In the 1830s and 1840s, the meaning of freedom to Americans differed from person to person just as much as it does today. It varied from being a white male who owned property who was very stuck in his idea of freedom, which meant political power and being allowed to do almost anything he could imagine. Black slaves who had no freedom had their own idea also. They dreamed of one day realizing his or her idea of freedom, which was to not be a slave. Along with freedom came the issue of equality. Even thought the two are completely different, they played a part in defining one another.
In the 1830s and 1840s blacks were not thought of as being equal to white Europeans and so were not given freedom in some places. They were thought more of as property and certainly you can't free your gun or your house. So how could you free a slave? It was pretty much a messed up way of thinking back then, but it was all they knew. People can and do change. Changes in how people thought was evident in the movie Amistad.
Cinque the chosen spokesman for the Africans had a vivid real idea of freedom. He wanted to go home. It's that simple. He had been taken by force from his home and family and place in a foreign place and was being held captive for something he did not understand. He did understand that some people were obviously against him and his people. He was destined to return home and he would obviously do anything to ensure his freedom. In the beginning of the movie Roger Baldwin was so sure he had a can't lose approach to winning the case. The blacks were merely property was his approach. Well it wasn't the greatest approach but it was the defense's approach. Though the course of the trials and visiting with the Africans Baldwin became human. He began to sort of connect with them as people and was definitely an abolitionist at the end of the movie. John Quincy Adams was a funny fellow. He had been in government for quite some time, had been...
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