The Amistad and The Abolition of Slave Trade Act
Last time we discussed the Doctrine of Clean Hands as Related to the Amistad. I have to say that most of you got the connection both giving an adequate definition of what the Doctrine Of Clean hands meant, as well as making a case for how it applied to the Amistad.
Making the Case that if the slave holders Montes and Ruiz who were seeking the court to return their slaves to them had started the whole thing by committing a Crime (importing human beings across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa in violation of the 1808 law forbidding the slave trade), they could not seek justice as their hands not clean.
Now lets look at something else. The Prohibition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade
In 1807 The British Government signed into law the Act for the Abolition of Slavery. This act made the slave trade across the Atlantic Ocean illegal. The United States under our third President Thomas Jefferson
signed a treaty with Britain agreeing to not import slaves across the Atlantic Ocean into America.
In 1806, President Thomas Jefferson
invited Congress to take the final step. In a message to both houses, he expressed his hope that Congress would end the slave trade and “withdraw the citizens of the United States from all further participation in those violations of human rights which have so long been continued on the unoffending inhabitants of Africa.” Congress passed the act in March of 1807, and Jefferson quickly signed it into law. (Great Britain’s similar law, the Slave Trade Act, was passed by Parliament later the same month.) The law set its effective date as January 1, 1808—the earliest date possible under the Constitution.
This act sighted the cruelty of slavery as an evil that must be stopped. At this time there were over 3 million slaves living in the United States of America.
The thing is this in no way made slavery itself illegal. Slaves in the U.S. would not be freed by this law, nor would this free the children of slaves who were like their parents considered property.
My question to you is do you see something dissimilar with outlawing the slave trade because it is a violation of human rights and yet not outlaw slavery?
Why do you think they admitted that slavery was evil and had to end and made it illegal to bring more slaves in to America. Yet at the same time said nothing about ending slavery for the 3 million living as slaves at the time. Not to mention the future enslavement of children not yet born to slaves. What do you think about this? In 5- 10 sentences tell me what the Slave Trade Act or 1808 was and then make a statement of opinion about what you think about ending the slave trade on the grounds that it was brutal and inhuman, but doing nothing to end slavery.