IAH 202 American Exploration Paper

IAH 202 American Exploration Paper - Self Justification and...

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Self Justification and Greed in the New World Exploration IAH 202: Europe and the World Dr. Elvira Wilbur February 6, 2007
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Veiled by layers of self justification and righteousness lies the sole purpose of the European explorations to the New World: greed. Funded by the Reyes Católicos, as well as blessed by the Catholic Church, many expeditions were embarked upon in order to “spread the word of God.” Elaborate stories of backwards and unchristian cultures shocked the European community, and missionary assignments were undertaken immediately. The horrific idea that someone could be living in such inhumane conditions seemed to justify all means that were taken in order to convert such a wild culture. Fueled by the decline of the Holy Roman Empire, economic benefits, and sense of self righteousness, no significant questions were ever raised in response to the massacres of the native cultures in America, and in the event in which opposition was met, it was quickly suppressed by mindless legislation to ease the consciences of the community. During the decline of the Holy Roman Empire, in order to maintain any remaining influential power, the papacy directly catered to the powerful European empires and blessed their gluttonous “missionary” adventures (Wilbur). This blessing gave the empires and European community a false sense of justification, and this strong backing of authority provided an incentive to accept the events in the New World and not question the government. The underlying element found here is the greed motivating the Catholic Church; they realized their decline and used the American explorations to their advantage. The Mission attempts to portray the innocence of both the Indians and the Spanish Church through the tranquil scenery, cultural activities, and the strong relationships between the two, contrasted by the destruction caused by the Portuguese. Throughout the movie we view the missionaries through the eyes of the European community during the 1700s. As an audience, we willingly accept Jeremy Irons’ character as admirable and an inspiration to the native culture. We do not see him motivated by greed, but rather for his love of God. He is portrayed merely as a good
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IAH 202 American Exploration Paper - Self Justification and...

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