Tag Archives: John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams and Amistad: The 170th Anniversary by Gregory Hilton

Today marks the 170th anniversary of the date the Amistad slaves were arrested at Montauk, NY. The speech by former President John Quincy Adams before the Supreme Court was portrayed in the movie “Amistad,” and it is an outstanding defense of liberty. In 1841, Adams represented the defendants pro bono before the Supreme Court. He successfully argued that the Africans should not be deported to Cuba but should be considered free.
Adams won their freedom, with the chance to stay in the United States or return to Africa. He made the argument on the grounds that the U.S. had prohibited the international slave trade, although it allowed internal slavery.
In his last term, Adams served in the House of Representatives and spoke with freshman Rep. Abraham Lincoln (IL). Adams is the only major figure in American history who knew Lincoln as well as all of the Founding Fathers.

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