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Authors' Points of View

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The main argument of Christopher Columbus in the document A is that it is easy to conquer, subject, and enslave Native Americans as well as to keep them in subjection and make them servants. The author supports his argument by several observations and conclusions which he draws out of these observations. Firstly, he states that Native Americans are easy to please with presents and they naively believe in friendly motives of the newcomers and do not question the fact that they want to be their allies. Secondly, Native Americans do not have sects; therefore, it should not be a problem to convert them into Christianity and manipulate to do what the conquerors need. Finally, these native tribes do not have any army or powerful weapon to protect themselves in case of invasion. The weakness of his statement lies in the fact that he underestimates the possibilities of people who lived in America for ages. One should not draw conclusions about peoples’ capabilities if he/she does not know much about the people in question. Christopher Columbus overlooks the fact that every person will fight desperately for freedom, because it is one of the most precious human treasures. His opinion that this native population will be easy to convert into Christianity is also faulty. The fact that a person has no religion does not mean that he or she will be easily convinced to believe in something. All in all, Christopher Columbus’ idea of simple subjugation and conquest may be viewed as erroneous. As it is known from the history, Aztec and Inca civilizations perished but did not become slaves or servants of the Europeans [Document A].

Bernal Diaz in the document B expresses his astonishment because of the fact that Aztecs had developed such an organized trading system with a perfect order. He supports his argument by description of their market and particular items sold there like jewels, slaves, clothes, paper, and tobacco tubes. The amazement he expresses sounds as if he cannot believe in the fact that some other civilization may be as developed as the European one. Generally, there existed a tendency among Europeans to consider themselves the most highly developed society. Of course, it was the wrong idea that only pointed once again to their superficiality and shallowness. As it is known today, Aztec civilization is now recognized as one of the most sophisticated ancient civilizations. So, instead of destroying Native American inhabitants, Spanish conquerors were to learn from them [Document B].

The main argument of Bartolome de Las Casas in the document C was connected to the fact that explorers who came to the recently discovered American continent treated native inhabitants with unimaginable cruelty and atrocity. He further supports his statement by the evidence of murders and plunders committed by the European Christian people. It was approximately estimated that nearly four million native people died and thousands continued to succumb because of slavery and oppression brought by explorers on the continent. The statement of Bartolome de Las Casas was absolutely right although it made no difference in those times and did not prevent total extinction of Inca and Aztec people. The main thing he emphasized was the fact that these outrageous actions were performed by the so-called ardent Christians who allegedly propagandized their religion in the New World. Ironically, those who wanted to convert pagans were simultaneously the ones who were continually breaking one of the Ten Commandments.

Fray Thomas de Mercado stated that plunder, savagery, and ferocity were common in the course of stealing Africans from their native country and transporting them to Spain.

He supported his argument by saying that Portugal and Spanish people hunted the Blacks as if they were deer. The author considers such unfair treatment of other human beings to be against the law and absolutely unacceptable in a civilized society. Generally, the Europeans did not treat the Black people as equals and on the whole considered them to be savage and uncivilized. Somehow, this fact allowed them to maltreat them and even put them on the same footing as animals. Faultiness of inequality based on the color of skin or race have been developing over centuries. Nevertheless, here Fray Tomas de Mercado appeals to most general humaneness and benevolence that is to be characteristic of humans.

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