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Unformatted text preview: 1 Eric Stern Anthro 2400 2/11/09 Advancement: For Better and For Worse Although the proliferation of advanced ideas and ultimately Christianity from Europe to the Americas is historically viewed as a time of great excitement and discovery, the conquistadors also performed many heinous acts against the local inhabitants. Many of those from Europe viewed the natives as barbarians or lesser people for not being as technologically advanced, and thus decided to use them as slaves to perform the manual labor the Europeans needed to colonize. However, not all of the Europeans were in favor of using the locals as slave labor. The King of Spain, after receiving word that his subjects were causing unnecessary harm to the natives, decided to hold a council to determine the best course of action. The King recognized the wrong doings of his people, and decreed for the Spanish to halt their actions. However, this enraged many men, who then turned to Juan Gins de Seplveda to persuade the King to change his mind. Seplveda did not argue unopposed, for the Bishop of Chiapa, Bartolom de Las Casas, spoke out for the Indians of the New World. The debate between Seplveda and Las Casas also relates to contemporary issues of cultural diversity. Seplveda begins his argument by outlining the ways in which the Indians are barbaric. Unlike the Spaniards, the Indians are uninstructed in letters and matters of government. Also, Seplveda claims that the natives can only learn mechanical arts. This last argument is used to support the claim that the natives should be used as slave labor for the Spaniards. Seplveda justifies these claims by point to the sixth chapter of the 2 third book of Oviedos General History of the Indes (de Las Casas). Turning to a new subject, Seplveda states that the Indians must accept the rule of the Spanish so they can be corrected and punished for their sins and crimes against the divine and natural laws (de Las Casas 13). Seplveda focuses on the Indians act of human sacrifice as a major sin. He points to ancient peoples of the Holy Lands, who were slaughtered for their sacrificial actions. Seplveda exclaims that the Indians inflict injuries and extreme misery on those they sacrifice to the evil spirit and that this needs to...
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This note was uploaded on 12/12/2009 for the course A 032 taught by Professor Staff during the Summer '08 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).
- Summer '08