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The influence of Christianity on the Spanish conquest of America and the organization of the Spanish-American Empire.

A THICK AND OBSCURING LEGEND OF HORROR has been woven across the warp of the Spanish conquest and regime in America. Most of the current sources available even to the peoples of Spanish American countries are nothing more than pamphlets intending to spread such dark tales. In them, the Spanish regime is known as the "Colony" and is but slightly different from the Conquest. There is no time in an article of this length to offer a detailed analysis of the historiographic material, contrasting it with the primary sources contained in original documents. Instead, I will highlight a handful of traces of the Spanish action in America in order to show in what ways Spain's Christian soul left an imprint on such action, giving it, first, a unique ethos among all of the historical conquests and, second and very particularly, a moral ethos that stands in sharp contrast to the pragmatic standards that the Enlightenment has bequeathed us regarding the relations between various peoples and/or political or quasi-political societies.

The Enlightenment is perhaps the movement that has contributed the most to the making and spreading of the black legend. I will establish the rival "enlightened" standards through the work of John Locke, one of its fathers.

1. The split of the social field into two spheres (that of prudence and that of wisdom, or that of "secular" and that of "spiritual" power) and its political repercussions

It is quite certain that violent conquest is usually unjust. There are cases, however, in which a forceful conquest might be just. The conquest of Mexico, for example, could perhaps be one of those cases. Hernan Cortes received the allegiance of many enemies and subjects of the Aztecs; the Aztecs themselves originally submitted to him voluntarily; and hostilities erupted at least in part because of the revulsion caused among the Spaniards by the Aztecs' idolatry and human sacrifices. (1) To be able to form a historiographically reasonable judgment concerning the conquest of other regions of America, one has to take into account many aspects that are often left aside by the works that are given both to our Spanish-American children for their history courses and to children living in other regions of the world. I seek to demonstrate that in order to argue that a conquest or a war is unjust, one has to accept that there is a canon that transcends the mere existence of particular political societies and their respective positive laws. In turn, the acceptance of such a canon may be institutionally embodied within a particular community by both the prophetic and the academic structures that we call, in the Western world, "Church" and "Autonomous University." Both aspects, the acceptance of the canon of natural law and the differentiated structure of political society, worked together in sixteenth-century Spain and thus produced a concrete practical effect in the orientation and reorientation of the Spanish conquering actions. I intend to show that both aspects have been and are necessarily excluded by societies that are under the influence of the Enlightenment, and are excluded precisely in the measure in which such societies are influenced by it.

On the Spanish side, one can find evidence of our claims by looking at the prophetic and academic action of Francisco de Vitoria. Because no regime is perfect, a tension between the good man and the good citizen necessarily exists. Now, a concrete regime can be more or less open to that justice that transcends its current state of perfection. This openness requires some measure of "permeability." If the interpreters and apologists of the status quo do not accept criticisms formulated from the perspective of a free search for truth, then injustice can become like a cancer. This is precisely what did not happen in sixteenth-century Spain, due both to the courage of this theologian, who dared challenge the judgment of the apologists, and to the fact that the people in power in the end paid heed to Vitoria's indictments. In his "De los indios recientemente descubiertos" ("On the Indians Recently Discovered") one finds Vitoria stating a twofold conclusion: that natural laws and justice are binding in the sphere of conscience; and that for this reason, theologians are competent to discuss the justice of the New Continent's conquest, even after the jurists have already given their verdict. "Because those barbarians [the Indians] are not under ... the human justice [of Spain], and, therefore, their businesses should not be examined in the light of human laws but of divine laws on which the Jurists are not competent enough in order to clarify by themselves the relevant questions." (2) Once this principle had been established, Vitoria laid in "De la temperancia" ("Concerning Temperance") the theological foundations on which the Council for the Indies and the whole prudent administrative structure of the Spanish Empire and its republican successors would promote and watch over the well-being of the Indians of America until late into the nineteenth century: "It is not sufficient if the prince establishes good laws for the barbarians, he must appoint magistrates who enforce such laws. Until he comes to this, the King is not exempt of guilt." (3)

There is a sharp and tragic contrast between these teachings and those by John Locke and Adam Smith. Regarding Locke, in his Letter Concerning Toleration he asserts that when a citizen finds a conflict between the positive law and his conscience, he must either obey the law or submit himself voluntarily to the punishments established in it, so that any legal significance is denied to the objection of conscience. (4) Further, although his Second Treatise of Government is considerably inconsistent on these points, one could argue that, true to the English Ockhamist tradition, this work adopts a perspective from which the "[subjective] rights" replace the classical and Thomistic notion of natural law and right. Such "rights" are conceived as abstract powers (existing out of the context of political or even tribal society), without corresponding obligations or duties, (5) compatible both with the mechanistic view of human psychology stated in the Essay Concerning Human Understanding (6) and with the war of all against all which is the mark of the state of nature. (7) Duties, asserts Locke, can exist only where there is a law, a legislator, and punishment capable of deterring the irrational appetites of men. (8) That is to say, true duties exist only within the framework of "civil society" in which positive laws are established. Relations between "civil societies" remain in the state of nature, so that there is no true "International Law" or "Law of Peoples," but the law of power and the law of the stronger. For this reason, the "Federative Power" cannot obey any law but only its own "prudence" (in the Machiavellian sense that occasionally appears in Adam Smith as well) (9) directed exclusively toward the interests of its own civil society: "For the Laws that concern Subjects one amongst another, being to direct their actions, may well enough precede them. But what is to be done in reference to Foreigners, depending much upon their actions, and the variation of designs and interests, must be left in great part to the Prudence of those who have this Power committed to them, to be managed by the best of their Skill, for the advantage of the Commonwealth." (10)

Adam Smith formulates some logical conclusions drawn from Locke's worldview. In his work The Wealth of Nations, Smith designs a careful program for the submission of religion to the "State" and suggests suppressing the universities on the ground that they are bodies where useless branches of knowledge are cultivated and transmitted. (11)

2. On the justice of the regime to which the Indians were submitted and on the juridical ground on which the Conquest was based

All current regimes are based on a past conquest. For this reason, it is no little matter to know that from an unjust conquest a just, and therefore legitimate, regime can emerge. Locke's statements on the conditions for the legitimacy of government must be rejected, especially those included in the chapter on conquest contained in the Second Treatise, which exclude any other way of achieving legitimacy except by the consent of the subjects. Such statements are, above all, either a rhetorical summons for revolution or a rationalization of "The Glorious Revolution" because it is clear that even if every government needs some degree of consent from at least a part of its subjects, it is not true that the legitimate basis of all governments is either the explicit consent of all the subjects or the parliamentary form of government. Locke himself had trouble applying his own principles concerning legitimacy to the children born within a government already formed through an explicit pact, and the United States found the same kind of trouble in their War of Secession. It was clearly a possibility that a legitimate government could have risen after William's conquest in England, after Charles the Great's conquests in Europe, and it is likewise a possibility now after the conquest of Palestine in Israel, and so on. Furthermore, such was the case, without a doubt, in Spanish America, where, as a unique case in history, the institutions that embodied wisdom had a decisive influence on the course taken by the institutions that embodied political and military government and power.

In order to judge better about the degree of injustice of the conquest, we must add immediately that there was no genocide in Spanish America even though there were murders of native people, of course. The drastic decrease in population, even in the islands of the Caribbean, was due more to pests such as smallpox and measles than to murder, as David Brading has shown. Something similar happened in the Hawaiian islands after the first contact with the Western world, which occurred at the end of the eighteenth century with Captain Cook (not taking into account the isolated expedition of Juan Gaetano in the sixteenth century). (12) Since that time until the end of the nineteenth century, immediately before the political conquest by the United States, the native population had decreased considerably. King Kalakaua writes in his work The Legends and Myths of Hawaii: "In the midst of these evidences of prosperity and advancement it is but too apparent that the natives are steadily decreasing in numbers and gradually losing their hold upon the fair land of their fathers. Within a century they have dwindled from four hundred thousand healthy and happy children of nature, without care and without want, to a little more than a tenth of that number of landless, helpless victims to the greed and vices of civilization." (13) The only genocides truly committed by Hispanic peoples were committed by the Argentinean liberals after the war of independence, both in the Pampa and in Paraguay. (14)

The conquering Spaniards were neither progressivist, nor Puritan. Thus, they did not limit their action to establish a community isolated from all others, a community of the predestined, nor did they think of themselves as having the right to erase from the surface of the earth the "mass of damnation" or the "semianimal barbarians." Instead, they attempted to submit the Indians to the Crown (even by force) and to convert them to Christianity (peacefully). (15) Moreover, precisely because they were Catholic, they submitted their own conquering actions to a relentless criticism. The debate on the conquest is one of humanity's glories. (16)

The evangelization of the Indians was an important motive underlying the action of most of the Spaniards. There were, to this point, various degrees of importance attached to this motive. For some, judging from their actions, the evangelization was completely irrelevant (for example, Pedrarias Davila and Diego de Ordaz). For others, it was an important motive among others. For a third group, it was the primary motive. Among the latter, one finds not only the missionaries, regular or secular, but many lay people such as Captain Rodriguez Leyte. This motivation did not remain barren, but instead bore abundant fruit. In our day there is a fashion, spreading from the United States, according to which intellectuals tend to hold that the Indians only acquired a Christian varnish while they actually kept adoring in their hearts the idols of their pagan religion. Toynbee seems to have approached Spanish America with such prejudice, but he also seems to have abandoned it, at least in regards to Mexico, in light of the Cristeros Wars fought and won by the peasants, most often pure Indians and mestizos, against the oppression of the secularist government, (17) which was supported by the United States and its ambassador, Morrow, according to the witness of Jose Vasconcelos.

Another important and distinct motive was the assimilation of the conquered peoples under the Crown, that is to say, under a political power, not tyrannical, but republican, in the sense of Cicero's De Re Publica. The Spaniards, again, had an attitude very different from that of the Anglo-Americans, who either destroyed or ignored the Indians.

In this context, it seems important at least to mention the encomiendas, because they are the institution most commented upon among the spreaders of the black legend. The first thing one must know is that even if their beginnings were similar to slavery, very soon the regulations of the Crown transformed them into a sort of fief-serfdom--but republicanized: the encomendero was the representative of the king regarding the collection of taxes to be used by the imperial government, by the local government, or by the encomendero himself. The encomendero was the representative of the king regarding the evangelization and assimilation of the conquered peoples as well. The Indians, in turn, had their own goods and received a salary in exchange for their work, as one can see, for example, in the writings of Polo de Ondegardo. (19) Moreover, at least in Venezuela, the encomiendas were extinguished by the end of the seventeenth century and were replaced by Pueblos de Doctrina. (20) This latter institution was a very interesting one. In it, the Indians possessed in communal property a substantial amount of land surrounding their town, which was given them for agriculture. Through this institution they were also legally able to privately own land beyond the mark of the communal dominion, were instructed by the Cura Doctrinero in Christian doctrine, and were protected by royal magistrates. (21) Lastly, if one wants to understand things in their proper light and context, it would be fruitful to compare the fate of the Indians of America to the fate of other poor people in Europe and in contemporary ages. One may remember that during the sixteenth century fief-serfdom without republican amendments was common in Europe, also in England, but most of all in Germany, Russia, and other parts of Eastern and Central Europe. One also may compare the situation of the Indians in America to the grim situation of the poor in England, after the martyrdom of the monks and until the abolition of the Laws of the Poor, which were standing from 1540 until 1830.

The Spaniards have been portrayed at times as ridiculous because they supposedly read aloud an ultimatum to the Indians according to which, due to a papal or royal decree, they had either to submit to the king and to Christianity or to suffer a cruel war of "just punishment." First, it is the case that in many instances in the Spanish conquest no such ultimatum existed, (22) and the royal or papal decree was not used as a definitive argument that could give juridical grounds to dominion over the land. Furthermore, if the ultimatum is directly compared with the argument used during the British conquests in America as a juridical ground for occupying the Indians' land, one is struck by the greater sophistry of that British argument and by how rarely it is criticized.

It comes from the Lockean principle according to which the cultivation of the land gives the right of ownership, which is a right Locke did not clearly distinguish from the public domain. Based on this, the Anglo-Americans claimed that the Indians of North America, who in many cases knew no agriculture, had no right to the land, which then fell into the property of the colonists because they introduced its cultivation. In fact, Locke was a consultant to the English colonies of North America, especially, but not exclusively, of Carolina. It was he who wrote the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, whose 112th article boldly declared: "No person whatever shall hold or claim any land in Carolina by purchase or gift, or otherwise, from the natives ... upon pain of forfeiture of all his estate, movable or immovable, and perpetual banishment." (23) An interesting reflection ensues from here. Alexis de Tocqueville foretold the dwindling and extinction of the Indians of North America and laid their misfortune at the feet of an absence of agriculture. It seems that the Frenchman, however, did not know the key with which one could solve the mystery concerning the fate of the Indians who were unfortunate enough to find themselves in the territory that came under the rule of the United States. That is to say, Tocqueville did not know the Lockean doctrine concerning the title of property over the land. He similarly did not know the reason why the Indians of the Spanish territories were not exterminated: he stated that they survived because they knew the cultivation of the land. (24) Clear facts belie his interpretation. In Venezuela, for example, there were many Indians without agriculture and who were not exterminated but incorporated into the empire through the missions, where they became agriculturists. Similarly, the Indians of Florida, some of whom did not have agriculture in the sixteenth century, (25) survived 300 years of Spanish rule but could not survive a few decades of Anglo-American rule, even though they already had agriculture in the nineteenth century. (26)

One must not close the subject of the juridical grounds to dominon over land in America without stating that many and very serious investigations were conducted in Spain concerning this point, precisely because the Crown was concerned with justice and with the salvation of the king's soul. Nobody speaking about this subject, then, is allowed to leave unnoticed two curious works: Relecciones sobre los indios by Francisco de Vitoria, on the one hand, and Historia de los incas by Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, on the other. The first is an investigation of the possible Spanish juridical ground to dominion over the land, drawn from Natural and Peoples' Right and Law (where the papal concession of Gentiles' land is rejected as a legitimate ground, as a matter of course); whereas the second, while making use of principles of natural peoples' right and law, consists in a careful review of the laws of the Incas and of their history. The second author comes to the conclusion that no Inca had the right to the throne in Peru in 1532 and that, in particular, Atahualpa was not the legitimate lord or Inca when Pizarro arrived. (27) Perhaps one could reject his arguments or his historical research, but it is evident that he used all the means at his disposal in order to clarify the truth (28) and showed both the concern for justice that inspired the vice-king Toledo and a sound mind in theologico-juridical matters. One would be hard-pressed to discover something of the sort written by the Anglosaxons with such refinement, at least regarding the "natives" of America.

3. The issue of the enslavement of Africans

We must turn our attention now to the enslavement of Africans. As is well known, it was the unfortunate Bartolome de Las Casas who first suggested bringing African slaves to America. However, what is not as well known is that the illustrious Dominican did this because he thought that the slaves who would be brought to America were either prisoners of war (29) or common criminals and would be handed over to the Europeans by their captors or by their own kings or rulers. As soon as Las Casas learned that human hunts were taking place in order to provide America with slaves, he opposed such trade with vehemence.

Vitoria made the same mistake as Las Casas. He thought that the African slaves were either prisoners of war who were sold by their captors to the Portuguese, or criminals condemned to death for whom a ransom was paid and who thus became slaves of the person paying the ransom according to the laws of their own countries. These two specific origins of slavery were regarded by Vitoria as possible juridical grounds for it. Even though at the time it was claimed that the Portuguese were organizing human hunts, Vitoria could not bring himself to believe that the king of Portugal and his council would tolerate such evil. Thus, even conceding that very rarely such hunts could have happened, Vitoria thought that the buyers were not obliged to investigate the matter and were exempt from crime. They were, however, obliged to deal with the slaves in a humane and Christian manner, bringing to memory that they are neighbors and that lord and servant have a common Lord in heaven to whom they must give accounts, as St. Paul teaches. (31) Vitoria writes that if charity were observed, the fate of the slaves would be better in a Christian land than in their own, because there is no greater good, in the first place, than becoming Christian. (32) It is most illuminating to compare Locke to the Spaniards on this point. Locke accepted the same two juridical grounds for slavery as Vitoria, but he introduced a very significant change of regime regarding the relation between lord and slave. (33) In fact, in his Second Treatise of Government Locke proposes the establishment of an absolute power of the lord over the slave, an arbitrary, unaccountable power, over life and death. And in the 110th article of the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, this father of the Enlightenment, Locke wrote that "Every freeman of Carolina shall have absolute power and authority over his negro slaves, of what opinion or religion soever." (34)

It is noteworthy that Spain was the only European power that obeyed the seventeenth-century papal prohibition of reducing the gentiles into slavery. (35) Of course, this fact does not free her from all guilt for having bought captured Africans, because in doing so she gave market to this evil trade. (36) It should be added, however, that the way in which the black slaves were dealt with in Spanish America before the influence of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution changed our spiritual landscape, was very different from the way in which the British and the Portuguese colonists dealt with them. The action of erudite religious clerics like Father Alonso de Sandoval (author of De Instauranda Aethiopum Salute and of Naturaleza, policia sagrada y profana. Costumbres, ritos y supersticiones de todos los etiopes); the action of saints such as Pedro Claver; and the action of many other Christians as well as the general Christian spirit of the empire opened the way for a benevolent regime, where, for example, the authority of the bishop oversaw the union and stability of the marriages of slaves, effectively opposing any separation of married couples through sales to different owners or actively obtaining the exchange of slaves when newlyweds belonged to different households. One can gather unambiguous evidence about this benevolence from many sources such as the documents of Bishop Marti's pastoral visit to the dioceses of Caracas, which constitutes an examination of the state of the empire in Venezuela at the end of the eighteenth century and comprises seven thick volumes, (37) or documents written by numerous travelers who visited Venezuela during the eighteenth century, which have been reviewed by Caracciolo Parra Perez. (38)

It is important to note that when freedom was granted to the slaves during the nineteenth century in Venezuela by applying the liberal, "enlightened" ideology, many of the reformers took this step not out of charity but in order to reduce the costs of production. The employers did not see themselves as responsible any longer for the well-being of the families of their former slaves, but could sleep peacefully having paid a miserable salary to their actual hired workers. In a similar way, the Indian communities (with common property of the land) were dissolved with the pretext of recognizing equal dignity to all and granting equal rights and the right to private property, but actually following a very "liberal" motivation, that is to say, having in mind the goal of making profit. For this reason, the effect of the dissolution of the communities was the quick dispossession of the new small owners and the formation of the latifundio, as Mario Briceno Iragorry has shown in his Tapices de historia patria. (39) We can conclude, then, that the Spanish regime, with its Catholic spirit, was more just than the regimes that succeeded it, be it liberal, positivist, or Marxist. And there is little wonder in this: the human soul is full of egotism, will to power, greed, and misery, historically tempered in all civilizations by the asceticism and self-restraint imposed on the people in power by the wisdom shared in the community under the form of philosophy and/or religion. When a pseudo-philosophy of any of those three brands takes control over the minds of the elite, then egotism, will to power, greed, misery, and even criminality (in the case of the totalitarian ideology that is Marxism) rule unhampered, in a way similar to that described by Plato in books 8 and 9 of his Republic.

4. The basic theological principle followed in the organization of the rule over the conquered peoples and other (philosophical) principles

In this section we will make use of a work that was very significant for the organization of an important section of the American empire, and that allows one to grasp an essential aspect of the whole Spanish-American enterprise. Such is El mundo de los incas, (40) which contains two important Memoriales by Licenciado Polo de Ondegardo, "Notables danos de no guardar a los indios sus fueros," (41) and "El indio y la colonia. De la orden que los indios tenian en dividir los tributos y distribuirlos entre si," (42) whose aim was to improve the rule over the vice-kingdom of Peru, particularly in regards to the just treatment of the Indians incorporated into the domains of the king of Spain. The following passage features the fundamental theological principle that should rule relations with conquered peoples, and sits in harmony with what we have discussed above, in section 1.
  His Majesty was very right when he gave the order to investigate
  the origin of the lordship of these Incas and the way in which
  they were served by the peoples of this land and also the way
  in which they distributed whatever they had to give. Because
  from this investigation one could establish everything that has
  to do with justice and with the different systems of obligations
  and rights that were observed among them, and as a side result
  one could establish the damages they have received in the way in
  which they are ruled and the ways in which their law suits are
  solved. Because even if one should give them a different system
  in some matters that do not seem appropriate to a good way of
  conducting political matters, the change should not be done too
  quickly or without having first understood their own
  system--especially since it has been determined by the
  theologians that we are obliged to keep their ordinances and
  customs as long as they are not contrary to Natural Law and
  Right. Because, otherwise, with the new order there is no doubt
  that the acquired right of many would be unjustly taken away, and
  that they would be obliged to submit to many laws that they did
  not know or understand and that they won't know or understand in
  a hundred years. (43)

It is worth noting that this fragment allows for a peculiar exception to the principle "ignorance of the law is no excuse for not complying with it." In Venezuela, Jorge Sosa Chacin taught something similar in connection with some of our Indians who are not yet entirely reduced to the civic life. The point is that natural law and right accept a variety of ways of concretization and of living in accordance with them; and so, for this reason, when a particular people is not used to a specific style of concretization they must not be forced to obey laws that are completely alien and contrary to their lifestyle and that truly surpass their ability even to receive notice of the new laws, constitutions, and regulations. In such a case, the legislator has the duty to respect those customs that are not contrary to natural right and law and the just relationships that could have risen among such particular people from the whole set of old customs (including, in certain ways and in some cases, those which were contrary to natural law and right).

Furthermore, and more importantly, we have here the incorporation of the Pauline teachings in concrete imperial policies: "For when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves. In that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their reasonings one with another accusing or else excusing each other." (Rom 2:14-15). This biblical text was used to shed light on political philosophy and reality by Aquinas and, in Spain, mainly by Vitoria. But it was put into practice by the council of the Indies and by the whole imperial bureaucratic structure. To this end, many clerks carefully studied the customs and records of the people brought under Spanish rule in order to distinguish among them those who were in accordance to natural law and right and those who were contrary to it. In this way they sought to establish a just political and cultural order in America.

In his Essay on Human Understanding, (44) Locke conducts research on the customs of certain non-Christian peoples, but with the end, diametrically opposed to that sought by the Spaniards', of showing that there are "no innate principles of morality" and, even further, that there is no law or duty but the positive ones that are established by each society for itself through its legislator. Locke claims that his thought is more "open" to diverse conceptions than the Catholic teaching or the teachings of other religions, (45) but the truth of the matter is that he excludes what can be true in other civilizations different from his own (precisely because he excludes the classical and Catholic teaching on natural law and right); and that he consigns to the hell of the "state of nature" all non-liberal societies when he asserts that only by people's consent through the particular brand of "constitutionalism," which he formulates in his Second Treatise of Government, can a legitimate government be founded. (46) Similarly, he clearly excludes the Catholic teachings concerning the existence of Natural Right and Law when in his Letter Concerning Toleration, following either Protestant doctrines on the corruption of nature or Talmudic doctrines on the equality of all biblical precepts, (47) he claims, for example, that there is no difference between ceremonial, judicial, and moral precepts in the Old Testament and, as consequence, that the Law of Moses, as any other law, was established for a particular society, Israel. Could a greater contrast exist than the one between the Catholic and Spanish openness to all civilizations whose center would be God, on the one hand, and the parochial and self-centered liberal and Lockean view, on the other?


(1.) See Bernal Diaz del Castillo, Historia verdadera de la conquista de Nueva Espana (Buenos Aires: Coleccion Autral, 1955), chap. 47, 51, 83, 91, 92, 93, 108.

(2.) See 172, in El pensamiento politico hispanoamericano.Vitoria (Buenos Aires: Ediciones Depalma, 1967), 167-224.

(3.) See 268, in El pensamiento politico hispanoamericano. Vitoria (Buenos Aires: Ediciones Depalma, 1967), 257-71.

(4.) See Carta sobre la tolerancia (Madrid: Editorial Tecnos, 1985), 52.

(5.) I follow here the version of "rights" contained in chap. 2 ("On the state of nature") of the Second Treatise, and leave aside other conceptions of rights, above all that contained in the chapter "on Conquest" (chap.16).

(6.) See book II, chap. 21, especially sections 24-31, 41, 68-69, 73-75, in the light of Hobbes' and Locke's interpretation given by Leo Strauss in Natural Right and History (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1953), in particular, 169-70 (especially, note 4) and 227. For quotations from the Essay, we have used the English text of the Gutenberg Project (, contrasted with the Spanish edition by Editora Nacional (Madrid, 1980), Tomo I.

(7.) See John Locke, Second Treatise, sec. 123-26.

(8.) See Essay Concerning Human Understanding I, chap. 2, sec. 5, 13, 18-19. Notice that there cannot be correlative obligations to the rights established in chapter 2 of the Second Treatise of Government, unless they are established by a legislator by a positive law and under the threat of such punishment that would deter the potential break. But the Second Treatise itself says that there is no authority of some men over other men in the state of nature (chap. 2, sec. 6) and that nothing guarantees that in such state the good right would prevail against its assailant (see Second Treatise, chap. 9, sec. 123-26). So that, even if there are "rights" in the sense of powers, there are no duties, as we have stated. Quotations of the Second Treatise are taken from John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980), 285-446.

(9.) See Adam Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1984), pt. 6, sec. 1, 216-17.

(10.) John Locke, Second Treatise of Government, chap. 12, sec. 147. Italics in the original. Concerning the relations between political societies and their being lawless as in the state of nature, see ibid., sec. 145.

(11.) See Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of theWealth of Nations (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1869), vol. II, bk. 5, chap. 1, art. 2 and 3.

(12.) King Kalakaua, The Legends and Myths of Hawaii (Honolulu: Mutual Publishing, 2002), 25.

(13.) Ibid., 64.

(14.) We could add the mass murders that are being committed at this very time by the new totalitarian tyrannies, and the massive sterilizations that have been committed, for example, by Fujimori in Peru with the support of the US aid.

(15.) In a passage that William Prescott was forced to write by the heavy weight of the documents, he eloquently established some interesting contrasts between "the effort to Christianize the heathen," which "is an honorable characteristic of the Spanish conquests," and the effort to illustrate the Indians, and the indifference toward the heathen shown by the Puritans in North America (see Historia de la conquista del Peru--Buenos Aires: Ediciones Iman, 1955-, 330. In my quotation I have used the text posted by the Gutenberg Project: The high praise of the Spanish efforts there contained, coming from those who often, and even in this very passage, pronounced prejudices connected to the black legend, demonstrates, as it was already noted, the strength of the documents and the historical witnesses, which would destroy the black legend if they would come to the knowledge of the general public.

(16.) The debate held by Las Casas and Sepulveda, and the jurists, first, and then by Francisco de Vitoria. See David Brading, The First America (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 77, 81, 85, 90.

(17.) This is suggested by Toynbee in his An Historian Approach to Religion (NewYork: Oxford University Press, 1957), 52-53, 155-61.

(18.) See, for example, El Proconsulado, 701, 759-60 in Memorias (Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Economica, 1993), vol. II, 599-1190.

(19.) See, for example, Polo de Ondegardo, "Notables danos de no guardar a los indios sus fueros," 105-06, in El mundo de los incas, ed. Laura Gonzalez and Alicia Alonso (Madrid: Historia 16, 1990), 33-113; see also Polo de Ondegardo "De la orden que los indios tenian en dividir los tributos y distribuirlos entre si," 162-64, in El mundo de los incas, ed. Laura Gonzalez and Alicia Alonso (Madrid: Historia 16, 1990), 114-71. See, moreover, Obispo Mariano Marti. Documentos relativos a la visita Pastoral de la Diocesis de Caracas (1771-1784) (Caracas: Academia Nacional de la Historia, Colecci o n Fuentes para la Historia Colonial, 1998), Tomo I, Libro Personal, 448; and Mario Briceno Iragorry, Tapices de historia patria, 90-92 in Mario Brice n o-Iragorry, Obras completas (Caracas: Ediciones del Congreso de la Repulica, 1989), Tomo 4, 3-211.

(20.) See Mario Briceno Iragorry, Tapices de historia patria, 92-93.

(21.) See Obispo Mariano Marti, Documentos relativos a la visita Pastoral de la Diocesis de Caracas (1771-1784), Tomo I, Libro Personal, 4-6, 357, 115, 272, 299, 357, 364, 365; Tomo II, Libro Personal, 25, 59.

(22.) Pedrarias Davila and his officers used it, without taking it very seriously, as shown by Oviedo in his History. See Charles L. G. Anderson, Vida y cartas de Vasco Nunez de Balboa (Buenos Aires: Ediciones Emece, 1944), 387. Such an ultimatum also was used, to some extent, in the case of the encounter between Pizarro and Atahualpa. It would be worthwhile to clarify the real meaning of the acts of Pizarro, but there is no space to do that right now.

(23.) See, accessed May 30, 2011.

(24.) See Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America/La democratie in Amerique (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2010) vol. 2, chap. 10, 546, n. 28.

(25.) See Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, Naufragios (Barcelona: Ediciones Orbis, 1982), 83-84, 102.

(26.) This is shown by Jose Fuentes Mares in his book Genesis del expansionismo norteamericano.

(27.) On this point, and on assigning no little cruelty and hubris to Atahualpa, there is a consensus of various sources as different in their intentions but as well informed as Juan de Betanzos (Suma y narracion de los incas-Madrid: Ediciones Atlas, 1987-, II Parte, capitulos I-V, XVI and XIX) and Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa (Historia de los incas--Buenos Aires: Edicion de Angel Rosenblat. Emece Editores, SA, 1943-, capitulos 63, 64, and 67). Demetrio Ramos in his paper "La prospeccion incanista de Juan de Betanzos, a mediados del siglo XVI: el caracter de sus trabajos y su apreciacion de la infraestructura politico-social" (included in the Estudio Preliminar of the quoted edition of Betanzos' work, XLVII-LXXVI), LVII-LVIII, states that the aristocracy from Cuzco very probably received Pizarro as an emissary from Viracocha, sent to restore the supremacy of Cuzco, which Atahualpa had planned to transfer to Quito.

(28.) In chapter 9 of his Historia de los incas, Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa describes how the Incas kept records of past events, despite the fact that they did not have writing (114-15).

(29.) The enslavement of prisoners of war was for a long time an institution of the law of peoples with which the victorious armies showed their humane character in that they did not slaughter their vanquished enemies.

(30.) See David Brading, The First America, 75.

(31.) See, for example, 1 Cor 7:20-24; Eph 6:5-9; Col 3:22-4.1; 1 Tm 6:1-5. Augustine explicitly drew from Christian charity two conclusions: that the consideration of slaves as objects of property is an aberration, and that it is necessary to rule slaves with love and tending toward their own temporal and eternal good (De Sermone Domini in Monte I, 19, 59). This was the consistent position in Catholic countries. For this reason, along with a tendency to reduce slavery as advised in 1 Cor 7:20-24 (with the result that the only civilization to date where slavery has been really abolished was the Latin Christendom since the eleventh century), there was a transformation of the institution from within and by the influence of charity every time that for any reason it came again into existence. The sharp turn that we find in the fact that in the United States, for example, the slave was considered as a piece of property was due to the influence of John Locke, as far as I am able to trace its origins.

(32.) See Letter to Father Bernardino de Vique, in Relecciones sobre los indios y el derecho de guerra. (Buenos Aires: Espasa-Calpe Argentina, S. A. Coleccion Austral, 1946), 27-29.

(33.) This change was inspired by a sort of secularism that had already caused tensions between the State and the Church in England, since the reception of the Roman Law during the twelfth century. Then the secularist interpreters wanted to reduce the fief-servants to a kind of slavery as harsh as the Roman pagan slavery. See Paul Vinagrodoff. Roman Law in Medieval Europe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1961), 97-98, 110-14.

(34.) See, concerning the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, the source already cited: Concerning the Treatise, see John Locke, Two Treatises of Government, Second Treatise, chap. IV, sec. 23-24; and VII, sec. 85.

(35.) The Papal Bull by Urban VIII given in April 1639 was understood in Cartagena de Indias as protecting all the heathens, not only the Indians, according to Mariano Picon Salas. Pedro Claver, el santo de los esclavos (Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1992), 136-37.

(36.) I do not know of any trustworthy research on the subject of how this evil trade evolved after 1639 in the Spanish Empire. Thus, I am speaking about this crime of the American Spaniards buying African slaves based only on the ungrounded supposition that it really persisted after that date.

(37.) Obispo Mariano Marti, Documentos relativos a su visita pastoral de la Diocesis de Caracas (1771-1784) (Caracas: Academia Nacional de la Historia, 1998), 7 vols. (95-101 of the Coleccion Fuentes para la Historia Colonial).

(38.) His works on this subject are not available in my current place of residence, Santiago de Chile.

(39.) See Mario Briceno Iragorry, Tapices de historia patria, 94-96. Victor Andres Belaunde comes to similar conclusions regarding the liberal reforms enacted in Peru concerning the "liberation" of the Indians from the protective Spanish laws. Such "liberation" left them defenseless vis a vis the greed of the merchants in alcoholic beverages. SeeVictor Andres Belaunde, Meditaciones peruanas (Lima: Talleres Graficos P. L. Villanueva, SA, 1963), 116-17, 218-23.

(40.) See note 19.

(41.) Idem.

(42.) Idem.

(43.) Polo de Ondegardo, "Notables danos de no guardar a los indios sus fueros," 37-38.

(44.) John Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding I, chap. 3, sec. 9-12.

(45.) See John Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding I, chap. 2, sec. 14, for example.

(46.) See John Locke, Second Treatise on Government, chap. II, sec. 14; VII, secs. 87, 88, 90, 94; and XVI, sec. 184, 192, for example.

(47.) TheTalmud says: "Whoever eats bread without washing his hands does as wrongly as he who lies down with a prostitute." See Julio Meinvielle. El judio en el misterio de la historia. (Barcelona: Ediciones Ojeda, 2007), 22. See also Portnoy's Complaint, about which I first learned thanks to E. Michael Jones's book: The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and Its Impact on World History (South Bend, IN: Fidelity Press, 2008) 971-86.

(48.) See John Locke, Carta sobre la tolerancia (Letter Concerning Toleration), 44.
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Author:Casanova, Carlos A.
Publication:Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture
Date:Sep 22, 2012
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