American Indian Humanity Essay Research Paper 103000Arguments — страница 4

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have conquered.”16 Because the Indians form self-governing societies, they must be treated as full-fledged nations, enjoying the benefits and immunities accruing to nations as set forth in his Political Writings. The logical corollary is that they also must adhere to the criteria set forth in the in the jus gentium. Vitoria lists them: freedom of trade; freedom of movement – open borders, freedom of the seas, freedom of domicile; freedom to spread the Gospel; all subsumed under the category, communication. If the Indians were to infringe these so-called “rights of communication,” the Spaniards would have the right to wage war on them. Vitoria leaves open the question of whether Spain’s conquests were justified on these terms or not; for him, conquest is not a very good

way of establishing a relationship anyway. His main point is to highlight the basic rules which bind nations to each other and which they cannot get out from under, which establish peaceful communication, the indispensable condition for civil society lived for the sake of citizens and not rulers or state or government. For this purpose conquest is unnecessary, as the example of the Portuguese shows, “who carry on a great and profitable trade with similar sorts of peoples without conquering them.”17 Vitoria’s work has had an immense influence on 16th century political and legal thought. His pupil Domingo de Soto, who succeeded Vitoria to the first chair in theology at Salamanca, produced a ten-volume treatise Of Justice and Law, advancing the Vitorian agenda in what Pagden

and Lawrance see as “probably the most influential treatise on jurisprudence written during the sixteenth century.”18 In conclusion, the three arguments of Las Casas, Sepulveda, and Vitoria all explain the conquest of the Indies in their own terms, none of which is entirely correct in my mind, but each with far-reaching effects in the society of its time, as well as today’s. The importance of each argument varies, from the political vision of Vitoria to the humility of Las Casas, but the importance of all three together is enormous. They constituted a growing awareness of the atrocities of Spaniards in the Indies, and acted as a precedent for the condemnation of future abominations.