The Summary Of The Basis Behind Amistad

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Although the film “Amistad” is based off of the true events, it is historically inaccurate in a few different ways. The Amistad is a film by Steven Spielburg in which the horrors of the middle passage are shown and described. La Amistad is the name of the cargo ship which carries slaves from Africa to the United States. This at the time though was illegal, but the Spanish still wanted slaves. They continued on with these horrors and a tremendous amount of lives were lost in the process. Many Africans committed suicide while others died a painful death. If anyone was caught performing these actions they would be punished. If they were going to be caught the Spanish would hide the evidence by having the chained up slaves drowned in the ocean to protect themselves.

There are times in the film where the characters actions do not align with what the real people did. John Quincy Adams, the former president at the time, did fight for the slaves freedom and even spoke for them during their trial in the Supreme Court. In the film, John Quincy Adams met Cinque at his own house which would not have actually happened.

Secondly, in the film a great deal of attention is paid to John Quincy Adams. Adams, who was a former president, was the lawyer for Cinque and the other Africans before the Supreme Court in February 1841.

In the film, John Quincy Adams is portrayed as a compassionate, decent guy even though he came from a rich family. His father was John Adams, the second president of the United States and was a member of the Federalist Party. Both his father and himself did not own slaves, but the did not lift a finger to help abolish slavery. Adams made it clear that his legal defense was not meant to challenge the Constitution, which made slavery legal. Also, the film did not fully explain the motivation of John Quincy Adams.

The film presents a positive image of the Supreme Court since they decided to set the slaves free. This is not an accurate impression of the court. The Supreme Court was the ones to start the slavery in the United States to begin with. The infamous Dred Scott decision in 1857 stated that Africans slaves were “three-fifths humans”. During that time, only white men had rights under the Constitution although it stated that all men were created equally.

Another historically inaccurate picture the film creates is the image of the abolition movement. In the film, it was shown as if it went into effect right away and made it look easier than it really was. In reality, it took awhile due to the Spanish people who defended the actions on the Amistad. The Supreme Court decided to offer a free passage for the Africans back to Africa. Because of this the abolitionists began to hold meetings and raise money. People paid to hear Cinque speak in his native language and to see the Africans perform native dances. Cinque spoke to a crowd of thousands in New York about his fight against slavery. It took seven months to raise enough money for all Africans to return home. All in all, the film “Amistad” is historically inaccurate in a few different ways.  

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