The Spanish Struggle for Justice in the Conquest of America

Portada
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1949 - 217 páginas

When Spain embarked on her conquest of America, it was no easy task for the crown to see that justice prevailed in her new dominions. Efforts in this direction became basically a spirited defense of the right of the Indians, a story unique in the history of empire-building.

This concern for justice, especially in the treatment of the Indians, can be understood only in relation to the political and spiritual climate of opinion in sixteenth-century Spain, which author Lewis Hanke describes fully, showing how it influences Spanish action in America.

The kings of Spain were confused by the multitude of differing voices raised at home and overseas to advise them how to discharge their temporal and spiritual responsibilities. What political and economic rights should Spain enjoy from her overlordship in America? Were the Indians rational beings, and, if so, under what circumstances could they be made to work for Spaniards, and when could war be justly waged against them?

Two voices raised in America on behalf of the natives were those of Bartolomé de Las Casas and Antonio de Montesinos, both Dominican friars, as opposed to those who came to America for the sole purpose of getting rich and had no interest in the welfare of the Indians. The theories and writings of these two men are carefully examined to shed new light on our understanding of the Spanish colonization of America.

Written by a distinguished historian of Latin America, this study describes the conflict of men and ideas as an integral part of the Spanish conquest which, contrary to popular belief, was one of the great attempts the world has seen "to make Christian precepts prevail in the relations between peoples."

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Contenido

INTRODUCTION
1
THE SERMONS OF FRIAR ANTONIO DE MONTESINOS
17
THE BASIS OF SPAINS RIGHT TO RULE THE INDIES
23
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Acerca del autor (1949)

Lewis Hanke was Professor of Latin American History at the University of Texas.

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