A group of southerners are talking about seceding from the Union and going to war. When their captain states that he would prefer peace, the group gets riled up. To calm the group down, one member asks Rhett Butler for his opinion. The group claims that southerners are tougher and are better fighters than the Yankees, but Rhett points out the south's weaknesses. Rhett presents the numerous strategic advantages the North has over the South.
John Quincy Adams argues in favor of the African slaves in the United States v. The Amistad case in front of the Supreme Court. He displays fervent support for the abolition of slavery and asserts that the natural state of mankind is freedom, which contrasts with the South's view.
The plot of The Great Debaters revolves around the efforts of debate coach Melvin B. Tolson at a historically black Wiley College to place his team on equal footing with whites in the American South during the 1930s. The movie explores the social fabric of Texas during the Great Depression, for which as long as schools are segregated for whites and blacks, the quality of education will be vastly unequal.