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The Valladolid debate was the first moral debate in European history to discuss the rights and treatment of colonized people by colonizers. It stood for justification against the conversion to catholicism, as well as the relations between European settlers and natives of the New World. In the debate there were two sides, Bartolomé de Las Casas as well as Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda.
Bartolome de Las Casas was a dominican friar, he presented the idea that Christianity should be spread by kindness and example rather than by sword. He believed in equality for Native Americans. He believed Jesus had authority over all people in the world including those who have never been exposed to christianity. He argued that Spain’s role in America should be spiritual rather than economic/political. He argued that American Indians were creations of God and deserved the same treatment.
Juan Gines de Sepulveda supported the Spanish colonists, the Spanish Empires right of conquest, as well as the Spanish right of preaching the Christian gospel to make converts. Sepulveda was a philosopher as well as a theologist, which is the study of the nature of god. He had never been to the Americas or had any contact with Native Americans. He based his argument on natural law philosophy. According to Sepulveda, there were four reasons why the Spanish could just wage a war against the Native Americans: 1) They were barbarians, 2) they committed crimes against natural law, 3) they oppressed and killed the innocent among themselves, 4) they were amateurs who needed to be instructed in Christian faith.
“For numerous and grave reasons these barbarians are obligated to accept the rule of the Spaniards according to natural law. For them it ought to be even more advantageous than for the Spaniards, since virtue, humanity, and the true religion are more valuable than gold or silver. And if they refuse our rule, they may be compelled by force of arms to accept it. Such a war is just according to natural law.” Sepulveda cited lack of private property among the Aztecs in his argument promoting the natural inferiority of Indians. Sepulveda was saying that the Native Americans are obligated to accept the rule of the Spaniards according to Natural Law. Due to the fact that Sepulveda said that the Spaniards would have more of an advantage since they valued virtue, humanity, as well as true religion over gold and silver. If the Native Americans refuse their natural law they will use forces to make the Native Americans obey.
“I have great hope that the emperor and king of Spain, our lord Don Carlos, the fifth of that name, may come to understand (for until now the truth has always been most industriously covered over) the acts of malice and treachery which have been and still are being done upon those nations and lands, against the will of God and his own, and that he may bring an end to so many evils and bring relief to that New World which

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