Saturday, January 19, 2019
AMISTAD (yet again) - Calhoun spoils Van Buren's supper
Some context on President Van Buren, the politics: first, the president is shown as stumping for re-election--which is foremost his objective (the Amistad case is more an annoyance); second, the nation is ebbing closer to war--not actually on the specific issue of slavery, but over increasing intrusion into the southern, agrarian economy in the form of tariffs and other means, methods. Study the progressive Federal tariffs levied on imports/exports and the particular, adverse impact on southern commerce, economy.
In this scene, John Calhoun (prior Vice President under John Quincy Adams) arrives at the President's banquet. His appearance is bemoaned by Van Buren because Calhoun is a staunch figure of state's rights and seemingly is threatening a further breach of regional relations, perhaps the gravity of the Amistad case but more so the tensions that have been growing from some years now (as described above).
I do not know if this event or Calhoun's described/depicted position is historical (this particular aspect of the story could be hyperbolic). The film does, by admission, stray from actual historical record. I do know that this moral issue could not have been the cause of the war: the state is amoral and thus is incapable of considering a moral grievance as a cause of contention, conflict.
Here (link below), Calhoun shakes up the supper.
John Calhoun of SC
Human slavery is assuredly egregious, but in this scene, Calhoun is referring more to the economic plight of southern states under growing control(s) of the northern region in general and the Federal Government in particular. While the south represented the predominance of slavery, as a percentage of the population, these persons of color were treated little if any better in the northern regions. Again, the morality of the matter was not the real point of derision, division, but finally, where the power will reside
The state (politics) is renown for its use (abuse) of moral issues, tapping into the hearts of individuals who are indeed able to sense and suffer sin. They (the state) will appear earnest in the appeals of morality but only as a means or method to achieve their only true interest or end, power. Once (or as) this agenda is acknowledged, persons are able to accept that government's good intentions are merely the prelude for power. .