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Martin Van Buren (Character)
from Amistad (1997)
John C. Calhoun: We are inferior in one area: we're not as proficient in the art of gain. We're not as wealthy as our northern neighbors. We're still struggling. Take away our life's blood now, and... well, we all know what happens then. North and South. They become the masters, and we the slaves. But not without a fight!
[the other dinner guests are momentarily silenced]
Martin Van Buren: Senator Calhoun is being modest. He's not inferior in another area, the art of exaggeration.
John C. Calhoun: Ask yourself, Senor Calderon. What court wants to be responsible for the spark that ignites the firestorm? What President wants to be in office when it comes crashing down around him? Certainly no court before this one. Certainly no President, before this one. So, judge us not too harshly, sir. And bid her majesty 'like. Because the real determination our courts and our President must make, is not whether this rag-tag bunch of Africans raised swords against their enemy... but rather, must *we?*
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