24th February
It was on this day...
1840 Arguments in Amistad Case Begin Before Supreme Court

La Amistad was a Spanish slave ship but the prospective 'slaves' had rebelled and had taken control of the ship, killing the captain and cook. An agreement was made between the Africans on board and the remaining crew to take them back to Africa, but the crew lied and in fact set sail for New York. When the ship arrived in New York it was taken into custody by the US Navy.

On this day in 1840, former President John Quincy Adams begins to argue the Amistad case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Whilst slavery had been made illegal in 1808, it continued in the Southern US states and in some northeastern states, including Connecticut, to whose jurisdiction the ship was handed over, further complicating the case.

Adams’ convinced the court to rule in favor of returning the Africans to their homeland, but President Taft refused to allocate federal funds to send the Africans back, instead the abolitionists had to raise the money themselves.

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