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The Amistad mutiny carried particular weight for at least a few reasons. First, there was existing tension around the issue of slavery in the United States because the Abolitionist Movement had already begun. Second, John Quincy Adams lent his name and his support to the cause of the Africans, generating a great deal more publicity than they might otherwise have garnered. Third, because the imprisoned slaves were accessible to the public, they became more sympathetic characters to the public. ( A recent book, The Amistad Rebellion (2012) by Marcus Rediker, discusses this aspect with the examination of recently discovered documents.) Finally, Great Britain had outlawed slavery just a few years before (1833), so there was international attention to the case, as well. In spite of all of this, there was no ruling by the court on the issue of the legality of slavery in the United States, and the Dred Scott decision some twenty years later ruled that the Constitution did not protect the rights of slaves at all. It was not until the Civil War and the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution that slavery was made illegal.
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