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Film Studies - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Film Studies In the year 1839, slaves took over control of the Amistad ship and attempted to sail the vessel back to Africa. An American frigate seized the ship and took it to the US, which, in turn, set off a controversy in which the courts conflicted with the President and created awareness of North America about the detriments of slavery…
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Download file to see previous pages The film Amistad provides an accurate depiction of slavery in the North prior to the 1865 time line (Jones 14). Slavery in the US was a manner of slave labor that existed as a permissible custom since the early colonial period. Pursuant to the American Revolution between the year 1775 and 1783, northern states abolished slavery. Congress subsequently abolished slavery in the Northwest Territory. Slavery in North gained momentum after 1800 with the advent of the cotton industry before expanding to the Southwest. This resulted in the establishment of a slave and Free State system. In spite of this, the US law illegalized the international export and import of slaves in the year 1807. By the mid 19th century, the South vigorously defended slavery, as well as its expansion into other territories. In the North, however, a minute number of abolitionists condemned slavery as sinful, while a large number of anti-slavery movements denounced slavery as unfavorable to the rights of free individuals. States attempted and failed to reach a compromise, and in the year 1861, eleven states disentangled to establish the Confederate States of America. In order to defeat the Confederacy, in 1862, the Union made abolition of slavery the main agenda, which the Union attained in 1865 (Jones 29). During this period, slave owners freed all slaves but did not receive any compensation. Through the system, chattel slavery became the dominant system in which ownership of slaves entailed the ownership of an individual and all of his or her descendants. The chattel system encompassed a racial element as slaves were predominantly blacks of African descent, while the owners were largely whites. Freedom from slavery was only possible by running away or being discharged by the owner. The film, Amistad depicts this phenomenon as slaves aboard the vessel sought to run away from their owners. Amistad is a historical drama film based on the true events of the 1839 uprising in which newly captured African slaves took over the La Amistad ship off the Cuban coast under the leadership of Joseph Cinque (Jones 21). Directed by Steven Spielberg and released in 1997, the film paints a picture of the slavery menace that engulfed North America in the 18th and early 19th century. The film follows the story of Cinque’s life through his recurrent flashbacks. Of paramount importance is Cinque’s capture in Africa and journey to the Caribbean Islands through the infamous Middle Passage slave vessel called Tecora. Cinque shows the horrors engulfed in the Middle Passage like the drowning of fifty persons to save rations (Jones 37). Cinque recounts that, after their arrival at the Caribbean Islands, his unlawful sale to the owners of La Amistad ensued. Through Cinque’s flashbacks, the film accurately depicts the occurrences of the slave trade and slavery, showing how trade in Africans occurred like in commodity such as copper and crops. Through Cinque’s experiences, the audience appreciates the events of the slave trade and slavery and understands the pushing force for the establishment of US antislavery laws. The film goes further to describe the legal battle that ensued after the recapture of the African slaves on the La Amistad by a US revenue cutter. The legal battle entailed the group of African slaves charged with murder and mutiny and who received ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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