistad generally northward Two months later the US Navy captured the ship off Long Island New York and towed it into New London Connecticut The mutineers were held in a jail in New Haven Connecticut a state in which slavery was legal The Spanish government demanded for the return of the Africans to Cuba as did Martin Van Buren our then President of the United States President Van Buren along with many newspaper editors favored extraditing the Africans to Cuba in the hopes of gaining votes for re-election Many Abolitionists including Lewis Tappan and James Pennington hired Roger Baldwin Matthew McConaughey to argue the case before the court for the mutineers The federal district court judge agreed and ruled that the Africans were not liable for their actions because they had been enslaved illegally The case was then appealed to the Supreme Court where John Quincy Adams Anthony Hopkins defended the Africans After a speech in front of the Supreme Court the court agreed with the lower courts ruling that since the international slave trade was illegal persons escaping should be recognized as free under American law After some research on the actual event several of the movies
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