John Quincy Adams’ Request for Papers Relating to the Lower Court Trials of the Amistad Africans [Petition for Certioriari], 1841.
Item From: Records of the Supreme Court of the United States. (02/02/1790-)
In the trial before the Supreme Court, the Africans were represented by John Quincy Adams, a former U.S. President and descendant of American revolutionaries. Preparing for his appearance before the Court, Adams requested papers from the lower courts one month before the proceedings opened. For 8 1/2 hours, the 73-year-old Adams passionately and eloquently defended the Africans’ right to freedom on both legal and moral grounds, referring to treaties prohibiting the slave trade and to the Declaration of Independence.