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Word Count: 2,552
103000 Arguments of American Indian Humanity By what right did the Europeans conquer the American Indians take their land and subjugate them There were three arguments 1 The view propounded by Bartolome de Las Casas Gods angry man of the sixteenth century He argued that all men are endowed with natural rights that the Europeans had no right to enslave the Indians that according to natural law the Indians were entitled to live as free men under their own rulers and their own laws 2 Juan Gines de Sepulveda the greatest Aristotelian philosopher of the day relied on the doctrine propounded by Aristotle in his Politics that some races are inferior to others that some men are born to slavery By this reasoning the Europeans a superior race were justified in enslaving the Indians an inferior raceFinally 3 Francisco de Vitorias concept of the law of nations which asserted that all people had certain inherent rights including possession of a spirit or soul and the capacity for salvation According to Vitoria Indians could not be deprived of their possessions unless the Spaniards could advance a just cause for doing so The importance of these arguments stretch the imagination as each searched for justice in the Indies As a whole the arguments forced Spaniards to recognize and act upon the atrocities developing in the Americas New laws codes and rules to treat the Indians as equals were set forth as their notions inspired rulers of Spain to get involved Also each can be used as precedents in todays society Las Casass humility outraged conquistadors across the Indies yet his basic idea of equality paved the way for future generations Sepulvedas intelligence battled for a topic that is still hotly debated today for his notions serve as a guide for believers in a natural hierarchy While Vitoria was light-years ahead of his time his political notions involving minorities are still
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