John Quincy Adams and Slavery: from the Gag resolution to the Amistad

John Quincy Adams, while president, did not publicly advocate abolitionism. However, after his term in office, he was elected to the House of Representatives, where he became a well-known opponent of the Gag Rule (see pp. 391 in your text).

Click on the link to read a historical essay in .pdf format regarding Adams’ stances regarding slavery: http://digital.library.okstate.edu/oas/oas_pdf/v50/p176_180.pdf

But perhaps one of the most well-known incidents with Adams was his involvement in the Amistad case. The Amistad was a slave ship bound for Cuba when the captured Africans aboard seized control of the ship. Eventually the ship was stopped by the US Coast Guard, and a court case began to determine, among other things, where the Africans were to go (the options included back to Africa, to prison or execution for mutiny, or back to the Spanish to be sold into slavery). Adams was one of the attorneys who defended the Africans during the trial. It is a fascinating story that you need to understand. Here is an article  about John Quincy Adams and the Amistad case, from the American Almanac, if you have not seen the movie: http://american_almanac.tripod.com/amistad.htm

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