Historical Critic of Amistad
The first part of the movie Amistad depicting the slaves being capture, showing the suffering from separation of family and the physical abuse of these people was emotionally upsetting to me. As the movie progressed I felt it became misleading in that it portrayed the situation of the captives as though our judicial system was really concerned for their well being. The movie was actually based on the Atlantic slave trade which was Internationally outlawed in 1840. Thus the court case being made was really about the legality of the origin of the ship and had nothing to do with human rights or abolition. When John Quincy Adams goes before the supreme court to plead the case you were left to believe it was working toward human rights with the decision the supreme court made. It would appear the courts were becoming sympathetic towards human rights. This was not so, our courts at that time were the biggest supporters of slavery. In March of 1857 the supreme court declared that all black slaves as well as free slaves were not and could not become citizens of the United States.
      John Calhoun in the movie was making threats of civil war. He was a strong proponent of the institution of slavery and was known for threats of succession but he did not use the threat of civil war. The civil war was still 20 years in the future, it started on the 12th of April 1861. Another misrepresentation in the movie was the showing of the ship Amistad arriving in New York where slavery was abolished in 1827. It would seem the course would have been set for Connecticut because slavery was legal there. (see Jones,pp 35,37)  
      There were also misrepresentation of individuals in the movie. Baldwin was an abolitionist when he took the case, not a person that would see property implications in a human rights struggle. In the movie he was portrayed as an insensitive person that slowly moved toward being an abolitionist.

Work sited
Jones, Howard,...