Juan Gines De Sepúlveda Essay

813 Words 4 Pages
In response to exposure to Native peoples and their customs, many Europeans expressed confusion and fear of new and unfamiliar New World practices. Certain aspects of indigenous culture, such as nudity, bathing, polytheism, and cannibalism cast negative impressions upon the Europeans and the settlers began to doubt the humanity of the Amerindians. Spaniards questioned the state of the Natives ' souls and if they were capable of accepting Christianity and assimilating to Western civilization. In 1537, Pope Paul III issued a statement, explaining the Vatican 's stance on the humanity of Natives and the European approach to proselytization of the indigenous population. The papal bull Sublimis Deus "declared the Indians "truly men" and thus capable …show more content…
Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda was a humanist and translator of Aristotle, and relied upon Aristotle 's theory of natural slavery to inform his argument. Sepúlveda believed that the native Amerindians were inherently inferior to their Spanish conquistadors and concluded their impious lifestyle was a justifiable provocation toward the Spaniards. Sepúlveda believed that the natives ' barbarous activities "vindicated their conquest and…enslavement." Sepúlveda argues that the purpose of European presence in the New World is to enlighten the Natives to the errors of their sinful ways. Imposing Christianity upon the Natives would effectively convince them to evolve from a past of idolatry and …show more content…
The Dominican bishop attributed European domination not to their inherent superiority over Natives, but to their excessive cruelty. Las Casas viewed the ulterior motives of European conquest--exploitation of a population incapable of resisting their advances. Bartolomé denounced the Spaniard 's treatment of the natives and urged the papacy to pass the New Laws of 1542; the New Laws prohibited Indian slavery and punished individuals responsible for the Peruvian Civil War by stripping away their encomiendas. Las Casas ' objective was to humanize the Native Amerindians, elevating them to the same social status of Europeans, and peacefully guide them to

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