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Amistad quotes

Baldwin: (to the court) My clients journey did not begin in Havana, as they claim and keep claiming more and more emphatically. No, my clients' journey began much, much further away.

Baldwin: Captain Fitzerald, please explain to us your primary duties in Her Majesty's Navy.
Captain Fitzgerald: To patrol the Ivory Coast for slave ships.
Baldwin: Because?
Captain Fitzgerald: Because slavery is banned in British law, sir.
Baldwin: Yet the abduction of freemen from the British Protectorate of Sierra Leone and their illegal transportation to the New World, as described by Cinque, is not unheard of, is it?
Captain Fitzgerald: Not even unusual, regrettably.

Baldwin: (to Cinque) I said this before the judge, this is almost how it works here, almost.

John Quincy Adams: (to the Court) This man is black. We can all see that. But, can we also see as easily, that which is equally true? That he is the only true hero in this room. Now, if he were white, he wouldn't be standing before this court fighting for his life. If he were white and his enslavers were British, he wouldn't be standing, so heavy the weight of the medals and honors we would bestow upon him. Songs would be written about him. The great authors of our times would fill books about him. His story would be told and retold, in our classrooms. Our children, because we would make sure of it, would know his name as well as they know Patrick Henry's. Yet, if the South is right, what are we to do with that embarrassing, annoying document, The Declaration of Independence? What of its conceits? "All men created equal," "inalienable rights," "life, liberty," and so on and so forth? What on Earth are we to do with this? I have a modest suggestion. (tears papers in half)

US Secretary of State Forsyth: This could take us all one long step closer to civil war.
Martin Van Buren: Over this?

John Quincy Adams: What is their story, by the way?
Theodore Joadson: Sir?
John Quincy Adams: What is their story?
Theodore Joadson: Why, they're um... they're from west Africa.
John Quincy Adams: No. What is their story?
Theodore Joadson: (exhales and looks confused)
John Quincy Adams: Mr. Joadson, you're from where originally?
Theodore Joadson: Why, Georgia, sir.
John Quincy Adams: Georgia.
Theodore Joadson: Yes, sir.
John Quincy Adams: Does that pretty much sum up what you are? A Georgian? Is that your story? No you're an ex-slave whose devoted his life to the abolition of slavery, and overcoming the obstacles and hardships along the way, I should imagine. That's your story, isn't it?
Theodore Joadson: (smiles and nods)
John Quincy Adams: (laughs) You and this young so-called lawyer have proven you know what they are. They're Africans. Congratulations. What you don't know, and as far as I can tell haven't bothered in the least to discover, is who they are. Right?

Ruiz: (to Pedro Montes) That one wants us to sail them back. That one thinks he can sail all the way back without us.

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