Declaration Of Independence Rhetorical Analysis

442 Words2 Pages
In February of 1839, Portuguese slave hunters abducted fifty-three Africans from Sierra Leone and shipped them to Havana, Cuba, a center for the slave trade. As the Africans continued to be held in prison the focus of the case turned into the issues of property rights and human rights. However, when the case went to the Supreme Court in January 1841, former President John Quincy Adams argued for the slaves case to regain their freedom. Although the Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal in the country, Adam’s speech reveals Americans as a people are divided because the North and South disagree about the humanity of slavery. Furthermore the South was being pro-slavery, slaves were the personal property of their owners and also viewed as a necessity. The slave master had absolute authority over his human property such as being able to sell or dispose them and the slave could do nothing about it. Slaves had no constitutional rights; they could not testify in court against a white person; they could not leave the plantation without permission. The President’s publication stated that ‘“Slavery has always been with us and is neither sinful nor immoral. Rather, as war and antagonism are the natural states of man, so, too, slavery, as natural as it is…show more content…
John Quincy Adams was the face of fighting for freedom rights in the Amistad case, following his abolitionist father’s footsteps. John Quincy Adams says in front of the Supreme Court, ‘“Yea, this is no mere property case, gentlemen. I put it to you thus: This is the most important case ever to come before this court. Because what it, in fact, concerns is the very nature of man.”’ Accepting Adams’s argument, the Supreme Court ruled that the Africans were not criminals, and the claims of the Africans being property were not legitimate because they were illegally held as
Open Document