THE AMISTAD3 - Dr Oliver Hooper HIS 202 23 February 2006...

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Dr. Oliver Hooper HIS 202 23 February 2006 THE AMISTAD: A HISTORICAL CASE OF SLAVERY Prelude In August of 1839, what appeared to be a listless “pirate ship,” unidentified by any flag, was spotted off the North Atlantic coast of the United States. On board were thirty barely clad black men armed with cutlasses, and two white men-Spanish slave owners with an incredible story to tell. A month earlier, the Amistad had set sail from Havana with a valuable cargo of slaves and $40,000 worth of gold doubloons. She was headed for the Cuban coastal town of Puerto Principe-but in a matter of days the captain and the cook were dead, and the ship was in the control of the slaves. Thus began “the Amistad affair,” which, reports Mary Cable, “was to bedevil the diplomatic relations of the United States, Spain and England for a generation; intensify bitterness over the question of slavery; and . . . lead an ex-President (John Quincy Adams) to go before the Supreme Court and castigate the administration” in an eloquent plea for the slaves’ freedom. In her fascinating and carefully researched account, Cable takes us right to the heart of these complex matters, dramatically replaying an incredible series of events that converged to form a uniquely exciting and challenging chapter in American history. Introduction The ethnocentric attitudes of Afro Americans are largely based on the historical record of America’s domestic attitude towards what is commonly referred to as “color coding”.
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Questions 1. You are to give evidence that supports or reputes that the following theories are in play: a. Cultural Pluralism Cultural pluralism implies the situation when unique groups of peoples live side by side in the same society. An example of this would be the white planet aristocracy of the south, and the slaves they used as labor. Each group has its own values, customs, and religions; but are both considered part of southern society. Slavery and southern white society as a whole are basically on trial in this case, therefore Cultural Pluralism is in play. b. External Colonialism External Colonialism is when one nation attempts to control the activities and policies of societies less developed that its own. For instance, when the United States and Britain outlawed the slave trade, they forced this ideal upon coastal African societies. This meant that other European nations would be forbidden from participating in the slave trade as well. The United States and Britain imposing their will upon Spain and other nations during this era is a major issue in the case. c. Ideological Racism Ideological racism refers to an excuse that basically says some races are inferior in every way because they were simply born that way. Before the Amistad insurrection even occurred, arguments were being put forth by the white elite about the inferiorities of other races. This was used as a justification for the continuation of the slavery enterprise. This concept is going to be challenged in the Amistad case, because it
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