The Amistad Saga
This chapter discusses the Amistad case as it went through US federal courts. The case eventually landed at the Supreme Court where the Africans who had mutinied and commandeered the ship were granted freedom and permitted to return to Sierra Leone. The Amistad case is one of the most important cases to undermine the institution of slavery in the US, placing the former American president, John Q. Adams, against supporters of the US institution of slavery, such as President Martin Van Buren. The case also ignited a diplomatic bout between the US and Spain on the question of slavery and international treaty obligations. The chapter analyzes John Adams’ brief on behalf of the Africans, which was an indictment of the American government on justice and freedom.