Advisers to King Carlos V
The King of Spain, Carlos V, is seeking advice on an important matter. As the ruler of a would-be great empire, Carlos expects to gain riches from his colonial holdings. But as “His Most Catholic Majesty” he is expected to uphold the will of the Church. The pope declared decades ago that Native peoples were equally human. Further, he feels an obligation to convert people to the “One True Faith”. Yet there is disagreement among the faithful. The King ordered Bartolome de las Casas to debate Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda on the issue. You are advisers to King Carlos and have been tasked with reading their debates and assessing their arguments. You must these from the context of a 16th century Spaniard. You must also consider what is in the best interest of Spain, for the faith, and for the Crown. To try and keep this debate from being too one-sided and influenced by our own 21st century ideas (remember that it is anachronistic to project our own values on the past) I am going to assign half the class to assume the role of a Spaniard who supports Sepúlveda (all odd-numbered W-Numbers). All even-numbered are assigned the role of a Spaniard to supports Las Casas. To add another layer of nuance, the advisers come from different backgrounds. If your last digit is between 1-4, you are theologians, priests, or abbesses (you represent the interest of the church above all else). Numbers between 5-8 represent nobles and military officers (you represent the interest of the state; the power of Spain above all else). A 9 or 0 in your final digit represents merchants (you are most interested in profit). This means that there will be some in each group who support each of the two sides, and so you will need to consider why people of these classes would support one side or the other. Everyone: Which side do you (a 16th century Spaniard) support and why? Odd #: If we take the humane approach supported by Las Casas, what problems do you foresee happening? Even #: If we take the exploitative approach supported by Sepúlveda, what problems do you foresee happening?